Ah Rotorua. The adventure city of the North Island of New Zealand. Known by Kiwis at Roto-vegas, it’s definitely a spot worth taking foreign visitors. Which is exactly what I got up to a few weeks ago.
You may have seen my Instagram story, or double tapped to like a couple of pictures, but for less than 24 hours we saw some of the highlights of this sulfur-smelling mud-bubbling city. After spending the morning in Auckland, we jumped in the car and headed down on the 3 hour trip, where we checked in to our motel (highly recommend the Astray Backpackers and Motel – small and basic, but cheap and wonderfully clean, with friendly staff and a welcoming presence), and headed out on an afternoon stroll.
Kuirau Park, Ohinemutu and The Eat Streat
We wandered through Kuirau Park, and out to Ohinemutu, where the sun was setting and we were walking in Golden Hour lighting. Truly beautiful. Down by the waterfront there were lots of tourists snapping photos and feeding the swans, so we hurried on and found somewhere for dinner. The Eat Streat (random spelling, I know, but that’s what the sign said) was pumping with people even at 6pm, and eventually we settled on Nuvo, an Italian place which was delicious. I also discovered that I love whiskey and root beer. Who knew? Not me.
After dinner we headed to the Redwoods Treewalk. Oh my word it was amazing. Just on the edges of Rotorua there’s a forest of Redwood trees, and they’ve built walkways up in them that you follow around, reading information signs about the trees and the project. There are beautiful sculpture things hanging from the trees and lights that go on and off, and some that twinkle like faeries. I thoroughly suggest checking it out if you’re in Rotorua any time. (You can also do a day tree walk, or get a pass to visit in the day and then the night.)
Affinity art installation, Rotorua
We also managed to see an amazing interactive art installation called Affinity. You can read more about it here on Rotorua NZ.
You may have seen on the news (or been a part of if you’re from around here) that the remaining parts of Cyclone Debbie from Australia hit NZ pretty hard, follow by Cyclone Cook the next week. Our trip to Rotorua was in the middle of these two storms, and we had clear, fine weather. It did mean, however, that the usually thick mud pools in Kuirau Park were incredibly watery and not their usual dramatic selves.
To sure my friend of missing-out-on-fun-mud-itis, we went down to Wai-O-Tapu, an area about 30mins drive from Rotorua, where there are some really great (and free!) mud pools. Thankfully these were pretty much still mud and not just liquid, so she got her New Zealand native mud ticked off her list.
Blue and Grean Lakes, Rotorua
A visit to the Blue and Green lakes came next, and we found the lookout where you can stand and see both of the lakes at the same time. So pretty.
And that was pretty much it! It wasn’t a long stay in Rotorua, but it was a good one. We drove to Waitomo Glow Worm Caves so she could experience bugs with lighting bums, and because I had already been through, I read my book in the cafe for a while.
It was a short trip, yes, but it was fun all the same. Check out some more of my pictures from the weekend on my photography page: Anjali Kay Photography.
Been on any weekend getaways recently?