Rotorua, The Orlando of New Zealand, Part III

The reason Rotorua smells so unusual is also the reason it has developed into a tourist mecca. The heat that lurks just beneath the ground creates a ready supply of hot, mineral-rich healing waters and fantastic displays of billowing steam and erupting geysers throughout the city. After spending the morning of our second day in Rotorua with sheep and fish, we headed to Te Puia, home of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. The younger members of our brood endured a 45-minute tour of the grounds and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute because they had been assured of a visit to the Kiwi House at the end. After a quick visit to these mysterious, flight-challenged birds, we made our way back to the geysers, which the rest of our group had abandoned when the rain started falling. Undaunted by a little moisture, we roamed the grounds in solitude, exploring hidden paths and happening upon pools of boiling mud and spurting groundwater. Soon the rain turned to mist and the result was magical.

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Over the next few days, we took the Skyline Skyrides gondola to the top of the mountain and luged down (some of us multiple times), played miniature golf at a course where the 1970’s-era greens resembled sandpaper, looked for the ever elusive kiwi bird at the Kiwi Encounter, feasted at a Maori village, and soaked and swam at the Polynesian Spa. We rounded off our geothermal adventure with a visit to Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. My patience hit its limit on this final Rotorua activity when all four of my children insisted on throwing rocks into every pit, spring, and well of boiling earth and water they encountered. They made an impassioned defense for their actions even when I pointed out the sign that clearly stated it was forbidden. I wasn’t so worried about the potential for explosion or damage to the environment as I was about my little people plummeting into these natural cauldrons under the force of their throws. They desisted only upon threat of torture from their dad and launched an ardent campaign of spitting into the steaming openings instead. Sigh…
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5 thoughts on “Rotorua, The Orlando of New Zealand, Part III

  1. That first photo is AMAZING!!! It reminds me of Lehi’s vision…Hold to the rod kids, hold to the rod!!!
    p.s. I don’t see Kieran. Did he succumb to temptation and lose his way in the mist of darkness?
    Miss you

  2. wow new zealand looks incredible! i hope yall are having a lot of fun and i miss and love you!! btw thx for leaving all the food at ur house, ive been visiting the acrees a lot and eating it :] o and chad and i found ur wine… good thing u labeled it ‘for cooking only’ haha. love you all!

  3. Why couldn’t you guys take me with you?? Ya’ll look like you’re having a blast! I wish I could be with you! Miss you!!

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