I am a tree-hugger, so we had to visit the 55,000ha Whakarewarewa Forest next to the town of Rotorua. This is a forest of American Redwoods and native plants, and it is simply magical. There is a sky walk among the trees – which you can do at night – so that you can get up close to the trees. But you can’t get personal – touching the barks leaves the trees open to attack by insects and fungi.
While in Rotorua, we also went to the Kiwi Sanctuary. Alas, as the little birds are nocturnal, everything is kept dark and so photographs aren’t so good. However, we got to see an adult female, adult male, and juvenile male birds. This was a highpoint for me, as I had studied kiwis at university; they are stars due to their unique nature (Do your research). Alas, all the man-introduced animals seems to target the kiwis, either preying on the birds or eating their eggs.
We did a few drives around Lake Rotorua and its hinterlands. It truly is the most photogenic place, a glorious lake surrounded by lushly forested mountains. We stayed two night; we could have stayed a week.
Before we headed to Rotorua, everyone was warning us about how it was a smelly place. We lucked out and it wasn’t so bad while we were staying there. I have a poor sense of smell, but my husband’s sense of smell is just fine, and he didn’t find it unpleasant. Friends have since advised me that they found the fart smell unbearable. What creates the smell? The volcanic hot water vents that saturate the area (pun intended).
We went to a guided night tour of geysers. We were informed that the waters and mud can cook you in minutes, and that the indigenous people had specific precautions to prevent scalds. They cooked us – the tour group – a butterscotch pudding in seven minutes. The pools are that hot; you can’t bathe in them, you would be broiled to death.
This blog is a second go at recounting our adventures in Rotorua. I had written a much longer post – and a finger fumbled wiped it away. So, I’m breaking up the Rotorua adventure into three posts.
I will add that I had a friend from New Zealand in Grade One, and she was from Rotorua. She made the boiling mud sound magical, and I wasn’t disappointed.