Dreaming in New Zealand: Rotorua

The North Island adventure continues. After the splendid visit to the volcano island I headed to admire another seismic wonder – Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Field. The picturesque lakes and steaming caves do remind the visitors that the ground in New Zealand does not sleep. This wonderland is located on one of the most active volcanic areas on the planet and is one of many exposed proofs of never-ending thermal processes. It is possible to walk around this attraction in about an hour for the rushed ones, but I would recommend spending at least 2 hours and wonder around in a relaxed pace.

Some of the steamy lakes reminded me a lot of the Yellowstone, but perhaps the comparison is unfair. Mother Nature did not just decide to copy one from the other. They are unique in their own way, but perhaps this one is a little bit more accessible.

You can get really close to the sulfur steams. Hold your breath but open your eyes! Just… don’t jump in.

The below snapshot is probably the postcard view from Wai-O-Tapu and perhaps one of the most famous one picturing the geothermal activity taking place in New Zealand. I had seen a glimpse of it it before I even knew more about this place, let alone seen with my own fogged eyes!

Some little pools look ideal to just jump in and relax. Unfortunately beside toxic water combination, getting to them would be quiet painful too. The ground is often boiling hot!

Orange mineral rust collecting on the trees is a interesting phenomenon. Pretty sure it does no good to the plants.

I did not see a live kiwi during my stay in New Zealand . Apparently they are nocturnal animals and all I did at night was… sleep! Visiting so many places does tire you a little bit. And guess what… this wasn’t it for the day! Visiting Rotorua without experiencing some of the Maori culture would be a sin. So here we go, let’s visit a piece of Maori culture at Mitai Maori Village.

The experience starts with a transfer from your hotel to the village. You are then taken around the village and told a bit of history of Maori people in the area and specifically, Mitai tribe.

The village is built around a magnificent spring. I could not believe the colour of it! Like tranquil blue or something… magnificent! Do…not…jump…in!

The river is used to show some of the Maori culture (boats and men, men and boats).

After the little boat presentation we were invited for a spectacle including the famous Maori war chant! Pretty terrifying! Luckily noone got seriously harmed 🙂

The last part included a proper feast with all you can eat buffet. Yummy!

The next morning, just before leaving Rotorua I stumbled upon Rotorua Skyline. Having a bit of time I decided to jump in and see what’s up on the hill.

As it was fairly early hours in the morning the place was empty and the sky was still overcast. Almost felt like I had the whole place for myself!

The whole area is thermally active and you can smell sulfur the moment you get close to the town. It is not harmful and you get to it very quickly.

Hmmm what’s that? Go-karts? Oh…

Hold on… Rotovegas?

Hell yeah no, I can’t miss that!

A few people were already ready for a ride.

Lets gooo! Oh noo… traffic?

This was actually super fun! Had to help ourselves with hands and we could not move. Gravity did not work once you have stopped…

Back on the way up. The ride got pretty intense after the last picture, so I did not dare to take more shots in fear of my life!

That was steep yeah.

Goodbye Rotovegas!

A few miles down the road there was another attraction. Apparently this place was the birthplace of zorbing. Oh I wish I jumped in, but having had more than two hundred miles drive ahead of me I had to say no. Such a shame… looked like a lot of fun!

Next stop – The Hobbiton!

Thanks for popping by!


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