I have a huge task ahead of me. Thinking through all the exciting places I could begin, why not start at the beginning. My home town. The beautiful, green and blue, Rotorua, New Zealand. This is also the hometown of my husband, and birth place of my children.
Rotorua is also known as RotoVegas, or just Vegas if you are a local. The most common feedback you will hear (unless you are a local in which case people want to say it, but sometimes might be a bit uncomfortable because it is dissing your hometown), “ohhh it smells like rotten eggs”. Fair call, it does, and if you are born and bred there, you probably won’t notice the smell 95% of the time. However, on our trip back in November, I can say, it smelt. But not enough to bother me. So I hope if you do by chance call in on little Rotorua, it doesn’t bother you.
Why would you want to visit? It’s tiny. It has lakes, many many lakes. 17 lakes according to Wikipedia. Many of them are quite close together, so you visit a few of the lakes in a day. The best thing about the lakes, they are free. And you won’t find the lake fronts packed out (overcrowded), they are peaceful, beautiful and secluded. My favourite lake growing up was Tarawera, but any of them are fantastic. There are a few lookout spots and lots of great photo opportunities.
Mud. Rotorua has mud, boiling mud. It is a geothermal area, and there is plenty of history about its uses. If you are a tourist, you can pay money to look at the mud or bath in the mud (it is really fabulous for your skin). However, if you would like to see mud for free, go to Kuirau Park. Have a good hunt around and you can see some good quality, thick mud going “PLOP, PLOP, PLOP” (yes, it really does sound like that)… And you can also soak your feet in one of the thermal pools on your way around (yes, these are free too).
If you are inclined to go to a thermal pool where you would like to go all in, you can opt for the tourist spot, Polynesian Spa. And if you’d prefer the locals pick (cheaper), drive over to Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, just south of Rotorua. This place has beautiful pools, beautiful views, and also camping on site.
So I’m sure I’ll be flooded with a million and one more ideas when I try to sleep tonight, but here’s a list of free things (because who doesn’t love free experiences on holiday?). Enjoy.
The Redwood Forest – large trees, and many, many walks
The Volcanic Playground
Walking around Tikitapu / Blue Lake (approximately 1.5hrs)
Skyline Skyrides – The Luge is awesome
Go for a ride on the Lakeland Queen (my claim to fame growing up, my dad built it!)
You have to do a Hangi and Concert – there are heaps of places to do this, it’s always awesome and YUM.
Go have a look at the Pohutu Geyser
Go Zorbing (who doesn’t love rolling down a hill in a giant, inflated ball?)
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