We had initially planned a couple nights in Rotorua, but when we decided to road trip down both islands, we didn’t have enough nights to spare. We decided to drive super early, hit up the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, and then head to Rotorua for one night.
A couple of things were exceptional:
- The glowworm caves. Wow. I have seen caves before, but none with a “cathedral” so high inside. And the glowworms were really very cool. Stiff entry fees, but totally worth it, and Kiddo loved it.
- The smell of sulfur in Rotorua. Wow.
- The fact that we actually managed to come to a Maori centered place on Waitangi day, the day, we learned awkwardly from our hosts in Auckland, that the treaty was signed between the Maori and the whites. This means it is sort of a celebration, but not really, because it wasn´t really a politically correct happy event for everyone involved. There was a huge festival happening, which we almost went to before we realized the entrance fee was $30/person and we drove there and saw people and kids streaming in. Kiddo does not do well in crowds. She clings to me, and it would not have been very fun for me, or her, or Hubby, who also hates crowds. So despite this serendipitous chance for us to get a peak into “authentic” Maori modern celebrations, we declined.
Otherwise, Rotorua was a fun exercise in being a tourist. Most of the sites in Rotorua are expensive. The soaking sulfur pools, the Maori sites, even the viewpoint for the geyser. The restaurants were expensive. The ice cream was 5 bucks for a single scoop. Ouf. But we ate some great indian food (they had all these accolades on the sign, and they also were the busiest place on the restaurant strip). We played on an awesome play structure looking out onto Lake Rotorua. We saw some bubbling mud for free at the local park. It was not as fantastic as I thought it would be, but Kiddo was enthralled. “See some bubbling mud!” she said for the rest of the day. We stayed at this really cute little holiday park. It is the kind of “camping” that I like. Pluses were: an ensuite toilet (I really don’t like walking outside to pee in the middle of the night. Every night when Kiddo wakes to nurse I have to pee, so…yeah, this is important to me.), wooden walls, wine glasses and a small fridge, and the cool air we let in that helped us sleep like rocks! I woke up early and did some “jumping around” and then some yoga out on our little grassy patch. It was divine. Then we were off to Hawke´s Bay!