After spending two days in the Bay of Islands, Keely and I travelled back down to Rotorua. This took 8 hours. Get up early if you are doing this same route! We only dedicated 2 days here, which was enough for everything we wanted to see. Although, it was somewhat rushed so if you have more time than we had and are looking for a more relaxed holiday, I would dedicate at least three days here.
Rainbow Mountain Trail:
Keely and I cheated and just went on the 10 minute walk to the lookout. But if you have more time in Rotorua, definitely do the 1.5 hour Rainbow Mountain-Crater Lake Walk.
After the Rainbow Mountain-Crater Lake view/walk, drive on for 10 minutes to get to Kerosene Creek. To get to the Kerosene Creek, you have to drive on a dirt road for 10 minutes. From the carpark, it is literally a 1 minute walk before you start to see the creek and about 3 minutes before reaching the main spot. It is hot, smelly water but pretty cool!
If you like ginormous, red trees and have some time to kill this is a nice way to spend 30 minutes – 1 hour at the end of the day. I found it super relaxing, and almost mesmerising just walking through the huge trees.
If you do plan to visit the Hamurana Springs and are short on time, you can skip this as they have their own Redwoods forest.
Rotorua is renowned for its Maori culture, so if this is something you are interested in there are a few villages to choose from. We chose the Mitai Village; this included a pick up/drop off service from your accommodation, a hungie (dinner cooked in the ground Maori style), we watched a dance/ hukka and we learnt about their customs and culture. This went for 3 hours and cost $116.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is one of the most popular attractions in Rotorua. I would say this is a really good way to see a lot of thermal pools in one, walkable area. If you are on limited time, definitely visit this place as you can see a lot of different coloured thermal pools and volcanoes, as opposed to trying to drive around Rotorua locating some more natural ones yourself. This will cost you $32.50.
As I mentioned before Hamurana Springs also has Redwood trees here that you walk through to get to the springs. It is roughly a half hour walk to the springs. Please note that it is next to a golf course, so don’t be deterred, it’s still beautiful!
Accommodation and how we drove around New Zealand:
We stayed at Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park. This was a beautiful caravan park right on Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake). To get here you drive through lush, windy roads filled with beautiful mountainous trees. It was about ten-fifteen minutes away from the town, but it was so peaceful!
We used Wicked Campers, only because we are both 21 and no other campervans would hire to us. Admittedly, we had quite a few troubles with Wicked before arriving in Auckland to pick up our campervan, but when we got it everything was fine and was comfortable enough. I was super embarrassed about our van the whole time though, as I had requested a Fear and Loathing van and got the hideous Major Lazer van! But, that’s life and the joys of travel. On the bright side, we never lost our van or got confused about which one was ours.