The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

31 March, 2017

Rotorua for the day

Well the sun was shining so we decided to do a day trip to Rotorua. From Tauranga its about 70km with the road passing through picturesque Mangorewa and Mangapouri Gorges. Such a pleasant drive and took just over an hour.

The view of Lake Rotorua from the cafe.

Arriving in Rotorua we were surprised at it's size, it was much bigger than we had imagined and a very tidy town, although a bit 'wiffy' at times! But first up we needed a caffeine fix so found a nice coffee shop, Third Place Cafe, overlooking Lake Rotorua. From here we went down to Lakefront Drive another pleasant park where many families and tourists were enjoying the Lake.

The swans kept chasing me thinking I was going to feed them. 

After going into town and finding the information centre we decided to do the Rotorua Duck Tour. This 1.5 hr tour in a WWII Amphibious Landing Craft (army duck) took us from the city to Lake Okareka where we drove out and floated on the lake. We drove past Tikitapui Lake (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) to Lake Tarawera. The tour normally visits Lake Okareka & Tikitapui Lake only, however we could not visit Tikitapui as there was a canoeing event. The tour was extended to include Lake Tarawere, where again we drove onto and floated around the lake. The tour guide provided a great Maori history lesson on the areas we visited.

Tour guide and Duck mascot
The tour guide was very entertaining and provided a running commentary during the whole trip. We were given duck whistles as part of the safety equipment, to be blown in the event of falling into the water. These were also used to entertain us, or the passing pedestrian, as we travelled out of town. You can imagine a windowless truck with all the passengers blowing duck whistles and waving frantically. Got some waves back and some very amusing looks, also saw a couple of Japanese tourists taking a photo or movie, can you imagine their home movie!

Our first water entry, Lake Okareka, felt quite strange just driving off the road into the lake.

Some of the houses around Lake Okareka, apparently the white house was the first on the lake back in the 1920s. Very expensive to buy in this area.

This is as close as we got to Lake Tikitapui (Blue Lake)

Lake Tarawera

Our tour amphibious vehicle, now you must be wondering about our mouth pieces - they are duck whistles in the shape of a ducks beek provided on tour.

After the tour we walked around the Government Gardens, looking at various sculptures and getting a good dose of the sulphuric odours every now and then!  The gardens were developed in 1881 where the scrub covered geothermal area was transformed into an oasis of Edwardian charm.  The museum was the original bathhouse which was built in 1908, closing in 1966, then extensively renovated in 1995 and converted into the museum. A second bathhouse (the blue baths) was opened in 1933 under much controversy as mixed bathing was accommodated. These baths were closed in 1982 but restored in 1999 and are opened to the public.

Rotorua Museum, unfortunately closed for renovations. 

Waitukei Sculptures - Bronze sculptures in Government Gardens - the two figures, one male, one female, were inspired by the mixing of Maori and European cultures in Rotorua 
Whilst in Rotorua we gathered informaion on cultural experiences and thermal areas to visit, so will be back to see more of what this town has to offer.

No comments: