The tourist center of the region, in Rotorua you can spend a real fortune. For the first time here in New Zealand we are confronted with the many offers of extreme fun activities the country is known for. We can do without, we neither want to try zorbing, nor bungee jumping, nor rafting or kayaking or any other extreme – ing. If at all our – ing manifests itself as an extreme bird watching. Due to its position directly on the Ohau Channel (with own landing place) our current holiday cottage is the ideal place to spot even more birds than we did so far, water birds, some of them quite rare. Time and again we are standing at the large window and scroll through our birds guide.
But in Rotorua you cannot stay totally away from the masses of tourists. We start into the day with visiting the Agrodome und watching one of the popular sheep shows, including a lot of information concerning all the different kinds of sheep, a complete sheep shearing and many jokes of the showmaster.
Though it appears very commercial to us we really enjoy this trip. The Agrodomes gift shops offer an interesting choice of products from sheep farming. If it only wasn’t so expensive! I’d absolutely love the combination of scarf, bonnet and gloves made from a mixture of sheepwool and possum.
Afterwards we dare going on to the actual town of Rotorua. According to a hint in our guide book we take a walk through Kiurai-Park. Though the thermal activities are clearly visible you don’t find many tourist here. Again and again signboards warn not to leave the paths because it is too dangerous. We see bubbling quagmires and steaming pools of sulphur, a constant smell of foul eggs lies in the air. Suddenly we are attacked by a Pukeko as we seem to come too close to his chicks. Seen at close range these birds really have got sharp beaks and claws.
Rotorua center appears vacant to us. A lot of restaurants and always the same kind of shops, at least we succeed in finding an ice café with an awesome choice of really good icecream for lunch.
Afterwards our paths lead to Whakarewarewa, situated on a vast thermal field. Two clans of Maori compete against each other for the favour of the tourists, the „Thermal Village“ and the „Te Puia – New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute“. We would like to view the big geysir but the whole area is blocked and you can only get in by paying a horrendous entrance fee. Again the air is filled with the smell of sulphur. We return to our cottage on the other side of Lake Rotorua.
Our landlord recommends a walk to Okere Falls. As it only takes five minutes by car to get to the start of the track we leave for a pretty evening promenade. Walking up and down the paths takes about 45 Minutes. You can in addition take another smaller path down to the river seeing two caves. Besides it is worth stopping and enjoying the view to the cataracts. Okere River is very popular for kayaking and similar kinds of watersport. It’s a pity we didn’t come earlier, I am sure we would have seen some spectacular rides.