The first thing people say to you when you say you are heading to Rotorua is about how much the town smells.  Rotorua, or Roto-vegas as it is commonly dubbed by locals, is known for it’s geothermal activity which amongst other things, results in a sulphuric smell that lingers around the city.  It really does smell like rotten eggs.

I couldn’t tell if it was just that I was getting used to it, or whether certain parts of the town smelt less than others, but the smell seemed to dissipate the longer I spent there.  Tourism is definitely the life-blood of this smelly sulphur town, with the streets littered with motels and hotels; the nick-name Roto-vegas is quite appropriate.  It’s a little bit tacky, it’s a little bit touristy, but it’s a must do stop off on a tour of New Zealand’s north.

Whilst in Rotorua we checked out some bubbling mud pools at Kuirau Park, which was near the city centre and free to have a wander through.  The highlight of the visit was spending a few hours walking through Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Crafts Centre.  Aside from housing a sculpture and weaving school, Te Puia is set on an area of high geothermal activity, including the still active geyser, Pohutu, meaning ‘constant spraying’.  The geyser erupts a couple of times an hour and we were right in front of it when it went off.

Mud Pool at Kuirau Park Me at Kuirau Park Te Puia Simon and Me at Te Puia Te Puia Te Puia Te Puia Te Puia Te Puia Te Puia Simon at Te Puia Pohutu erupting at Te Puia Maori Hut at Te Puia Simon over looking Te Puia Rotorua Lake

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