Howdy all. November is almost but a memory, but today it’s time to reveal the destination of the month for November, and today we are New Zealand bound, heading to a large town (some may prefer ‘small city’?) on the North Island, and that town is Rotorua.
November may be where everyone in the northern hemisphere feels that ‘winter is coming’, however, not down on our side of the globe! The weather in November can be some of the best of the year in the Southern Hemisphere as summer starts to creep up on us and there are some lovely days ahead!
I visited Rotorua a few years back now, and the weather was warm and sunny just about every day. So I definitely recommend visiting this destination at this time of the year. It’s location is pretty idyllic, with green hills and lakes, and the sunsets can be pretty nice too if it’s the right day. Although New Zealand in general lacks one thing that really helps make a spectacular sunset, and that’s pollution! So, less haze, better air to breathe! How can you go wrong?
Rotorua is a few hours (around 3.5) by road from the biggest city in New Zealand, Auckland, but Air New Zealand do fly there from Auckland and it’s a very spectacular flight, on a very small aeroplane. I SWEAR at one point you can see both sides of New Zealand from the air!
Rotorua stands on the side of a beautiful large Lake, perhaps unsurprisingly named ‘Lake Rotorua’. It has a grid like structure in town, you can uber, taxi or bus to get around but walking isn’t that bad and considering where Rotorua is in the world, it’s actually pretty flat. I stayed in a hostel there but there are number of different more up-market options from hotels to day spas and B&Bs.
It’s a town which will allow you to unwind and relax, but also you can head off for hikes and sight-seeing too and no doubt, being in New Zealand something more adventurous if that’s your bent. Rotorua sits in an area with a lot of geothermal activity about the place, and this is usually the main reason that people come to Rotorua.
The Polynesian Spa is built on the lakes edge and has some seriously hot spas for the visitor’s pleasure. Be aware that the smell of sulphur is pretty much unavoidable in Rotorua. Some come to Rotorua for spa treatments and hot springs. The Polynesian Spa is the main one that people come for and I think I’d be right in saying it’s the biggest. They have all sorts of treatments and massages too. It’s not too far away from the old sanitorium where the hot spring water was used in various ways over the years in this beautiful old building, now a museum. Certainly worth an hour or two of the visitor’s time!
The centre of town has a mall of restaurants and there’s also a Night Market which is big on food. There are mud pools also to be seen in a big park area in town, and a treewalk not too far from outside town. A visitor favourite is a Maori experience, you get taken a little out of town for a show and a meal and it’s really a fun way to spend the evening. They cook the meat underground and it is DELICIOUS!
But if Rotorua itself doesn’t keep you happy, travel out further to the Wai-O-Tapu where the hot springs meet the minerals and the colours are amazing. Walk around on the board walk and see the yellows and blues and other amazing colours, tours from Rotorua by bus are available and it’s really worth the half day or full day depending on your tour. You also stop at a geyser which shoots hot water straight up into the air at random intervals.
Finally, you might want to take ‘Duck Tours’ on the amphibius ‘bus’. I did this one day and you go on a couple of lakes, see a sunset and explore the immediate region. And the famed Hobbiton, where they shot parts of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ films is a great, if slightly more expensive day trip from Rotorua too. It’s mostly about the selfies, I guess, but it has been beautifully persevered and you do get a free beer at the end of it!
So Rotorua. I genuinely would like to hop a plane there right now after writing this! Does it appeal to you? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading – and May the Journey Never End!