The goal today is to make the approximately three-hour drive from Rotorua to the park with a short break in Taupo. I head out of Rotorua on Highway 5 then hook up onto Highway 1 at Waikarei. Since road trips are my favorite mode of travel, I'm looking forward to this long drive and seeing more of the North Island.Read More
Geothermal activities are the draw at Rotorua with its geysers, mud pools and steaming lakes that stem from the Rotorua caldera on which the town sits—it's literally a hotbed of activity. What other place has a steaming pond in the middle of town? And so going thermal is where I start.
As soon as I stumble across the website for Waimangu Volcanic Valley while researching local attractions, I have to put it on my list.Read More
My destination today: Waitomo, about 50 miles and 1.5 hours away from Hamilton. In Maori, "wai" means water, and "tomo" means hole or shaft. Records say Maori chief Tane Tinorau and Fred Mace, an English surveyor, extensively explored the underground cave in 1887 atop a raft using only the light of a candle. Their entry point is now where the tours exit Waitomo Glowworm Cave.Read More
Rotorua is actually the second stop on my two-week New Zealand adventure. It's now mid-August, which is their winter, and great for me! Well, not that I'm into winter sports or anything, but the factors that fell in my favor included the lowest airfare I'd ever seen for a roundtrip here—as in half of what it normally is!—lower prices for accommodations (though still average when compared to U.S. accommodations), less crowds at the attractions and just less congestion on the roads than during their high summer season.Read More