Rotorua is famous in New Zealand for its strong sulphur smell across the city. As you drive closer to the city centre it certainly doesn’t disappoint, the smell of rotting eggs becoming stronger, although strangely you get used to it quite quickly.
We started our day off by taking a trip to the twin streams, found using out wiki camps app, one stream being piping hot water, the other being cold. Lots of people were taking a dip and enjoying the unusual feeling of bathing in a warm river. We decided not to go in, with warning signs about keeping your head above water to stop any meningitis bugs entering in through your ear and nasal passages everywhere we didn’t fancy it.
30 seconds down the road from the streams is a paid for spa park charging $38pp, so it goes to show what a little bit of research and other people sharing their tips can save you.
Our next visit was to the mud pools. They were a fantastic sight with the mud bubbling, hissing and spraying up in front of you. The picture below may give you some insight into how the mud pools are created and why they behave the way they do. The smell of the bubbling mud became overwhelming at times, the stench came in waves as the mud erupted and we soon made a dash for the car to get some clean air!
We made a stop at Kaingaro Forest to take a short trek to Rainbow Mountain. It took around 20 minutes to reach the viewing point, including the stop we had to make after John sliced his toe on a sharp rock! Flip flops definitely aren’t appropriate footwear for uneven terrain but we made it there nonetheless. At the base of the mountain is a bright blue lake, unsuitable for swimming but a spectacular sight. The geothermal area is bursting with unique and rare plants which make it a high conservation area.
Our final free sight of the day was our visit to the geyser viewpoint. Basically a car park surrounded by a large fence, it has a few broken panels which show the steaming geyser in all its glory, albeit from further away than those paying to visit the attraction. At $20pp we decided it wasn’t worth spending the money if we could still see it, just from slightly further away. We weren’t the only ones honing in on the viewpoint, with a large family of 6 also opting for a freebie view to save the cash for something else.
Our campsite for the evening was a sports ground equipped with electricity (for those who had proper campers) and super clean toilets! There was no set fee however $5 donations were welcome, we were more than happy to pay as all donation helped to keep facilities at the sports ground running.