Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
30Trip End Feb 15, 2014
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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
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
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.