Very pleasant drive down from Auckland through scenery like the below – all a bit like the hobbit…
View from the hotel room
Only just arrived, so all I can say at the moment is that Rotorua seems a pleasant small town – with an unfortunate odour here and there…
Rotorua is one of the most active thermal spots on the planet – and it smells like it… The smell (hydrogen sulphide = bad eggs) is not everywhere but certainly very common. There are steam plumes and bubbling mud pools all over the place and apparently new ones can pop up at anytime and anywhere.
The main tourist centre and home to the largest geyser is Whakarewarewa, this site also houses a Maori cultural centre; worth a vist and not too touristy – although this is its purpose, along with education and preservation of traditional ways.
Downtown Rotorua is a pleasant grid pattern town with a large choice of restaurants and cafes – all a bit samey but everyone is very welcoming and friendly.
There is a choice of spas in town too, I went for the Polynesian Spa which seemed a good choice; set on the side of the lake, variety of pools at different temperatures and a wide selection of treatments.
I opted for a water massage and was shown into a room that looked like a car wash with a bed in it; you get massaged whilst being showered by a force nine rain storm – fab. Actually this was rather a relief, as the description of the treatment was a bit vague and I had fears of being ushered into a white tiled room with the Rotoruan version of Rosa Kleb sat at the other end behind a water cannon; ready for action – a bit like a fairground duck shoot with me as the target.
Rotorua would be a great place for a relaxing week and I wish I could have stayed longer.