Kia Ora!

Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
1
22
30
Trip End Feb 15, 2014


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Our flight from Australia arrived into Auckland at 1:00am and we had a bus leaving for Rotorua at 6:00am. In true traveller style we were too tight to pay for a hotel for five hours, so decided to wait in the airport. We found a quiet place down an empty corridor next to a conference room and managed to get one hours sleep; nothing ever seems that bad after we spent 24 hours in Moscow airport two years ago! 

Rotorua is a three hour bus ride for Auckland and is situated between several volcanoes on the North Island. The area is quite unique as it is only one of four places in the world where geothermal activity can be seen (along with Yellowstone National Park in America, Iceland and Russia). It is also known for Maori culture and attracts lots of tourists each year. 

As soon as you enter Rotorua you immediately see signs of the geothermal activity with patches of steam just coming out of the ground. You also notice a distinct smell caused by the sulphur in the ground which resembles rotten eggs. As soon as we arrived we went for a walk through Kuirau Park. This is a free park in Rotorua where there are several geothermal lakes and bubbling mud pools. This was very fascinating and we returned here one evening to watch the sun set over the steaming lakes; best of all this attraction is completely free! 

Another great free thing to do not far from town in Rotorua is visit the Redwoods Forest; this is a beautiful area of woodland with many walking tracks offering good views over the area. We spent a day here and managed to walk 12.5 miles (20 kilometres); unfortunately the weather was a bit miserable so we weren’t able to enjoy the best of the view. For us this walk was tiresome after spending the last week driving around in a car being lazy! 

There are so many geothermal attractions to visit in Rotorua it is quite difficult to know which one to choose. Luckily travelling in New Zealand is made easier by the ‘i-SITE’, these are very good government funded tourist information centres which are based in even the smallest of towns. We took advantage of the i-SITE and the in-depth knowledge of the staff and eventually decided to go to the most popular attraction, the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area. This attraction provides the most colourful lakes and a geyser which erupts daily. They do cheat a little with the geyser and induce it to erupt by putting soap into it; nevertheless it was still pretty impressive. We spent the day looking at mud pools, colourful lakes, and craters. The colours in the lakes are formed by the different mineral compositions, and the craters are formed by the land giving way during past volcanic activity. It was amazing to see an area like this as it was something we have never seen before. It is strange to think that the earth is so hot that the thermal pools just constantly boil and bubble away. The sound of the bubbling is quite unique and in some cases you can’t even see a thermal pool because the crater is so deep, you can only hear it which is quite eerry.
 
We also decided that we wanted to learn more about Maori culture so visited the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Maori Village. The Maori people were the first inhabitants of New Zealand and today 40% of the Rotorua population are Maori. There are lots of Maori words used as place names throughout New Zealand even though the total percentage of Maori population is around 15% nationally. In Maori, Rotorua means second lake and was called this as it was the second lake discovered. Kia Ora is widely used as a greeting which can also mean Hello and Thank You. The full name for the village is Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao; it was a great day out, we had a guided tour of the area, saw more geothermal activity, and watched a traditional Maori performance. 

We have had a nice time in Rotorua; there is lots to do (and even more so if you have a car). Our next stop on our trip is Lake Taupo.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: