Rotorua, a town on the North Island of New Zealand, is a very popular destination. It was our last stop and we must say we were thrilled. It’s the hart of geothermal wonders, rich in Maori culture, surrounded with marvelous hiking tracks and an hour away from a home of little creatures known as Hobbits. Here is our plan on how to spend 48 hours in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Start your day in the geothermal park Wai-O-Tapu. Reserve your morning for wandering around steaming volcanic crater lakes and bubbling hot colorful water. Here you’ll find the famous Champagne pool and the largest mud pool in New Zealand. We spend almost 3 hours walking around, there are different loops around the reserve, take the time and do all of the 3 loops, we really enjoyed it.
If you’d like to soak in the mud pools, there are a bunch of them near the park and you can soak in for free. From the Wai-O-Tap park, return back to Rotorua, park your car and relax on the shores of Lake Rotorua where you can also enjoy a picnic. After your lunch wonder around the Maori Village of Ohinemutu, find the Maori meeting house and the Anglican Church.
Your next stop is a 20-minute drive away, the Okere falls. There are a few optional walks you can choose from, where you can see the Tutea’s Cave, the old Okere Falls Power Station and the Okere falls. If you’re up to it you can even go White water rafting.
In the evening book a tour to get to know more about Maori Culture. Tamaki Maori Village offers just that. This is a traditional Maori village, where you’ll get to know Maori rituals, songs and games, learn the Haka and enjoy a traditional Maori feast called Hangi. This is an experience you don’t want to miss. We enjoyed our evening with great company, participating in the rituals, it was truly spectacular. This is an experience you don’t want to miss.
The first stop is Hobbiton! The hometown of Hobbits, it’ll take you a 45 minutes drive to Matamata. This is a tour everyone can enjoy, even if you’re not a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan. We recommend you book in advance, especially in the high season, as the tours can get sold out days or weeks in advance. The guide takes you to the Shire’s Rest, where you can explore the small Hobbit holes. You’ll learn the details from the films and at the end of the tour enjoy a cold beer at The Green Dragon Inn. We were stoked. We ran down the same path than Bilbo Baggins screaming at the top of our lungs: “We are going on an adventure”. We found Frodo’s house, remembering the scene from the films, it was one of the highlights of our trip.
Grab some lunch and head to Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest. Take a walk on some of the finest tracks in New Zealand. Here you’ll find 170 different tree species, amazing paths with great views and beautiful picnic spots. We went on the Quarry lookout track. It’s 4,8 kilometre/3 miles long walk, it took us around an hour and a half. We got to see the forest, got to the lookout point, paid with the views of the Redwood Grove and Lake Rotorua.
After spending all day on your feet, it’s time to relax. Spend your evening in the Polynesian spa. 28 mineral pools and private pools, where you can soak in your tired feet. It’s a great way to end your trip to Rotorua. We soaked in one of the private pools, enjoying a magnificent view of the lake. The water was great for our sore legs.
Though we spent only 3 weeks in New Zealand we managed to pick up some tips on how to save precious time and a few bucks here and there.
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