August 26, 2016

Real Rotorua

While it’s pretty easy to see a lot of things in Rotorua using tour companies and public transport … without a car, it can be a challenge to visit the non-touristy spots that locals enjoy most.

Luckily, the folks at my hostel suggested I book with Real Rotorua, a newly launched tour company that goes to places the other companies — and public buses — do not.

That’s how I got to see this …


And this!


It’s important to note that I did NOT boost the saturation in these photos. The colors are that vivid.

And this turquoise!


That turquoise color is the light reflecting off the sand in Hamurana Springs. And speaking of … have you ever had a taste of fresh spring water, dipped straight from the source?

I have!


I also had homemade hot chocolate that Guide Stephen’s wife packed for us. And tasty biscuits too.

During my half-day tour, we visited Rotorua’s Blue Lake and Green Lake. We saw Okere Falls, beautiful redwoods, a cave, Lake Rotoiti, and Lake Tarawera.

We also got a scenic look at Mount Tarawera, which looked very different before it erupted on 10 June 1886. You can learn more about the eruption here.


Stephen also showed me how to spot a Silver Fern and explained how the silver side can be used to mark a hiking trail. It’s particularly handy if you’re hiking at night since the silver side reflects the moonlight.


We even squeezed in a few geothermals! These were extra steamy, just like I like ’em.

I’m so glad I booked this tour. The price was very reasonable, and I saw so many things I never would’ve been able to access without a car. Best of all, there was never another tour bus — or tourist — in sight.

Here are the rest of my photos. Many thanks to Stephen and Real Rotorua!


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  1. […] got my first taste (literally!) of New Zealand’s beautiful turquoise-colored water during my visit to Hamurana Springs in […]

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