What better way to escape the grind of house sitting New Zealand than to take a day to day tiip exploring Rotorua town. This my friend is exactly what we did, and we were pleasantly surprised. However, if Rotorua is on you list of places to go then please, do yourself a favour and leave a lot more time than just a day!
One of the most comprehensive sites on the”To Do List” of Rotorua is if you not lucky enough to have a locals knowledge, this is the next best thing!
How a day trip exploring Rotorua came about?
You may be aware that we have been house siting in New Zealand, I know right!!! For those of you that aren’t aware, we have written all about it over, ummm, ahhh, can’t find it, wait a minute (Rach a bit of help), ahhh found it. Over here.
So, from Wellington to Auckland, then a 5 day trip to Te Puna without the responsibility of pets. Via the Coromandel Peninsula and the Hot water Beach
While we were Te Puna we discovered that some of our friends that live in NZ were actually on a holiday at Mount Maunganui (around the corner from Te Puna) so we caught up with them. It was great to see some familiar faces.
It turns out, that our friends were keen to give us a little tour of their home town Rotorua. So, a day trip exploring Rotorua town was born. We smashed out some work on the Tuesday, jumped into bed early and set to make and early rise to drive to Rotorua town.
What we planned to do but didn’t.
I would love to know what you think, so please let me know in the comments below. So, I planned not to go to the hobbit movie set for the lord of the rings…… Did I make the right choice? Still not sure but based on a little research, I made a decision not to go.
Yes, I love lord of the rings, it would be cool to go, but there is more than one location in NZ where the move was shot. I plan to do some of the sites and walk some of the locations based on this site.
I read some bad reviews. Hate to say it, reviews count.
I wanted to see Rotorua town and wanted to get as much in as I could over the day. Seeing the hobbit movie was out of the way and would take half the day. A choice had to be made, Rotorua town or movie set and a half day in Rotorua.
It was not what I consider to be cheap as all I wanted was a photo in front of a door. I know, I know I am a tight arse, but, sometimes I disagree with popular destinations charging stupid process just because they can. Besides I can just photoshop myself onto a door and albeit a hobbit door.
None of the locals have been there. Seriously, no one that we had talked to said that they had been there. It was always on the “to do list.” In my experience this tells me the locals have better things to do. I had a local offering me to take me around, I went for the local knowledge.
The Drive over to Rotorua Town
Like all New Zealand roads, the drive over was, beautiful, terrifying, stunningly scenic, windy, peaceful, narrow and amazing all in an 1 hour drive (to only get 60kms??) nothing unusual for New Zealand.
A coffee for the drive.
A quick pit stops for a delicious and well-made coffee at a café that had the best specials board reading. “today’s special, get two coffees and pay for them both,” mind you when I asked for the daily special, the lady just stared blankly at me and replied, “what special?”. Disappointed.
In Australia I have heard the expression rolling hills, well Australia has nothing in the way of rolling hills in comparison to the drive to Rotorua town! Man, these hills seemed to go forever. As far as the eye could see in places, just small hills littered with sheep. It was quite nice, and I definitely took a moment to practice my mindfulness and appreciate them.
How’s about the drive in.
Driving into Rotorua town you could tell this was the place of “fun things to do!!” Seriously, check out this website, this is one of the first things I saw WAS THIS. I was like, that’s freaking cool, can we do that, can we do that, like an excited kid.
Followed by the Gondola . As you can see I had the feeling that your going to need more than 14 hours to see Rotorua.
So its not all rainbows and lolly pops and we do have a new town bias of thinking that everything is the best. Rotorua town quickly turned into the not so scenic industrial side of town. Not for long though.
A little longer in the car and we could see the steam. The infamous Rotorua thermals.
Rotorua town Kuirau Park
As we head into the towns CBD along Lake road, its hard to miss the steam, reaching for the sky. This is what Rotorua is known for, geothermal.
The town showcases its geothermal history proudly having created a beautiful garden around it. Kuirau Park is in the middle of town and was a fantastic 15 min walk in circumference. The park was beautiful and had been built to impress, with its garden displays, foot baths and guided walking paths around the mud pools, boiling lakes and geothermic wonders. As just about everyone will tell you, yes it does smell. I found that my senses became numb to the smell quickly.
