Rotorua is a truly brilliant place. Especially for exploring the geothermal activity which helps make New Zealand the remarkable country it is. Here are some pictures.
Apparently this is one of the top 10 spas in the world. And I must admit, it’s pretty damn good. Except at 4.30pm. That’s when the tour buses arrive. It’s REALLY difficult to relax when one hundred and fifty Japanese tourists descend on the place. (Note: I’m not saying it’s because they are Japanese. That was just who happened to arrive when I was there. I have no doubt it’d have been even more un-relaxing had they been British). I had a pretty good view, eh?
Rainbow Mountain Crater Lake.
I’m not sure if it was the light rain that meant I was the only one at this crater lake or if not many people know it’s there – but it really is worth the short walk from the car-park to see. I only wish I had enough time to walk to the summit of the mountain. It’s interesting that this mountain has cooled, but it’s still smouldering in places.
Kerosene Creek Hot Water Pools.
Kerosene Creek has to be one of the best places I visited in the whole of the north Island. Down an unmarked gravel road you have a creek where the water runs hot. Add in some waterfalls and you have the perfect location to relax. Yeah, it sounds like a toxic waste dump, but believe me – it’s not. I was driving, but a few other people in the creek had taken some wine to drink. Why the hell not?
New Zealands largest bubbling mud pool.
Self explanatory really. Another free attraction that most people miss because they’re drawn into the pay-to-see volcanic parks (Yeah, I went there too – but after a day of checking out all the free stuff that the area has to offer). P.S – It isn’t easy to catch the perfect mud explosion.
Both my pictures of the Green Lake and the Blue Lake were taken at the EXACT same place, just facing a different direction.
Lake Rotokakahi or the Green Lake appears to be emeraldy green because of it’s shallowness and sandy bottom. It is largely untouched since it is considered sacred by the Maori people. Swimming or boating in the lake is forbidden for this reason.
Lake Tikitapu or Blue lake lies in the same Volcanic Caldera as the Green lake among others. It is blue because of the presence of rhyolite and pumice. Unlike the Green lake, this one is used for boating, fishing, swimming and whatnot.
This was probably my second favourite stop of the day (after Kerosene Creek). I’d never seen a spring before and I found it incredible. It was really hard to take a photo which would capture what I was seeing, but I tried my best. It is the deepest natural fresh water spring in the whole of New Zealand (about 15 metres, as far as I remember). It produces about 4 million litres of water an hour. FOUR MILLION LITRES of crystal clear water at a consistent 10 degrees. Apparently in the 1950s (I think) they sent some divers down who came up with thousands and thousands of coins which had been chucked in over the years.
I was supposed to raft over these seven metre falls on the Kaituna River, but unfortunately my time was scarce and their ended up being loads of natural beauty that being a geology geek I didn’t want to miss out on. Next time perhaps.
This park is literally in the city centre. It’s amazing. It’s free. It smells terrible (As does the whole city, really. Sulphur isn’t an appealing smell).
Waimangu Geothermal Park.
This is the only thing on the list that I actually paid for. This is the youngest geothermal park in the world, being created in an 1886 eruption. It use to contain the Waimangu geyser (from 1901 to 1904 – it reached heights of up to 460 metres and was a tourist attraction even then) and it still contains Frying Pan Lake (which is the worlds largest hot spring). I’ve only included a few of the photos I took, but it was well worth the look.
The only real way to see all this is to have your own car or hire one. I did the later and it only cost about $50 for the day. Divide that by the number of people in the car and it costs nothing. Some of these things aren’t well known. They’re not all advertised in the information site nor rated on the websites. I found out about them because of Chris, the brilliant manager at Crash Palace hostel in Rotorua. If you were organised enough, you could see all of this (and more, including free Glow Worms and more waterfalls) in a day – or a day and a half if you include the Volcanic Park. I’m a geology geek and nerd in general so I was having a field day. I find all this stuff incredible and Rotorua was a remarkable place.