By Angie Grobler

We have been living in Auckland, New Zealand for five years. Recently we decided to visit Rotorua again. It’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from where we live and just a stone’s throw from the town of Taupo with its giant lake and Hobbiton where Lord of the Rings was filmed.

One usually goes to Rotorua for entertainment and short vacations. The Skyline Rotorua, where you can ride ice sledges from the mountain and the restaurant and many other activities for people who are not afraid of jumping off the mountain, is probably Rotorua’s biggest attraction, but we have done that several times. This time we decided to do something different, and it was the most enjoyable long weekend ever!

Of course, on the way to Rotorua the men had to stop at Hampton Downs just outside Auckland first for a quick round in a go-kart.

Rotorua is an attraction in itself. There is the most beautiful, active, natural geyser in town that sprays at 10:00 in the morning. As you drive, you see the steam rising from people’s yards. It almost looks like Craters of the Moon in the neighbouring town of Taupo. The Buried Village is a historic site in Rotorua where the volcano destroyed the most beautiful pools of water which had been used by humans for many years. There are many beautiful streams and waterfalls on the premises, perhaps where the baths were.

Below is a photo of one of the beautiful buildings in the Government Gardens. We also visited the 3D Trick Art Gallery where you can stand within all the life-size photos on the walls. Now that was interesting! There is also an animal farm on the same premises.

I always wanted to take a ride in a little railcar, and what a nice view with cliffs on one side we had enjoyed. We could even see Lake Rotorua in the distance.

Another highlight was the interactive Bibleworld Museum and Discovery Centre. It was built by the owners over almost 20 years and is truly world class.

The Distinction Rotorua Hotel has beautiful décor and offers quality service for a mere song. There are hairdressers, games rooms, hot outdoor pools and a restaurant in the hotel – more than many other hotels have to offer. We enjoyed the Polynesian Spa’s natural hot water ponds while looking out over Lake Rotorua.

This is the kind of holiday you won’t experience anywhere else but in New Zealand. I love Rotorua, even though the place sometimes smells funny because of the natural springs. It’s a scent that says we are unique!

This post is also available in: Afrikaans


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