(June 13th 2006)

Rotorua is a city located on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. It has a population of 53,000 half of which are Maori.
The city is located 60 km south of Tauranga, 105 km south-east of Hamilton and 82 km north-east of Taupo.
Rotorua is a spa resort, well-known for the geothermal activity in the area. There are a number of geysers (notably the 20 m Pohutu geyser at Whakarewarewa) and hot mud pools located in the city, which owe their presence to the Rotorua caldera.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As you enter the city limits the smell of rotten eggs hits you. Clouds of steam appear to rise from nowhere giving the area an almost eerie atmosphere right out of Jurassic Park. Yet this city is one of the hottest (literally) tourist spots in New Zealand.

Rotorua (pronounced Row-toe-rue-a) is situated in the North Island of New Zealand. Famous for its geothermal activity the area was originally settled in the 14th century by the Te Arawa people, so named as they arrived in the Te Arawa Canoe from Hawaiki, the mythical home of the Maori peoples situated somewhere in Eastern Polynesia. In the 19th century the tribe began hosting visitors after newly arrived settlers to this strange wild country began journeying to Rotorua in order to see the famous Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana. This tradition continues to this day with descendents of the original tribe hosting tourists from all around the world.
From the Kiwi Herald

Sounds like an interesting, if smelly place.
Click here if you want to see some photos of Rotorua.

We’re staying at the Birchwood Spa Motel for a couple of nights, which should be enough to see the sights (hey, that rhymed). The city seems to have a lot of activities around the geothermal springs, mud pools and geysers (even posh spas ), such as Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Hells Gate. A lot more scary is the fact that Rotorua is a centre for extreme sports and we’re not talking a couple of kids with skateboards here. Ever heard of Zorbing or Swoop? I can honestly say that there is no way on earth that I will be doing either (or Bungy jumping for that matter). I’m keeping my feet on the ground (or in a boat/plane/helicopter).
Two things on the ‘to do’ list though are Paradise Valley and the Duck Tour. At Paradise Valley, if they have any, you can stroke a lion cub (up to 6 months anyway, any bigger they’d eat you), and we enjoyed the Duck Tour we did in Halifax, Nova Scotia so why not do another?
Rotorua is the place to see Kiwis, at Rainbow Springs they have a Kiwi Encounter that looks really good.

After 2 nights here we get back on the road and head towards Wellington, but we’re taking our time about it. We have given ourselves 2 full days to do it in and will find somewhere to stay en-route.

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