Our morning hike was around the trail by the caves we’d gone into to see the glowworms. The looped Ruakuri Walk took us through the forested gorge with beautifully sculpted cliffs and natural arches.
It was a lovely refreshing walk and it was nice to be able to see where we’d been and what we’d been able to achieve the previous day.
Following on from our hike we headed to Hobbiton for the rest of the afternoon. We were then taken to Rotorua to check in for the Maori Cultural Experience. We were due to spend four nights in town so we actually opted to go to the experience the following evening so we could spend that evening with our friends before they left with the bus the following morning. Our next post will cover our experience at the Maori evening, today we’re just going to concentrate on what we got up to in Rotorua itself.
We had pre-booked our accommodation rather than staying with the Kiwi Bus hostel. We had a double room booked at Blarneys Rock Backpackers and Internet Café. Whilst the hostel was above a pub we didn’t really have any issues with noise, but it’s worth bearing in mind that we stayed at the hostel during the week not the weekend. We found the hostel to be comfortable and really appreciated it’s central location. We also didn’t have any issues with the kitchen being locked overnight.
We did walk a lot around the town, exploring the shops as well as the town’s many parks. Our first stop was the Government Gardens which is a public park next to Lake Rotorua. The gardens house the Tudor-style former bath house that is now the Rotorua Art and History Museum. We opted to not visit the museum, seeking out the trail to Sulphur Point instead.
Sulphur Point is a weird area. The landscape has an almost alien feel with the barren greyish sands interspersed with boiling thermal pools of mud and steaming rocks. As you can imagine it stinks! In fact, the distinctive eggy whiff of the sulphur can be smelt throughout the town.
We followed the trail around the lake enjoying seeing all of the water birds.
Our final port of call was Kuirau Park. The park is full of geothermal lakes and bubbling mud pools as well as purpose built shallow bathing pools of varying temperatures. The pools are fantastic for weary feet, especially if you spend the day following one of the town’s trails.
In addition to enjoying the various parks we were lucky enough to see the Night Market. Unfortunately there weren’t many vegetarian or vegan food options but it was nice to be able to walk around enjoying the atmosphere and music. We did, however, enjoy a delicious vegetarian Indian meal at Rang Mahal with our friends Julian and Marieke.
There are, of course, many other activities available in Rotorua but being on a tight budget we were quite happy just enjoying the various different trails.
If you’d like to see more of the town, be sure to check out our video here.