With natural hot springs surrounding the Rotorua area, the centre of volcanic activity in New Zealand, I couldn’t wait to get here and see what it had to offer. I could of done with more than 2 days but I am on a tight schedule in NZ so 2 days it was. It was full of fun, bursting with beauty, and actually a lot of learning new things.
One of the highlights of the whole trip, the Maori people are some of the most interesting stories, and has one of the most interesting cultures. From the welcome ceremonies to the way they create their houses its fascinating to hear it all from the ancestors and people who still live within the community to keep it alive.
The best thing about the culture is that it is imbedded throughout New Zealand in the names, the signposts and even the education in schools. Make sure when in New Zealand you take the time to visit one of these amazing Villages. There are different village throughout NZ but I ended up at the Tamaki Village near Rotorua. You can even stay over in one of their ancestral huts to experience the full extent of their hospitality.
Mauri Village post – https://livinglifetotheblonde.com/?p=4372
White water rafting
I have wanted to try this extreme sport out for ages, and with the challenge of one of the highest drops in New Zealand on the Kaituna River. When we arrived we did a small …. because the Mauri people see the rivers and earth as spirits and living things that need to be respected. So we gave thanks to them allowing us to do this, and to keep us safe.
The adrenaline was incredible, not knowing how big the next drop would be, working as a team to stay in the raft, but at the same time kind of wanting to fall out! The 7 metre drop, Okere Falls. on the last one was so scary, we were all cheering when we made it, due to the fact everyone else didn’t may have helped!
Link to the website to book or call – https://www.rotorua-rafting.co.nz/
Hot springs in the Park
Just 5 minutes from the Hostels which are on the edge of the Kuirau Park where I have never seen a playground and relaxing flower public park which also has live and very active Hot pools? Only in New Zealand hey! It was amazing to go and learn about the landscape here , with crazy amounts of steam coming out of some of the pools, then some of them being the right temperature to paddle your feet in. I walked along the Park in and out of the ponds until heading down to Rotorua Lake.
Wai-o-Tapu is the largest Geyser in New Zealand, and is famous for its Champagne hot pool. The tones of champagne green, to the orange tones by the shore. With beautiful walking paths, picnic benches, and probably a lingering smell from the Eggy fumes from the steam when you leave.
I went to walk along the Sulphur Beach which is found along the Rotorua Lake close to East of Government Gardens which was like something from another planet. I headed down the Hatupatu Drive, and then headed onto the small path following the shore, with white mineral sands, to the cloudy baby blue waters it was stunning, I actually expected an alien to come out of the bushes! There are active springs where mud is popping out, and sulphuric smoke as well from the heat of the water.
The town itself is a grid system, with streets of shops, restaurants , it has an old town feel with the beautiful one level buildings, and canopies over the pathways. Even the signage is done in an old fashioned vintage way on some of them.
I visited The Red Woods on the way out of Rotorua with insanely huge trees, hundreds, thousands of years old with a group of the friends I was with, we did an easy 5km walk/ hike through the forest. Uphill parts, and straight parts. Some areas we were going along small wooden bridges across shallow ponds with the most insane colours and textures within them. The trees were huge, with a metre or so in thickness. The woods has different tracks for people to clearly follow, I followed the green track.
One of the opportunities i would of loved to experience was the evening canopy walk with all the beautiful fairy lights around and in the trees along the canopy bridges. It was meant to be stunning!
In all Rotorua was an incredible introduction to just how diverse New Zealand is with so much to do, or little to do in one of the parks. It has the outdoor activities completely sorted, the natural landscapes and geography sorted, plus the culture and relaxed atmosphere you sometimes need.
Visit and Enjoy!