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Oct 30

Geothermal in Rotorua

We set off early in the morning and drive via Cambridge to Rotorua. The city is situated on the North Island Volcanic Plateau and the heart of the thermal belt of the North Island is known for its high geothermal activity. It's quite busy in the visitor centre, there's a lot of things to do and to see in Rotorua. We don't book any adventures from the wide range (from riverjet trip to sightseeing flight) but prefer to stroll through the town and go shopping. Afterwards, we go for a walk at the shore of the 80 km² large and beautiful Lake Rotorua where the helicopters take off, and in Kuirau Park where it's steaming and bubbling everywhere. There's an intensive smell of sulphur in the park, concentrated at the active spots. They have built fences around every steaming earth crevice and every little mud hole. Nevertheless, the park gives an impression of how thin the earth's crust is here – right in the centre of the city! When it starts raining, we have lamb kebab in an Indonesian snack bar. This goes quite well with garlic-mint sauce and is so delicious that we will miss it at home.

Rotorua – Lake Rotorua Lake Rotorua · more Rotorua pictures more pictures

We spend the night at Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park. The campsite is large, green and enjoyable quiet. I guess it's not like this during peak season. At the end of the lawn there's a little walk along some mudpools. If you don't mind the smell and watch for a while it looks quite interesting when the mud bubbles burst. I didn't take any photos, I think there are already enough mudbubble-galleries on the web ;-)

Like at many campgrounds in thermal areas, you can enjoy mineral hot pools free of charge. The 3 hot pools are basic stone pools with benches, it's uncrowded and we have one pool just for us. The water is really, really hot and makes little pearls on your skin. The evening sun shines across the wall. Oh how relaxing. Sauna a la kiwiana. The swimming pool is next door.

In the kitchen we prepare fish and avocado salad, meet a couple from the Netherlands, and while eating we watch TV in the common room.

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