5 May 2011

Rotorua - sulphate heaven

ok...that was a bit mean to write, because the place doesn't smell that bad. It does smell though, now and then you get a whiff of the sulphate from the bubbling thermal mud pools close to the town.

During the Easter holiday we went to Rotorua, approx 2,5 hours drive south of Auckland. It is a very popular place to visit for tourists as it is high on Maori history and culture and has a lot of activities to offer.
We have been there at least a couple of times before and tried most of the activities the place has to offer, so this time we took it a bit easier.

The Polynesian Spa was high on our to do list this time around. It is a bit of luxury to visit the outdoor spas with natural geothermal water (said to be healing) with a temperature up to 41C. Massages and mud baths are also available and if you are worried about kids splashing into the water next to you, don't, as there are separate adult and family spas. Yey!

Private pool with the view of Lake Rotorua
Both above pictures borrowed from www.nzhotpools.co.nz

 We also had a little sightseeing with the Duck tour.

From www.ducktours.co.nz
This is WWII landing craft done up like a little boat with wheels and during the trip we were driving around the different historic sites, but also have a trip on the water to listen to old Maori myths and stories told by the excellent "Conducktor". What a great way to spend 1,5 hours in the rain!
Yes, it rained a lot so we weren't really keen to walk around too much.
PS. The Duck can only be found in Rotorua (no other places in New Zealand).

We had a very nice visit to Rainbow Spring Kiwi Wildlife Park which is a great place to go if you want to know more about New Zealand's environment and animals. The park has a strong focus on conservation and has New Zealand's only "open to view" kiwi hatchery and rearing facility. The kiwi tour is very interesting and toward the end of the trip you get to see the kiwi bird  - though it won't see you as it is all dark in the tunnel we are walking through.

Lovely water fall and trout pond. No fishing allowed though....
Rainbow trout
Rainbow trout are native to America and were introducing into New Zealand in 1883. The main colour feature on the rainbow trout is the red/orange stripe running along the lateral line.

Rainbow trout from www.rainbowsprings.co.nz

The mute swan is regarded as one of the most stately and elegant birds in the world and is the largest
of the worlds waterfowl.
These protected birds were brought to NZ from England in 1866 and were subsequently released into the wild.

Ponui Donkeys are New Zealand’s only feral donkey breed.
The feral herd is established on Ponui Island (Hauraki Gulf). They are descendants of three animals released on the island in the 1880’s.

Carved ponga with paua shell eyes

There is so much to do in Rotorua. You can probably stay there for a week or two and have no problems finding new activities to do every day. For more info about things to do, have a look here.
Here is a list of 10 top things to do in Rotorua.

Did I hear mud bath, yes please anyone?

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