Rotorua, New Zealand

Champagne Pool Wai-O-Tapu Rotorua New Zealand
Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu 
- Rotorua, New Zealand
Huka Falls Taupo New Zealand
Huka Falls - Taupo, New Zealand
Whakarewaewa Redwood Forest  Rotorua New Zealand
Whakarewaewa Redwood Forest
 - Rotorua, New Zealand
Te Puia Geyser - Rotorua, New Zealand
Te Puia Geyser - Rotorua, New Zealand
Kiwi Lady Kayaker Blue Lake New Zealand
Kiwi Lady Kayaker
- Blue Lake, New Zealand
Lady Know Geyser Wai-O-Tapu Rotorua New Zealand
Lady Knox Geyser
at Wai-O-Tapu - Rotorua, New Zealand
Champagne Pool Wai-O-Tapu Rotorua New Zealand
Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu
- Rotorua, New Zealand
Maori Waka War Canoe Mitai Village Rotorua New Zealand
Maori 'Waka' War Canoe at Mitai Village
 - Rotorua, New Zealand
Bus Information Station Rotorua New Zeala
Bus & Information Station 
- Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua, New Zealand (12/5-6/2009) – This place is amazing and doesn’t seem real!

Driving into Rotorua with steam flowing from the earth, we felt that we were in a virtual world developed by Disneyland. Rotorua sits on the edge on one of most awesome volcanic areas in the world - mud pools spit, geyser shoot high into the air, and sulfurous steam and gas hiss through crevices in the earth. 

Rotorua is also a cultural center for Maori (New Zealand’s first inhabitants) experiences.

Our first night, we visited the Maori Mitai Village described as earthy, raw, and indigenous where we experienced an evening of Maori culture. We were met by Maori warriors paddling a waka (ancient war canoe - see photo) and witnessed a Maori performance of dance (lots of tongue) and explanation of traditions followed by a traditional ‘hangi’ meal cooked in the ground (see photos). We also saw our first glowworms – a New Zealand thing where very small worms glow at night.

The next day was incredible. We visited the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland with the amazing Lady Knox Geyser and Champagne Pool (an effervescent, blue-green pond rimmed with brilliant orange mineral deposits), steam vents, mud pools, and vibrant mineral colors (see photos). 

Beautiful Lake Taupo New Zealand
Beautiful Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Afterwards, we swam in a natural hot and cold river where two small rivers meet – one hot and one cold (really cool!… and hot!). Then we took a hike through the Whakarewarewa Sequoia Redwood Forest (see photo) planted here in 1901 by prisoners, viewed the Te Puia Geyser shooting out of the rocks, and visited the Polynesian Spa overlooking Lake Rotorua. A drive to the beautiful Blue and Green Lakes yielded a kayak contest going on (see photo). 
Huka Falls New Zealand
Huka Falls, New Zealand

On the way to Rotorua we passed through Taupo stopping at New Zealand largest and very beautiful Lake Taupo. We also visited Huka Falls (see photo) on the way.

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  1. Some Kiwi friends took us to Rotorua for an overnight during one of our trips to New Zealand. I concur with your delight and am refusing to compare it to Yellowstone National Park which has no glowworms or Maoris.

  2. I visited Rotorua in 2004. I remember it being very smelly too, what with all the sulphur! Great post - thanks for sharing and brining back memories.

  3. Everyone talks about how beautiful New Zealand is and your pictures confirm that. I think seeing the glow worms would be cool. I've got to put this place on my list!

  4. I was in Rotarua earlier this year and I know exactly what you mean about it seeming unreal. There's nowhere else quite like it!

  5. I also enjoyed my visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland with the amazing Lady Knox Geyser and Champagne Pool but I missed seeing the Sequoias--didn't know they were there until now!

  6. We were just in Rotorua too and did some of the same things and some different ones too. Looks like we did some of the same things, and some different ones. When I publish ours, I can share them with you. Or you will find them in the next several months Wendy

    Know that the Glow worm is insect larvae and not technically a worm

  7. I see I posted here a few years ago, but on this reading I'm reminded that we, too, enjoyed a traditional ‘hangi’ meal cooked in the ground in Rotorua. It is a memorable place to visit.


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