Day 12: Rotorua Museum + Waiotapu Geothermal Park


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua
December 29th 2011
Published: January 17th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Rotorua was a compromise. I was more intrigued by Dunedin’s old European style buildings, those wild penguins on the beach and perhaps a quick visit to Cadbury museum to buy NZ’s original chocolate for my dear husband. But one discussion leads to another, and I’m willing to scrap Dunedin for Rotorua. Some say life is full of compromises. I’d say – you can’t win them all (if you want everybody’s happy; or at least, kinda happy).

And the most efficient way to cramped NZ’s highlights in 2 weeks is to fly between the 2 islands. So we flew to Rotorua from Christchurch. Air NZ check in was sooo cool! From start to finish you can just do it yourself. (note: for Singapore Airlines, although you online check in, you still have to talk to the officer at the end of the process). I was a bit shocked to see the airplane though. It’s been a while since I ride on plane with exposed propeller on the side. The ashtray on the seat makes me wonder whether this plane has flown since smoking was still allowed on flight. Which is… what? 30-40 years ago?... But anyway, the flight itself went on time and smoothly.

And it was also in Rotorua that my luck has finally ran out. No more parade of blue skies and sunshine. It’s just layers of white clouds that were so thick that I wasn’t even sure whether blue sky existed above Rotorua. Hhhh… It’s going to be a long day….

We were just in time for the Bay Bus to the city. I think we’ve paid like 7 NZD? Sorry I forgot. I was “warned” by the forums that the city would be smelly. And yes I can sense it. But it’s not really that overwhelming. The nice surprise for me is I never thought Rotorua is actually… green? Because of the geothermal parks etc, I was under the impression that Rotorua would be like dry, rocky and deserted. But apparently they also surrounded by rolling hills. Which looks a bit unsmooth… Perhaps due to the volcanic activities inside. But it still looks pretty. Blue sky would be a nice compliment though.

After dumping our bags at the hostel, we walked around Pukuatua Street and end up at the iSite Rotorua. Man, this place is jammed packed! Never saw tourism office this full. Perhaps it’s not only us trying to shield ourselves from the rain drizzle? M decided to hang out there and enjoying coffee while I prefer to spend the rainy day visiting Rotorua Museum. I have a Jason’s voucher which gives me 5% discount to the 18 NZD adult ticket price. Gosh, people of NZ are really honest aren’t they? It doesn’t take long for me to realize, actually even without purchasing tickets – you can just roam around the place without anyone stopping you ha ha… Wow, this method might not work in some other places in this world.

The museum I find was quite small. I can walk around it in 1 hour. Unfortunately the observation deck was closed due to the weather. Somehow I think the bath grotto thingy displayed was a bit spooky. I got weird vibe there; maybe it’s just me. Luckily there are other tourists there. I wouldn’t want to be there all alone! Ha ha…

If you are about to ask whether we went to geothermal park – of course we did! But unfortunately due to the flight arrival time; we couldn’t catch any of the early morning shuttles. We can only do the 1.30 pm shuttle. Based on my research, I decided to go to Waiotapu – because it seems to be the most colorful. The shuttle + entry ticket cost 65 NZD, but with my friend’s Top 10 card, we got discount and purchase it at 55 NZD. This was the shuttle that we used: http://www.travelheadfirst.com/geyser-link-shuttle/passes-prices.html Unfortunately the Lady Knox Geyser only perform 10.15 am in the morning (it’s on time because it’s triggered by snubbing some soap to it?) Dunno whether that’s accurate. Please don’t quote me on that ha ha…

And only when it rains you realize how precious those sunny days are. I’m actually fine if I got wet. But my camera can’t take it. And it’s difficult to take pictures and hiding your SLR camera behind a raincoat at the same time ha ha… Regardless of that, Waiotapu was nice. Can’t believe how many spots they have. It’s like 26+ if I’m not mistaken? Sorry I forgot. M said it’s like a zoo, in a way that it only take few steps before seeing a different type of thermal hole, or acid green pool, or whatever. My absolute favorite was of course the Champagne Pool. The dual color is iconic! Every now and then the vapor from the thermal will wipe your whole body because it got carried by the wind. I was wondering whether there’s any side effect to my health. But then again, if it’s only few minutes, I think it should be fine. Well, I had fun there – but did not really blow me off my chart. Separately after that, M was doing the Polynesian Spa but was a bit disappointed as it was different vs the one in the brochures.

The highlight of my day perhaps is the chance to finally talk to my husband over skype from an internet café beside the motel. When traveling across NZ, we keep in touch via text but that’s pretty much it. It’s been a while since I saw his face, and hear his voice… He had to sneak to skype at his office because it was his working hour due to the time difference ha ha… So many things to share… but yet, I’d prefer to hug him rather than talk. He’s glad I’m safe and sound (he watched “I Shouldn’t be Alive” episodes with me – so he was worried on my safety ha ha…). I told myself to hang in there… it’s only several days more….

And apparently another surprise was stored for me. Remember my previous stories about how protein deprived I was? Unexpectedly I found a place that serves something I can eat. Yayyy!! So I'm finally able to taste NZ lamb. That night, I slept with a smile and full stomach. God is taking good care of me.

To view more of my travel pictures – pls go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariyanti_p/sets/72157628705874019/

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