This Rotorua Proud feature introduces you to one half (the talkative one!) of the duo who created a really cool experience at the mountain bike hub at Waipa car park.
Introducing Keith Kolver, co-founder and general manager of Secret Spot Hot Tubs RotoruaHow long have you lived here? If you didn’t grow up here, where are you from originally and how long have you been living in Rotorua?
Growing up on the Kaituna River on a dairy farm near Paengaroa, I always had a connection back to Rotorua where we visited often. I have lived in Rotorua for a large chunk of my life now, drawn to the area for the outdoor adventures it has to offer. I basically just moved up the river, raft guided the Kaituna, now live on the Waiteti Stream and set up Secret Spot Hot Tubs with my brother Eric on the Puarenga Stream in 2019.
What do you love most about Rotorua and why?
There is so much going for Rotorua. I love the region for its lakes and rivers, I have always been drawn to water, rafting the Kaituna River whitewater or just a lazy canoe float down the Ohau Channel. Flicking a fly line on the change of light is a real treat too. The awesome forests here with miles of trails to ride and hike is paradise on my doorstep.
Do you have any hobbies or pastimes that take advantage of our beautiful region?
I live for my adventures! Mountain biking in Whakarewarewa Forest is amazing, canoeing Rotorua lakes and rivers, summer lake swims and a BBQ – bliss. Fly fishing at a stream mouth, so good. Hiking to local mountain summits and hidden waterfalls. For me this is the magic of Rotorua, it’s an incredible work/life balance where I get the most out of every day, while being able to recharge without having to travel far to do it. I figure Rotorua is the best place to live, because that’s where everyone goes to holiday and play.
Do you have a favourite café or restaurant in Rotorua? Who are they and what’s your favourite dish?
Now this is tough. Can’t beat a Manuka Brothers’ roasted coffee and a cinnamon scroll at Secret Spot after a morning forest ride. Also highly recommend Third Place Cafe for lunch, try their custard squares! For dinner I enjoy the shared platters at Atticus Finch with their friendly service too.
When you have friends or family visit, what do you recommend they do while they’re here?
So many options to choose from! It usually requires several questions around thrill levels. A zip down Rotorua Canopy Tours is something not to be missed, along with a 4x4 Safari adventure at Off Road NZ. I love them as they are hands-on fun. A water adventure is a must, it will be a toss-up between rafting, canoeing or Paddle Boarding Rotorua – there is a water activity for all ages and skill levels which is great. I suppose it goes without saying a mountain bike ride and a sunset Secret Spot hot tub [or a Shinny Dip at Secret Spot, as below with brother Eric] at the end of the day is a must to unwind. If we have enough energy after that, a relaxed stroll along Redwoods Treewalk bridges checking out the night lights is a great way to finish off the evening before heading into Eat Streat for dinner and an ice cream at Lady Janes.