If there’s one thing about Rotorua you won’t forget it’s the smell. The city is built on highly volcanic ground and the smell of sulfur is quite strong throughout the area.
The lingering sulfur is so strong in areas where the ground steams it managed to turn Crystal’s silver jewellery bronze.
Rotorua is much like any other city in New Zealand with the exception of the high volcanic activity.
There are tourist attractions everywhere taking advantage of this natural phenomenon including hot springs to swim in, the geyser and more.
Being too expensive for our tourist budget to visit one of the hot springs (I must say I regret this now) we found a public area with hot pools where the ground steams and the water bubbles.
Walking around the sulfur smell really hits you but it is amazing to see the water go from calm to boiling within a few minutes.
And just for good measure here’s some Youtube clips (don’t worry they’re only a few seconds each):
After the hot springs we headed down to Lake Rotorua just in time to see a whole heap of ducks walking along the footpath.
The lake is quite beautiful especially with the clouds above.
We spent a few more hours in Rotorua, having lunch at the shopping center food court and driving past the Geyser (it blows infrequently so was too time consuming to go inside and wait).
Around 2:30pm we started to drive south on Highway 5. I didn’t realise how far I would drive before we stopped in Wellington.
The road south is very beautiful with volcanic scenery in spots, lots of mountains, farmland and lakes.
Lake Taupo is a huge lake located almost in the middle of the North Island. After coming along through farm land you’re suddenly faced with this beautiful vista before you that is absolutely breathtaking.
A bit further on just as it was starting to get dark I spotted a weird looking mountain to the right. After stopping to take a couple of photos and looking it up on Google Maps I found out it’s an active volcano named Mount Ngauruhoe
The highway south has some fascinating spots. At one point you go from 100km/hour down to 50km/hour while driving through a gorge, then back to 100km/hour again.
Finally we stopped in Palmerston North for dinner which was great. I found a Wendy’s. Just for interests sake these are like an American burger chain that we DONT have in Australia. The burger was awesome.
Following dinner we drove south again through some back roads through Tiakitahuna and Levin. I saw my first New Zealand train which we followed most of the way to Wellington.
After getting back on to highway 1 there wasn’t a lot to see as it was quite late and dark. At one point I saw the glimmer of the moon on the ocean to our right which was awesome but no where to stop and get a photo.
Not long after we arrived in Wellington, found our hotel which I had booked on Wotif and settled in for the night.
Tomorrow we will spend a little time looking around Wellington before getting the Interislander ferry across to the south island.