After our stop in Hobbiton, my girlfriend and I continued on to the town of Rotorua. We would be spending the night here, staying with a couple of families from our church.
Rotorua’s main claim to fame is all the geothermal activity going on in and around the city — steam vents, hot pools, and even geysers! As you can see from these photos, the town is full of steam.
Rotorua borders a lake of the same name which is in actuality the caldera of a quite large volcano (though dwarfed by the supervolcano whose caldera forms the massive Lake Taupo). The last significant supervolcano eruption in New Zealand occurred before it was settled by humans, so we have reasonable confidence that the whole place isn’t going to get blown to smithereens, at least not while we’re here for our one-night trip.
(The volcanic history of New Zealand is fascinating reading, and not at all something one should share with one’s significant other if she happens to be visiting. A word to the wise, chaps.)
I happened to get the time wrong that we were meeting one of the families, the one my girlfriend would be staying with. This wound up being fortuitous because it gave us a chance to tour Rotorua a bit.
As we were driving in, I noticed that Rotorua Hospital was situated on quite a large hill, overlooking the city and the lake. I immediately thought “I want to take photos from there”. Although it was bitterly cold that particular evening, she graciously agreed to come up with me while I took some pictures, which are the ones I’m showing you now.
We happened to arrive as the sun was setting, leading to some quite pleasant vistas overlooking this small town.
The steam you see is coming up from any opening possible: hot pools and cracks in the earth, sure, but also manhole covers and storm drains! It’s a bit disconcerting if you’re not used to it!
My very first time in Rotorua, some three years ago now, I ate brunch in this very Lake Road Tavern before starting my drive to Taupo and, ultimately, Wellington!
After night fell, we drove around the town for a bit. I took her on a drive through the gardens, though we didn’t get out of the car because by that point it had become quite chilly!
These bushes spoiled an otherwise magnificent shot, but it was too cold for me to do my usual awkward clambering around to get good framing :). Rotorua does have some pretty cool architecture though.
Some nice views, too!
The sky was getting darker, so it was time to leave the hospital carpark and head back down the hill to the town.
Rotorua has a lovely pedestrian street, colloquially called Eat Street because many fine dining establishments line the pavement on either side. We went to a quite good Indian place there with the family we were meeting up with, then she went home with them and I went to meet the family I’d be staying with. We’re incredibly grateful for the hospitality we were shown here in Rotorua, and although our time in the town is bookended by much more touristy and more exciting activities, the time we were able to spend with these friends remains a highlight of our trip.
I hope you enjoyed this quick look at Rotorua! Next time, not just the final stop on our trip to Rotorua but also the final post from her visit! It’s a fun one, so do make sure to come back for it :) Til then!