Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Mar 06, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, January 25, 2013

Rotorura is one of the most visited tourist attractions in NZ and the normal tourist approach is to utilise one of the many tourist companies who offer expensive Maori shows and meals. Not wishing to join a tourist bus trip, our preference was to do our own grass roots discovery, so we armed ourselves with a backpack, simple map and spent the day walking the 1880 Heritage Trail. Discovering Rotorura for ourselves was relatively easy with so many friendly people wanting to chat to tourists off the beaten trail.   

Rotorura is amazing, large pools of magma (melted rock) build up and heat the underground water to incredible temperatures. The super-heated water rises through the cracks and faults then escapes as steam, boiling mud or geysers. It was not just Kuirau Park that amply displays these activities, you can walk round any street corner and a random garden has bubbling water or a boiling mud well sending hot steam skyward. There were hundreds of examples, roadsides, parks, residential areas, drains, even our campsite had several natural hot spa baths, steam ovens and its own fenced off boiling stream.  Outside our campervan is metre hole spouting steam several metres into the air.

Our trip took us to the traditional village of Ohinemutu which was the only settlement before 1880 when Rotorura was New Zealand's only city. Here we discovered another bizarre fact that the War Memorial Graves are built on the surface as concrete tombs because digging into the ground will likely unearth another hot spring.

That morning we had met the nicest Scottish couple you could ever hope to meet. It was quite amusing they were on a 'flashpackers’ month holiday and were not suffering the constraints of stretching funds over 5 months as we are. Their departing shot disproved that all Jocks are tight, as they gave us there leftover ‘flashpacker’ supplies much to K’s delight. We indulged in some of their gifted goodies after we had cooked our own hungi in the steam ovens.  What a great day.
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