Rotorua City Central offers minimum attraction, probably that’s because its area’s main attraction mostly located outside the city center. You may expect travelling time from city center to attraction or vocational place.
We have 1 day full to explore Rotorua and here’s the places we visited or tour we followed
First: Wai-O-Tapu Tour (http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/)
Rotorua offers unique landscape from its volcanic land and geothermal site. And Wai-O-Tapu is one of geothermal tour that guides you to witness its beautiful Lady Knox Geyser and Champagne Pool. By the way, Waiotapu means “Sacred Water”.
We were picked up at 8 am in our motel by this crazy fun local man, named Natta (or so). The bus was very colorful and eye-catching and the driver/tour guide was even more entertaining. It was 11 people on the bus, and he always introduced each passenger that was picked to those already in the Bus. And he couldn’t stop making jokes all the way through Wai-O-Tapu Site. That was a very fun ride with Natta. We dropped off couple of places (I forget the name of the first place we visited) outside ‘the waiotapu area’, but the second one named Lady Fox Geyser. It was said that the geyser only erupts at 10 am. So we hurriedly go this open area with gladiator-stadium-like, with the opening vent located in the center and benches staged surrounding it.
First, i thought the erruption would go naturally (involving chemical, geological rules that allows it to vent everyday at the same time- i know, right? That’s not possible), but then someone stood there and explain about the structure underneath the opening vent and he would then will induced thow a ‘significant’ amount of surfactant that allows the reaction underneath that will lead to the eruption. Just 2 minutes after he put the surfactant, it truly erupted. Not things you can see everyday – but i was kind of hoping that it would erupt naturally.
Then we went to waiotapu thermal wonderland, and given around 1 hour to explore the place. A map was also given completed with notes and detail about each stoppage. Each special or unique landscape was given a name and specific story or detail. The geothermal landmark was very attractive, you got to see a lot of mud pool, steaming ground, and lots of smoke and mud out there. The smell of hydrogen sulfide was also strong. If you can’t handle it, better you be quick in exploring. If i had to summarize my experience in waiotapu in color, that would be gray-gray-green-orange-grey-grey grey-white. But i have to say, champagne pool and hot and cold pool, is awesome. I’ve never seen such a color for a pool or lake alike.
Second: Agroventure & Zorb
Waiotapu Tour finished at around 12:30, you can ask the driver/guide to drive you back anywhere you want. Amelia and Adrian planned to visit Te Puia, while i went to Agroventure, so we split. Te Puia was kind of another geothermal site with naturally erupted geyser (so i’d been told). But three of us were dropped at Te Puia and i was then picked by pre-arranged transportation to Agroventure.
Agroventure is exactly the place where you can have fun in the most attractive and fun way. It offers a very unique buggies and adrenaline game. From 6 of its main attraction, you have options to choose 2, 3, 4 or all with special price. I was attracted to swhebb, capsule bike with superfast speed so i tried that one only (the other reason is for me its quite pricey to try all of them). You can also request to be fetched with pre-arrangement, and it’s free.
Shwebb is actually designed so 2 people can have a race, but since i only one person for a ride, i just raced with myself. The paddle was quite heavy though, because the line at which the capsule hung, is up and down.I found it hard to keep my speed toward the ascending part of it. Anyway, it was FUN ride.
From Agroventure to Zorb is actually within 5 minutes walk, so i walked to the zorb arena. So, What’s Zorb? Zorb is a FUNtastic games involve a HUGE ball with you inside it, rolled down the hill or you can call it globe riding. It has 2 types of roll: dry one (ZORBIT), and wet one (ZYDRO). I Chose zorbit ride with 39.13 NZD. Things went suprising though – i didn’t read carefully when booked online, so once i got there i figured out that my height didn’t pass their treshold of 160 cm ( i’m 159 cm !) and i was offered to have zydro instead. I didn’t go with it since i didn’t bring any change and i have another place to visit afterwards. So i left zorb mournfully
But that was a quite journey anyway, i got a chance to pass agrodome and watched unique animal and (again) green grass on a vast land with lots of sheeps. Love It!
Third: Hell’s Gate ( www.hellsgate.co.nz )
Hell’s gate is not very differ with Waiotapu and Te Puia, it has geothermal landscapes. Craters, hot water lake, mud volcano, etc. Scenery wise, it does not as colourful and mesmerizing as what waiotapu has, but you got to see its hilly and higher land surrounding the area. Its beautiful. One thing that Hell’s gate specialized is the mud spa, and sulphur bath or spa. It has lots of spa packages.
The Best Line “Adrian, you has lots of laundry, you must be a very dirty boy – Natta”. How i love the line. Not that Adrian is dirty (he’s very clean by the way), but that morning, he decided to have some laundry done –yet it wasn’t done when Natta picked us up and when he figured out later that Adrian was doing some laundry then, Natta couldn’t stop making a joke of it, well done!!
The Most Exhausting Moment Swhebb Riding
The Most Dissapointing Moment Going home without trying Zorb
The Best Scenery so Far Watching Champagne and Hot & Cold Pool
The Best Wildlife Encounter When heading to Zorb from Agroventure, i passed farm with unique animals i haven’t seen before – Romney Sheep and oltrich. It was belongs to Agrodome Park. Would i have another day in Rotorua, Agrodome would be place to visit.
Highlights and Tips
– Pre-arranged pick up
Especially in town like Rotorua where its main attraction quite a distance from city center, pre-arranged pickup is crucial. Not that other transportation isn’t available. But some places have shuttle or pick-up service for free and that’s very benefecial for budgeted traveller.
If you are to travel in groups and would like to carter or individual, rentals are many. The one that i used is Grumpy Fan (http://grumpyslimo.co.nz/ ) that picked me from Zorb to City Central (before heading to Hell’s gate). Grumpy fan was also cartered by Agroventure to pick me up from Te Puia. Later when i could not find any bus from Zorb to city center, i called the Grumpy Fan. (This is one of situation where having local cellphone SIM is essential)
– Games & Adventure Requirement
For those of you who travel with certain health condition or limited condition and fond of adventurous trip, ENSURE you have read terms and condition carefully and whether it may harm you.
The one that i had with ZORB was something i regret. ZORB was then refund my payment – fair arrangement though.
– Thermal Walk
Those of you who cannot stand the smell of sulphure, and dying to see champagne pool and experience geothermal wonderland, be prepared, just take a quick look of some interesting place.
– Cafe and Souvenire store at attraction site
There are many things an attraction site may benefit them, and you:
• Scenery/main attraction
• Photographs (the one that they took before you entering the site)
There are lots of chances for you to grab some souvenire coz almost attraction site has souvenire outlet in it. Start from common accessories that you can encounter in almost ALL souvenire store, to those that unique and as signature of that particular place. You may not find keyring or sculpture that marks: WAI-O-TAPU in auckland souvenire store or maybe in Souvenire store in rotorua city central. But you can find bottle opener kiwi-shaped, kiwi magnet, or classic keyring with NZ fern logos or kiwi in almost all souvenire store.