We had a week in Rotorua, in August 2016.
It was a funny week, with road works that made it impossible for us to park our car in the driveway (or even near the house). On the day we arrived, after 7 hours on the road, we couldn’t park nor enter the house due to work on the driveway so we had to leave and come back 3 hours later to find out they weren’t done. We needed to ask the supervisor to move the truck – which he did, but it took around 15 minutes.
Then, 3 days later, we were told not to use the flush. And on the next day, we were awoken by a knocking on the door saying that if we didn’t take the car from the driveway now, we wouldn’t be able to move it for 3 days. Which wouldn’t work, since we needed to leave on the next day. That means we parked the car a block away – not easy loading the car, but a nice exercise.
Besides that problem, the house didn’t have any oven tray and we had to buy disposable ones – the kids were making lasagna. Some of the pots were pretty dirty and greasy; pots, cleaning products, cleaning cloths, dust pan, everything was stored in the same place. But it’s an OK house, warm, close to the city and in a place where the Rotorua sulphuric smell isn’t strong. The owner was quite responsive, but most things couldn’t be helped.
They have a small museum and the most awesome little walk. I thought it would be super morbid, but it wasn’t! It was a nice, well thought of outdoor museum (well, there’s an indoor part as well, but the outside part is amazing). Well worth it! A family pass cost NZ$ 64 for a family of 4 in 2016.
After all that, we went to visit Lake Tarawera, because we wanted to see the volcano (it’s big and it was 3 domes) but we could only see it from far away, across the lake. It was still impressive. Kinda scary after reading that it’s still active, though.
On the way to Tarawera, we stopped by the Green and Blue lakes. They’re one next to the other, the blue being larger. On a cloudy day, both of them look grey. On a sunny day, you can see the difference, though I’d say they’re both blue. It might just be me, but anyway.
We visited Sulphur Point too. It’s a free walkway that passes through a thermal area, pretty fun – but pretty smelly. Melissa didn’t like it. Joao said he hated it, but he kind of laughed a lot. The younger 2 had loads of fun. It’s a short walk, it took us around 30 minutes but we stopped everywhere and spent lots of time with each different thing: there was boiling mud, laughing pool, the milky blue waters, yellow ponds, smoking holes and all kinds of stuff.
Te Puia is another thermal area and is where the Pohutu geyser is located. It’s a paid attraction and it’s not cheap. There are different passes, that give you access to different shows/food/attractions (see prices and plans here). We did the Te Rā + Haka, which gave us a day pass with access to the park, a 1 hour guided tour, and a cultural performance, and cost NZ$ 173 for the whole family in 2016. Jose also wrote a review.
We loved it! It’s a big park, with great walks, geysers, smoking rocks, warm stone floor, bubbling mud pools, small colorful ponds, beautiful river and many native plants and māori sculptures. The cultural performance was beautiful, I loved it. I wish it was longer! Wait for a full review!
The last place we visited was the Redwood forest. Can you imagine a fairytale forest? This is it. Tall trees, little milky blue creek, the sunshine coming through the trees, birds and sticks. Did I ever tell you how my 2 younger kids are obsessed with sticks? Well, there you go.
It’s huge and amazing. I loved it! It’s full of different walks that range from 30 minutes to 8 hours. The 30-minute track is very easy, and gorgeous. It’s free unless you want to do the canopy walk. We didn’t.
I think there’s one down-point in all the Rotorua we saw: litter. There’s plastic, cans, and paper EVERYWHERE. Super sad.
And our video!
PS: We have 2 NZ gift sets to give away this month! One is for the newsletter subscribers (do it here) and one is for who likes our page and share the giveaway post on Facebook! You can enter the draw for both of them, or just one. You can also live anywhere in the world. We’ll draw a winner on the 30th of August 2016, so go on now!