Driving from Waitomo to Matamata, visiting Hobbiton, driving to Rotorua, and rafting the Kaituna, took up most of our third day. We took it easy in the evening and walked around exploring the city of Rotorua.
From our campsite (we stayed at Rotorua Top 10), we wandered over to the Government Gardens. It’s a public park located next to Lake Rotorua, the Rotorua Museum of Art and History, the Blue Baths swimming pools, the Polynesian Spa, and a variety of other facilities we didn’t get a chance to check out.
Along with the Polynesian Spa, there’s a number of other spas with mineral hot pools, mud baths, and sulphur spas. They’re supposed to have healing and therapeutic properties. I was hoping we’d get to relax at one of these spas but ran out of time. So we just leisurely strolled through the gardens after our long day.
There are bits of geothermal activity scattered throughout Rotorua and a few at the Government Gardens that you can view for free. All this geothermal activity is what makes Rotorua smell like rotten eggs. But after a while you get used to it. And the further away we were from Lake Rotorua, the less smelly it was.
Right behind the Government Gardens and museum (pictured in the cover photo), we walked along the Sulphur Walkway for views of Sulphur Bar. When you’re facing the museum, walk to the right until you hit Hatupatu Drive. Turn left and walk along the drive. It eventually connects to the Sulphur Walkway to your right.
It doesn’t have the prettiest views but it was interesting to see the geothermally active waters. The sulphur makes the water dim, warm, and turbid. And of course, smelly. We spent under half an hour walking along the bay. We didn’t go all the up way to Sulphur Point but I don’t think it was much further.
It was getting late by now and we needed to restock on groceries and make dinner. But first, some new McDonald’s desserts. Passionfruit sundae and Hokey Pokey shake (a New Zealand ice cream flavor consisting of vanilla ice cream and lumps of honeycomb toffee).