Days 54 to 58: Rotorua
Next stop on our amazing Spaceships adventure was Rotorua. After a brilliant few days in Taupo including an amazing trip to Orakei Korako we took the hour long drive from Taupo up to Rotorua. On the way we stopped at some mud pools (which we had also seen on our honeymoon visit back in 2010) to have another look and take some photos. We loved watching the mud bubble up and spit great big bubbles – I captured a few using the action setting on my camera. Good old Draco (our awesome Spaceship) then took us on to Rotorua. We decided to treat ourselves here after a long time in the spaceship – so stayed in an apartment for a few days (Quest Rotorua). It was so lovely to have a base and having stayed in loads of different places in NZ this was certainly one of the best! It was run by such a lovely couple called Colin and Lisa. Also, the really cool thing about our Beta 2 Berth spaceship is that if you do decide to spend the odd night not sleeping in it, then because it is the size of a car it can be parked anywhere! So we easily fitted it into the undercover secure parking at Quest – where a larger camper-van definitely would not have fitted!
One of the main reasons for staying here was so we could try and watch my husband John’s football team (Crystal Palace) play in a really important game – the play off final – where the winner gets promotion to the premier league. It was such an important match and being huge football fans we didn’t want to miss it! Colin from Quest couldn’t have been more helpful and arranged so that we would be able to watch the sports channel in our room 🙂 The game kicked off at 2.00am New Zealand time!! We did manage to get some sleep before and then set our alarm so we would wake up in time. A few hours later and Palace had won 1 v 0 (after extra-time)!! They were in the premier league 🙂 We were also in touch with my parents back in the UK who were holidaying in Cornwall when the game was on. They were listening on the radio and also cheering Palace on – they had their own drama with flattening their car battery whilst sat in the car listening to the game but that is a whole other story! We were delighted Palace had won and it was worth being awake at such crazy hours. We were also really grateful to Colin and Lisa for arranging for us to be able to watch the game.
Back to our time sight-seeing in Rotorua. We spent 5 days there and due to the location of our apartment were able to walk to quite a few places which was great. One of the best things we did was visit Rotorua Museum. We also took a lovely walk through the park to get there where we saw pukeko. We felt the museum entrance price was a little steep at $20 each but we still really enjoyed our time there (especially considering London’s amazing museums back home are free!). We loved the introduction video which was also part-ride and included a section which shook the audience to resemble the Tarawera eruption. It was great and really added to the learning experience! We also loved exploring the underground section which showed the old mud baths people used in the past. And we walked up all the steps to the lookout at the top of the museum which had great views.
We also took a lovely walk along the lakefront, as well as a trip to Kuirau park. This a free park completely open to the public where they have geothermal activity. We enjoyed having a wander and looking at the various steaming bubbling parts.
Places a little further afield that we drove to in our spaceship included the blue and green lakes. We took a nice drive there and parked up on the blue lake waterfront. We also enjoyed a lovely walk around the lake, before driving to a viewpoint between the two lakes. From here you could see both lakes, and apparently their distinctively different colours (although the cloudy weather when we visited made this a little difficult!).
From there we then took a drive to Lake Tarawera and read all about the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera. We took a few photos from a viewpoint and also drove down and parked alongside the lake itself which was beautiful.
The final place we visited in Rotorua was the Redwoods where we saw Californian redwood trees. The park is really well planned out and there are loads of great walks. Each walk is colour-coded and well signposted and they are at varying levels of difficulty. We took a 30 minute walk through the woods to see the redwoods and really loved exploring. They were huge trees and it was lovely and sunny too so made for a lovely afternoon out.
Like Taupo, we loved the time we spent in Rotorua and did a whole variety of different things which were brilliant. We also visited the amazing Hobbiton from Rotorua, but I will post about that separately as it was an incredible day and certainly warrants it! 🙂