NZ part 4 – perilous land of Fire, Rotorua

Nicknamed the Sulfur City, Rotorua sits on a geothermally active site providing it with beautiful eruptions of geysers, thermally heated waters for spas and unmistakably a cloud of sulfide (sulfur) emissions akin to the smell of rotten eggs. You can really only fully appreciate the ubiquitous nature of the odor when you have arrived – it smells a lot! I suppose you get used to it…

Capers epicurean
1181 Eruera Street
Rotorua, New Zealand

First up, a quick lunch / brunch at the café of the year in Rotorua 2009. And one of the few places open on the 27th Dec.

Big breakfast (“Capers Continental”) – with bacon, tomato, caramelised mushrooms, toasted bread, potato hash-cake, Italian sausage.

Almond and berry madeline (can’t have been can it? Not the right size or shape…). Right: A rather pricey but quite refreshing organic juice.

Hell’s Gate spa
State highway 30
Tikitere, Rotorua, New Zealand

A short stroll (approx 1hour loop) through one of the most geothermally active areas around Rotorua – Hell’s Gate mud trail – before we unwind in the onsite sulfuric baths and slather ourselves in thermal mud.

Seems to be a recurring evil-fiend theme throughout the Rotorua area… devil? couldron? hell’s gate?

The muddy water bubbles… HOT!!!

And steams of “rotten-eggs”…

A bit of reflective tranquility amongst the hazardous surrounds.

Paying something like $85NZ (walk & spa/mud bath combo) – I might as well join in on the cosmetic / healing benefits of thermal mud. Looks like I came straight out of a war film, lathered in mud for camoflauge… how comical! And the sulfur in the water really permeates into your clothes (so if your planning on going bring some old bathers) and apparently continues to be excreted through the skin over 24-48 hours (i.e. it will give your jewelerry an unsightly stain if you wear it) – so you’re pretty much a walking sulfur-emitting fountain.

Hemo Rd

Rotorua, New Zealand

We took a 2 minute drive out of Rotorua city to Te Puia Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, for an Indigenous Maori evening experience of cultural display, Hangi cuisine, and also spectacular geysers.

Welcoming performance.

Left: Lucky those kids can’t see his face ey? Right: War-ritual dances. Too bad I didn’t take any videos of the hakka.

Hangi food – very smokey and robust preparation of chicken, pork, lamb and roasted vegetables.

Juicy-buttery corn, more ‘smokey’ mussels, and a shot of Tohu wine (forgot which type it was…).

O, and don’t forget the fluffy brioche like bread.

Spectacular Geyser eruption just as we descended into the valley behind TePuia.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley
587 Waimangu Road (off SH5)
Rotorua, New Zealand

A final reel of stunning memories from another geothermal park just out of Rotorua. Luckily we persisted with this hike (and you’ll see why), despite the gloomy, pattering, humid and gusty weather. Though, my poor poor camera…

Caution: DANGER! Please supervise children at all times…

What is this? A dismantled fence? Seems like the perfect temptation for little kids. No wonder they say supervise children at all times… [CORRECTION: this photo was taken at Hell’s Gate, see above – oops].

One word: surreal.

Small geyser of water amongst the vibrant green. Now to ascend the stairs to Inferno Crater.

Swinging between 35 and 75 degrees celsius, this pool of light-blue-tinged sulfuric water is dangerously gorgeous.

Thanks for your patience, hope you enjoyed this epic post!

5 Responses to “NZ part 4 – perilous land of Fire, Rotorua”
  1. Michelle says:

    Is that you in mud? 0_o

  2. Lynne says:

    Great blog and good to see Waimangu Volcanic Valley featured in your photos. But you’ve mixed one of your photos up (easy to do) and the broken fence you’ve attributed to Waimangu is actually at a different attraction, Hell’s Gate. Is there any chance you can move it out of the Waimangu photos? We always spend winter attending to our walking tracks, fences, and this year even a bridge that was swept away by heavy rain – so a broken fence has no chance of staying like that 🙂

  3. Celeste says:

    Looks like so much fun! I didn’t make it over to Rotorua on my last visit to NZ and this just makes me more eager to go back !

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