Rotorua as a place
Its a nice place. Smells of egg due to the Sulphur and the town is small. There are steam erupting things everywhere which makes this place rather unique. I liked it here. The smell of egg you get used to. People are cool here.
So we had researched things to do here and one that kept popping up was this spa place. It was voted top 10 by some company and people recommended it so we had to give it a try. We turned up and straight away you can see the steam from the back of the building. We bopsed in there and had a look at the prices. I’d Saw pics of this “private” rockpool area so naturally looked at that. This was only $27 each and had its own changing room and lake view so me n Becs had to have it.
On the walk to the room you saw all the other pools that had were not private. They looked cool and some had lake view views too. We were shown into the room and were told that your allowed 30 mins in there. The green light on the ceiling will go on when you need to get the hell out.
We undressed in our private changing room area and walked around the corner where the hot pool was. The first thing I noticed was the view from the hotpool. It was really nice. We chose to come at around 4pm which in winter is when the sun starts going down to set. Due to it being a clear blue sky day the view was amazing on the lake.
We got into the hot pool and it was around 40 degrees. It was very relaxing. Surrounded by rocks and a great view was very romantic and relaxing. It was worth every penny. The only difficulty we had was getting a photo of us both in the hotpool, as having to set the timer for 10 seconds, whilst balancing the camera on a rock , whilst trying not to get it wet was a mission in itself but we got some cool shots in the end. Overall a great experience.
I had looked online whilst in Tauranga at campsites that were close to lakes etc. I found “ALL SEASONS” campsite. I saw that it also had a “DINOWOOD” area featuring Dinosaurs (I chose not to tell Bec this until we arrived)…we arrived and we were greeting by a Triceretops statue and a TREX. They were so cool however Bec couldn’t believe id booked us into a kiddies park with Dinos everywhere – her face was funny!
We set up our campervan Frodo on his spot. They had a full kitchen area n toilets etc which were cool. They also had a pool n Hot tub in the park which we tested out the first night we were there. This was nice however had kids in the main pool at night so not that great if you want alone time with ya partner. This park cost us $20 each per night n if you stayed 2 nights you got ya 3rd one free which was cool.
The receptionist to our campsite recommended the markets to us on Saturday. They were based in the city center. We got there and the park itself is cool as theres steam being erupted everywhere. The market was worth going to just for the food. They had a mussel stand there that had Mussel burgers so naturally Bec had to have one. . . it was rather nice…I then came across a stand with a sign saying “worlds longest hotdog” for $8…I had to have it. It was yummy!
Tamaki Maori Village Evening
At $110 per person this was the more expensive activity here however reviews were good and we wanted to experience it. We got collected at 5pm from our campsite and then we got to the visitor center where we were assigned a bus. We waited for our bus where this would take us to the Mauri Village in the woods. It came. Straight away the Driver was a joker. He was really cool and got joking with people on the bus to get us all in the mood. He taught us a few words in Mauri.
He then stated that we had to elect a “Warrior” for our group. This guy would have to do the dance for us etc so we nominated Paul the Old Guy at the front of the bus.
We got to the event and around 3 other buses were there too. It was dark at this point. Our warrior Paul along with the other coach chosen warriors stood at the front and then these Mauri guys came out and did a dance in front of them etc. This was cool to watch.
We then walked into the forest where there were fires lit and wooden huts with Mauri people on them. You would walk around and they would try n get you involved in the old games they used to place and dances. I participated in one game that involved me and 2 others having to let go of sticks and then catch the one to our left n right…and also had to do the traditional Mauri dance they do in RugBY (i WAS TERRIBLE). Bec also had to get involved in a game where she had to run in and out of these sticks on the ground (the Mauri guy took quite a liking to her).
After we had done all of the huts it was then time for dinner. We made our way to a small seated area where 2 guys dug up our food from the ground. There was chicken n lamb in there. The guys then took the food away to prepare it for us. We then all went to a small arena type room where Mauris performed dances for us. There wide eyes and toungues were rather scary…I didn’t know the women did the whole “WIDE” eyes thing too – that was freaky but very entertaining.
We then went to the main hall where a buffet was served. There was lots to eat…LAMB, CHICKEN, BREAD, GRAVY, VEGETABLES, FISH n all sorts. We had desert too . You could eat as much as you wanted. The potatoes and meat tasted of steam – it was so good and authentic. Really enjoyed the food.
It was then time for our departure where we all got on our buses whilst saying “KIA ORA” to the chief of the bus which meant “Good Health” in Mauri.
The bus driver then took us back however on the way back he got us all to do lots of sing a long songs. The end song that he did was the “roundabout childrens song” n whilst we sang it he drove around a roundabout until we had finished the song which was so funny. Because the driver was part of the show too, it added to the experience.
This was a great experience and a wonderful evening. We learnt new words in Maori, Played tradiionation Maori games, got entertained by the Mauri tribe and ate some great food cooked in the ground. All this with lots of laughs chucked in led to our great time here. Deffo recommend this.
