Sep 14, 2011

New Zealand - Rotorua

Arriving in Rotorua, a strong sulphur smell (close to rotten eggs smell) invaded the bus we were in. What should have been the suprise of the first Mauri explorer, discovering Lake Rotorua in a volcanic caldeira in the 14th century! And seing smoke chimney raising evenly in the untouched landscape!

Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) Reserve

Kuirau Park in Rotorua city centre

 Thermal activities also express themselves in the urban environment

Located in one of the most active volcanic areas in the world, Rotorua and its surroundings have an abundance of natural attractions. The appearances of geothermal activities are spectacular: smoking fields, mineral terraces, colourful bubbling pools, boiling mud pools, spouting geysers, etc.

Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu Reserve

Lady Knox Geyser

Artist's Palette, Wai-O-Tapu Reserve

Mud Pool

Wai-O-Tapu Reserve

Wai-O-Tapu Reserve

The hydrothermal fields contribute about 5% of New Zealand's total power supply. But it is the tourism industry that mostly instils dynamism into Rotorua's economy. Apart from the natural wonders to admire in various parks and reserves, therapeutic baths and spas are available.

Rotorua area comprises a lake district with a chain of gorgeous lakes famous for trout fishing. An ideal day for us was to rent a car and drive among those wonderful undulating panoramas.

Lake Okaro

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

Waimangu Volcanic Valley


Rotorua is supposed to be New Zealand's Maori culture capital. Some Maori villages became tourist attraction with danse performances and organized dinners around ground cooked meat. Authentic or not, we decided not to pay the expensive entrance fees and try to understand more about Mauri culture by genuine explorations.

Part of the city centre of Rotorua was once a Maori village. In this area, some house are distinctively decorated. Even the local anglican church, St Faith, is sculpted with Maori's symbols.

Two children relaxing at the mouth of a hot river in Lake Rotorua. 
St Faith church in the background

St Faith church

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