This post is another throw back to last year. Tiernan and I went to Rotorua and Hobbiton for my 25th birthday before I went to Manila. I couldn’t put it up last year because of that perfectly timed bout of tonsillitis right before a long-haul flight to the Philippines. But here we are, ready to talk about one of my favorite spots and how I got to share it with Tiernan!
On our first day we got up reasonably early and drove out to Lake Tarawera and the Blue & Green Lakes after breakfast. It’s a short drive through mostly bushland with a series of great view spots. This one, below, lets you stand between both the Blue and Green Lakes.
After a short stop we moved on to Lake Tarawera. The volcano, aptly Mt. Tarawera, last erupted in 1886 and destroyed the Pink and White Terraces – a wonder of New Zealand. It is one of the more recent eruptions in New Zealand history so it is a bit scary how many people have baches (holiday homes) out there.
At Lake Tarawera we had a go on the playground. Tiernan loved the spinny thing. I got scared and Tiernan had to stop me. It went really fast!
I love travelling on a weekday, in the middle of the school term, both lake areas were completely deserted. Peaceful stroll time!
After a long morning of scary playgrounds we went to Rainbow Springs, a trout and bird park which I don’t have any pictures of, and the Skyline Luge. The two attractions are neighbours back in Rotorua town.
Luging is one of my favourite childhood memories. Along with Piha Beach, my family would spend a few weeks of summer at Rotorua where the Luge is a requisite. It also happens to have one of the best views of Lake Rotorua. You can see all the way to Tarawera in Tiernan’s photo. So this is where we spent the sunset and Tiernan gave me my promise ring – the ring that we would eventually use as my engagement ring.
On our last day we drove down to Wai-o-tapu to watch the geyser erupt and do more strolling. This time, around the sulphur-smelling hot pools. All of Rotorua smells like sulphur. It’s strange that you can definitely smell it when you drive it, but by the time you leave yo you’re so used to it that you don’t notice it anymore.
The pictures above are of the Champagne Pool. Wai-o-tapu has the best coloring of any hotpools I have investigated around New Zealand. There are plenty of options for pools and springs to visit – Hell’s Gate is another good one – but if you can only do one, Wai-o-tapu is the best hands-down.
Wai-o-tapu: NZ$32.50 per adult
Rainbow Springs: NZ$40 per adult
Gondola and 3x Luge rides: NZ$45 per adult
Car hire: my dad
Stayed at: The Millenium Hotel, Rotorua