….but we are all fabulous.
A friend who had previously visited Rotorua said that she still cannot believe such a place on earth exists and having been there I can understand the sentiment. It is a hot, bubbling, steaming, sulphurous and smelly place, with geothermal activity taking place everywhere you turn – in the public gardens, the glorious landscape and, rather sadly, in the spew of tourist experiences in the area.
Every geyser worth its salt it would seem has a theme-park set round it with Maori shows, cable cars, and of course extortionate entrance fees to see these natural wonders and no real opportunity to opt out of the shows, meals, shops etc. that are laid on for the coachloads that arrive. Another friend called it Roto-Vegas, so you get the picture…
However, despite this Rotorua is worth a visit. We found a national wildlife park a few km away – Waimangu Volcanic Valley which was simply a self-guided walk through a variety of stunning geothermal lakes, geysers, fumeroles, down to a boat ride (the boat is fuelled by hand to reduce the damage to the area).
There were no food outlets apart from at the entrance, no shows or ‘extra’ attractions as the scenery was clearly enough. It wasn’t cheap – there is a donation to the upkeep of this pristine area but it was worth every penny. A word to the wise however, leave longer than they say to visit – we wanted to sit and take it all in but in order to make the boat, the two hours we left and that they recommended ended in a very brisk walk for the last 20 mins!
For those visitors on a rather tighter budget, there is plenty to see for free in the town itself. The second day we walked round an outdoor sculpture exhibition set round Sulphur Lake (the Sulphur Lake Sculpture Trail)commemorating the 2015 anniversary of Gallipoli.
We then walked round Rotorua Lake with its bubbling mud pools and gas vents. The bird life is spectacular and we had the walk and views almost to ourselves. We didn’t make it there but there is also another municipal park with a huge mud pool that bubbles away at 212F (we drove past it as we left).
As for the smell – you get used to it after a while J