August 27, 2016

LAST CALL: Rotorua

I loved every moment of my time in Rotorua. Five nights there were not enough, and I was sad to leave. Even without a car, I could’ve easily filled another week. There’s so much to see and do.

Rotorua’s also where I had my first extended stay in a hostel. I chose Rock Solid Backpackers based on its high Hostelworld rating — and it was great! My private ensuite room was $56 USD a night, which gave me a much-needed budget breather for Rotorua’s pricey attractions. Here’s what my room looked like …

The town of Rotorua is fairly big, but most stuff for travelers is clustered within a few city blocks near the I-Site (tourist information center). Similar to Auckland, the sidewalks are wide and covered with huge awnings, which is so handy when it rains.

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In addition to a long list of tours and paid attractions, Rotorua also has a handful of free sights that are close to the town center — including geothermals! This was the steamy view the morning I visited …

On another morning walk, I came across this “tree” made of bicycles …

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Rotorua also has a Night Market every Thursday as well as the “Eat Streat” (their spelling) lined with restaurants and cafes. That’s where I tried my first “hokey pokey” ice cream — a new Zealand favorite! It’s vanilla ice cream with bits of honeycomb toffee.

There’s also a long and wonderful waterfront path that begins just a few blocks from the I-Site. I went for a stroll my last morning in Rotorua …

… and I had to stop every few yards to take photos. If Auckland is The City of Sails, then Rotorua could be The City of Swans. There are Black Swans everywhere. So beautiful!

One Rotorua thing that would’ve been fun to do: a mud bath. There were plenty of places offering spa services, but I have to pick and choose where to spend my travel dollar. Sooooo … I picked a cheaper option. At least this way, I can take a little Rotarua (mud) with me wherever I go.

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But I do hope I can return someday. For more mud, more geothermals, more Māori culture, more redwoods … and maybe even a bit of zorbing. 🙂

Bye bye, Rotorua. ‘Til next time!

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