Wai –O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
I had saw pics of this place in the UK. I had to visit it. We cruised out of Rotorura towards Taupo and there were signs to the right. We chose to get there for 10am as there is a Geyser that erupts here at 10:15am. You have to purchase tickets thow to see the Geyser (although its not actually in the park). There were alot of people at the Geyser site. There was like an outside arena spot with chairs and the Geyser was in front. The Geyser was already steaming. Now I made alot of jokes to Bec about the fact that this Geyser was man made…I mean how can they predict its gunna go off at 10:15am everyday??? Surely its just a guy with a button that once pressed sends a jet of water up the fake Geyser?? I mean to be honest when we saw the Geyser it does look fake – however it isn’t.
We all started filming , not knowing the exact point that it would go off…my battery started to go on my camera…were all there in hesistation as 10:15am comes…and it still aint bloody gone off. Next thing we know a man comes with a microphone and stands next to this fenced off geyser and starts talking about them. He then proceeds to state how he will now put a bag of something into the geyser which will then cause an eruption…ohhhhh so this is how they do it…so its not really a “natural” geyser explosion! Either way he did explain its to show how they react ..so once this bag was placed in the man moved and the geyser started to throff white shit..then the ground starts rumbling and it explodes into the air…it reached about 10 feet up …it was impressive and lasted around 2 minutes.
We then made our way to the park. Now this park is a must see as theres lots of volcanic activity going on all around you. Theres craters that have collapsed, weird coloured rocks, Yellow and red water, stream coming from the ground…all sorts of shit. It is really cool to see. Im not normally one to pay attention to information about things, however I found myself reading all about the different areas as its actually really interesting to see how the earth behaves in a different part of the world. I said to Becs youd never see erupted Geysers and Volcanic activity in Wolverhampton!
There were signs everywhere saying how the bubbling mud pools here were 100 degrees too. I think that added to my interest knowing that shit could burn the shit out of you if you fell in. Its quite cool to see the bubbling water.
Wild Swimming In A 40 degrees waterfall
So we had read about a place called Kerosene Creek (i think its called). Directions here were quite vague. Basically we found it by travelling out of Rotorura towards the 5 highway towards Taupo. We had to drive towards Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to find it as its on the same highway. It took us 25 mins out of Rotorura to get to it. We finally saw a sign to “Kerosene Creek” to the left. The road aint that leads to the parking area aint the best. Its full of pot holes. Our campervan was not 4 wheel drive so we took it very slowly down the track. We had to drive about 10 minutes down the track until you see a big grass area on the right and big changing huts on the left. You see other cars parked there. We got changed and we could see the pathway leading down.
We could hear the waterfall as soon as we got out of the van. We trotted down the path for about 5 minutes and there it was…the small waterfall and pool. The first thing you notice is the steam coming from the water so you know its hot. We left our towels by the tree and noticed you had small rocks in the positions of steps leading down to the pool. Its only about 5feet down so its easy to walk down the rocks. Other people were there too but not many. As soon as you dip your toe in you can feel that its a nice temperature. It was about 40 degrees. Its all sand on the bottom too so its easy to walk on. As you walk in the water its very shallow at first and then slowly gets deeper. There were no spots that I found that just dropped 5 feet all of a sudden. The highest the water got on me was up to my chest and im 5ft9 and that was under the waterfall itself.
I tried to get under the waterfall but everytime I tried to do this the current drove me away. I had to almost swim to get under the waterfall but its not long until the current pushes you away from it. I also noticed that there were rocks under my feet under the waterfall grrr.
The experience was very cool. The water was really relaxing and it was basically like having your own private hot pool…you could easily grab some rocks further down stream and create your own pool for your and your partner as its all the same temperature down stream. It was really nice and a “unique” experience to try out plus since its not an “official” tourist attraction, its free!
Racing down the side of a mountain on a sledge sounded like fun so this had to be done! We drove to the Luge center where we got out our vouchers which were $32 each for Goldula and 1 x luge ride. We then hoped onto the Gondula where it took us up the mountain. It was a really sunny day so the views were very beautiful.
We got to the top and turned right for the Luges. There was a huge bin with lots of helmets in there. Each colour represented a different size. I had the blue helmet as this was fathead size. We then approached the man at the gate who asked us if we were first time riders in which we replied YES..and then he then showed us to the girl who sat us on these Sledge things. Basically you sit on them and you pull the handles back to stop. She then told us to go to the right hand side which was the “scenic” route. Bec shot off in front but mine didn’t seem to want to go that fast so i had to keep moving myself backwards n forwards L
It wasn’t long until I gathered speed. I did try n get the camera out to do one of those “moving first person views” things but whenever i let go of the handles it kinda went out of control so i couldn’t remove any hand ..grr..it wasn’t long until I gathered speed. You do pick up alot of speed on these babies and slowing down is really easy…you take corners quick and you go threw a forest area which was cool. Wasnt long until I caught Bec up. The experience lasted about 3 minutes but was well worth it. This was so fun and you kinda wanted to do more rides but at $11 per go we were on a budget so had to leave it at that. We then caught my first ever ski lift to the top again. Legs dangling and views all around us this was a cool time for me. We then got the Gondula down to the start again and that was the end. Great day out this was!