Once we finished walking through the Kuirau Park we discovered a sign that lead us on a walk down to (1.)Pukeroa Hill
then across the Rotorua town
(2.) lakefront and a skip around to the
(3.) Motutara and through the government gardens. You can find out more about the walks around Rotorua town on the councils website .
Time to cool down
So after our massive walk around Rotorua town it was time to take a short rest. What better place to do it than the local Library. 2 bottles of water to replace our fluids, a laptop to head up some work and a business book to roll my eyes over, we had our quiet time! Nothing like a library, they are just the best when traveling!!!!
Here are some more photos of our walk:
Back on the track and lost
Our tour guide was a little held up so we decided to check out the blue lake. Shouldn’t be to hard to find, pump it into google, pick the first thing that comes up. Start driving. Ummmmm yea, nah!!! We got lost. Ended up about 25km south of Rotorua and a goat track. That’s ok we stumbled along another tourist attraction the Waimangu volcanic valley. We didn’t stop to do this walk as it was a 2 hour walk.
once again if you have a couple of days I am sure this is something to check out.
Still lost at Kerosene Creek
We were off the course and I remember that someone mentioned Kerosine creek, back to ole google and we discovered it was 6km away! Perfect. A short drive and a bumpy old dirt track and we were at Kerosene Creek. This place was cool, given its name I should have figured the place would be thermal. However, I didn’t really know what to expect. Well it was nice, a creek that reminds me of the snowy mountains in a way. Overgrown, running water creek with its own beauty. The water, hot as buggery!! I know it shouldn’t have surprised me but I didn’t know it was thermal! It was cool and I bet it would be awesome in winter, to go for a swim in a beautify warm thermal. I might just have to come back in winter.
Time for our local tour of Rotorua town.
Mounting Bike tracks
Our friend was freed up and we met up. After a little chuckle about our unplanned trip we were back in the car heading towards the Mountain bike tracks at the back of the timber mill. This place and I instantly wanted to get back on a bike, however time was not on our side. Instead we did a small walk along the Ball and Chain track! Man is this place stunning! You could spend days exploring these woods!!! If your into bike riding, check out this site, it seems to have a decent overview of some of the walking and bike tracks
Its going to be hard for me to say anything about this place that does it justice. Check out this site and just have a look The Redwoods are massive and the whole place is just stunning, its times like this I wish I knew a little more about photography so I could capture a shot that would to it justice. Instead I just enjoyed the massive forest! A stunning spot for a walk or ride!!
The Green and Blue lakes, Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi
The lakes were over the hill form the Redwoods and only 10 min out of town. Well worth a trip out to see the lakes. They are massive and sit side by side each other We went on a big walk between the two lakes to have a look at the green lakes. The blue lake is very recreational being used by boaters, swimmers and boarders. The Green Lake, Rotokakahi, is very sacred to the Rotorua Te Arawa people so there is no fishing, boating or swimming. Apparently having massive significance due to its ancestral burial site.
Next stop – Kariri Point
This was a quick stop to have a look over the massive Lake Tarawera at the base of Mount Tarawera. It’s a historical site as years ago the Mountain erupted in 1886. During the eruption the Pink and White Terraces were destroyed. You can read all about it here. It was a stunning outlook, I only wish we could spend some more time exploring these natural marvels!
Dinner and Beer
We had seen a lot of Rotorua town in the last 12 hours and we had worked up a appetite for a feed and a beer. In style we weren’t looking for any old beer. A craft beer or nothing for us! We headed down town to eat street.
Specifically to Brew Craft Beer Pub I believe I had a milk stout, it was sweet and delicious as I have come to love of my Milk stouts! The food was good as we shared a quick share plate.
The whole scene down in eat street was amazing. If eating out is your thing then this is the place to go. However, do decide what you want before you head there. You are so spoil for choice that its hard to make your mind up!
Summary of Rotorua Town
After a huge day and a windy old drive back home it was overall a fantastic day! If you plan to do Rotorua town properly make sure you leave at least 2 or 3 day! It is highly recommended and there is a lot to do!