I last visited Rotorua many, many years ago, and my enduring memories of it was the stench of sulphur when we first stepped off the plane and the Maori living village amidst the thermal springs.
These memories came flooding back to me as we drove into the edge of the city from Waitomo. But we quickly realized there was more – quite a bit more – to Rotorua.
It’s such a beautiful place, and just teeming with all sorts of adventures to be had. We had signed up for what seemed to be a promising evening of kayaking to a hot springs to soak in, followed by a BBQ dinner, then, as the sun dipped below the horizon, a peddle through the canyons that housed millions of glow worms. Alas, it was shoulder season, and the drizzly weather meant that the tour didn’t have the requisite numbers signed up for a go ahead. Instead, we decided to check out the patch of redwoods just a few minutes’ drive from the city centre.
The redwoods, originally from California, were planted in 1901, and they have since thrived. It was a most enchanting experience to skip on the soft bed of fallen needles between these tall and regal trees. As the clouds gradually cleared, golden shafts of light filtered through from above, lending a magical glow to the atmosphere. We wished we could have spent more time in those woods. As it was, we lingered till last light.