The Rotorua Road Trip


Oh another road trip post? Yep, another road trip. This time it was down to Rotorua and on my own. My first proper, big ol’ trip alone and well, I had a pretty epic time. At first obviously I was slightly nervous, going it alone and everything. But soon when you get over that fear and get over the idea that actually, nobody really cares if you’re alone, then you’re in for a good old time.

Since deciding to come to New Zealand. Rotorua was on the top of my bucket list. I remember going there as a kid, so I wanted to return and see if I remember anything. Spoiler: I remembered only one thing. Again, the trip began at the crack of dawn ready for the 3.5 hour drive. The playlist had been created, the snacks had been stocked up and so the trip began…


// Te Puia \\

First stop was Te Puia: Geothermal Valley. Home to the world famous Pohutu Geyser (Poor-hoo-too). The largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere. This was the only place I recognised on the trip and actually, it was a specific red Maori house in particular.

For $50 (book online – it’s cheaper) I spent a good 3-4 hours just casually strolling this epic valley. The geysers really do take your breath away. If not for the sheer size of them, then for the hideous smell of sulpha. If you ever speak to anyone about Rotorua, they’ll 100% mention the smell. The whole place is built on thermal ground, so the smell comes from the sulpha below. It’s pretty rank but you really can’t let that put you off.

Definitely worth a visit and I can’t wait to take the family back there when they all come over!


// Lake Tikitapu \\

Neighbour to one of the biggest lakes in New Zealand, Lake Tikitapu is the smaller but better sibling. Just a 10 minute drive out from the centre of Rotorua, this tree lined lake is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle. I was lucky enough to be staying right by the lake, so for me, this was my neighbour.

I spent a lot of time down here. Chilling out, taking pictures and just enjoying the scenery. This is a typical example of the beauty of New Zealand. Landscapes that never bore you. Views that you could stare at for hours and atmospheres like no other. I absolutely loved this little lake and the whole area around it.


// Kuirau Park \\

This is definitely one of the hidden gems of Rotorua. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s blog post where I’ll be talking you through the free things to do in Rotorua as this baby will be featured. I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across this park. Kuirau Park is situated right in the centre of Rotorua and is home to free Thermal Hot Pools.

I first drove into the park, thought “nahhh”, then drove straight back out. It wasn’t until the next day when I did a little more research, that I realised this park probably had more to offer than I gave it credit for. So I head back, tail between my legs and began exploring. My god was I surprised. A mass of FREE HOT POOLS, in the middle of the city. I couldn’t believe how hidden they were and actually, I think I captured some of my favourite images in this park. Definitely worth a visit!


// Redwood Forest \\

Probably one of my favourite finds in Rotorua, The Redwood Forest. A stretch of forest that spans for miles and miles. Full of New Zealand Redwood trees, the forest is the perfect day out. And honestly, you could spend the entire day here. You’ve got your pick of going on the 600 metre long Tree Walk or sticking with your feet firmly on the ground and wandering one of the many tracks through the woods.

I however, opted to pay the $29 and head up the Tree Walk. Luckily I pretty much had the whole thing to myself and thank god I did. The moment you step foot on one of the bridges, the entire thing is wobbling. Even the platforms around the trees aren’t all that sturdy. Not one for the faint hearted.

Again, pleasantly surprised by the forest, I spent a good hour strolling the Tree Walk, taking pictures and soaking up the environment. I was so lucky on this trip, the weather really did pull through, it was boiling hot the whole time. Amen for air con!


// Lake Rotorua \\

Last but by no means least, Lake Rotorua. The largest lake in the district, Lake Rotorua stands proud in the middle of the city. With world famous Mokoia Island sat pretty in the middle, Lake Rotorua is a firm favourite for the locals. One of the Maori’s best know legends, Mokoia Island now lays dormant as a sanctuary for endangered wildlife and birds.

This is another place I spent a lot of time and actually, the first place I went to upon arrival to Rotorua. What I loved about this place is you can drive your car around the surrounding park, pull into little spots and coves and enjoy the views. Take a drive all the way round and you’re soon welcomed by more thermal pools, milky white waters and even more wildlife. For sure, another place to add to the list when the family come over.


A busy but very good few days in Rotorua. I was so glad I got out there, pushed through my comfort zone and fully embraced Rotorua. For such a small place, there sure is a lot to do! Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post, as I mentioned I’ll be bringing you all the FREE things to do in Rotorua!

| By Harrison |


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