During our adventures throughout the North Island of New Zealand, we spent a few days in Rotorua. Like all of New Zealand, the scenery was amazing. Rotorua was particularly unique with its sprawling geothermal pools and villages.
We spent the first day at Whakarewarewa Thermal Village where we learned how the Maori people have used the geothermal energy to live off the land for many generations. We were also treated to a show featuring traditional song and dance before exploring the shops and history center. We ate delicious corn-on-the-cob steamed in a geothermal oven in the ground.
We spent time exploring the countryside of Rotorua. We drove up Mt. Ngongotaha and stopped by aMAZEme, which featured an outdoor shrub maze the kids enjoyed solving. We ate at Eat Street, which featured numerous restaurants, and then we walked along the nearby bay and green space. The redwood forest in Rotorua was somewhat small compared to the sprawling redwoods in California that take go on for miles, but it was still gorgeous and well worth seeing. Kuirau Park was a fantastic place to visit, just on the edge of the downtown area. It features some of the best examples of geothermal activity. It was a free to explore, and we practically had the whole park to ourselves.
We stayed in a small cabin at the Top 10 Holiday Park: Blue Lake. There was a local seafood shop down the road where we bought fresh fish and clams for our dinner. When traveling with kids, the holiday parks are definitely the way to go. Whether you’re camping, driving an RV, or just need a bed to sleep, you really get a lot for your money at these convenient parks that include kitchens, playgrounds, and the opportunity to interact with other travelers. We appreciated the friendly staff at the front desk who were always ready with maps and great tips about what to see and do, including tours as well as free hikes, parks, festivals, and other local attractions.
We walked around Blue Lake both during the day and again at night. It was a pleasant scenic walk while the sun was out. At night, we were able to see a glow worm cave just a few meters of the main trail.
I always like to take pictures of interesting road signs when we’re traveling, ones that really stand out as something I wouldn’t see at home. Apparently, Kiwi kids are really something to watch out for.