Rotorua Geyser

Located at the cauldron of a dormant volcanic mountain, Rotorua enjoys warmer weather than its neighbors. They had their last snow fifty years ago and that didn’t even last a day. We spent some time roaming around the city before settling in for the night at the best bed and breakfast I have ever stayed in. Every time we passed a certain part of town, despite my repeated explanation of the sulfur smell, Fafa was convinced that someone nearby had farted. So on our last morning there, I took him to the fart smell source, Rotorua geyser Whakarewarewa, one of Rotorua’s geothermal sites, located close to the city center, so that we could enjoy our time without feeling rushed to catch the bus back to Auckland.

The first thing that caught my attention, other than the rotten egg smell, was the boiling mud pools. Apparently, the mud is rich in minerals, which makes it very good for the skin. They even have SPAs in Rotorua that cater for people to soak in it. You can also buy the mudpack to take home and pop it over your face, far from the weird looks from others.

And there was the geyser, Pohutu which means, “big splash” (the biggest one in the southern hemisphere). It is the main geyser of the area, spurts up to twenty times per day, and can reach heights of up to 100 feet, a seriously awesome natural phenomenon to see.

Due to the wind, we got a little wet from the splash, though by the time it got to us it was no longer hot. I got reminded of Vivian, who used to put the sulfur water on her face as a quick beauty fix in Hakone, and nothing to argue here, she has flawless skin.

The tour guide explained about Maori carvings and the geothermal activities on this site. He told us that every year they would offer Maori carving scholarships to four male students to study traditional carving. Once they graduate, they usually go back to their hometown to continue the work and teach their own tribe. Interested to learn about these carvings? One of the requirements is you need to be a Maori descendent, even if only one sixteenth, and also you must be a male. Guess I am stuck with scrapbooking for now!

We didn’t spend much time at the Rotorua geyser site; I mean, how long can you stare at the boiling mud pool, right? If I had more time I would definitely stay more than a night in Rotorua and visit the Wai Ta O Po for the colourful geothermal lake and try the mud bath. This time, I only got myself the mud face mask and have been scaring people off ever since.

Rotorua Airbnb

Located up the hill, City Lights the Rotorua BnB, was a fifteen-minute drive from the city center. It was a rectangular house with a red door. We were greeted by the owner, Naomi, and her adorable dog, Jelly. She showed us around and by the time she left, I had fallen in love with the place.

I have wanted to stay on a farm ever since I played Harvest Moon in high school (it’s sorta like Farmville, only better) and competed against schoolmates. There was a period of time when we reported how many cows, chicken, and sheep we had every morning once we reached the classroom. Retrospectively, it was not the best use of our education money, but hey, at least we were pretending to be the most successful entrepreneur among ourselves, though the only job available was farming. Later, when Farmville became famous, I played it for a while at work, before I got bored and started reading blogs instead while still harboring the desire to stay on a farm. So you can imagine my excitement when we “accidentally” stayed at one.

We booked our accommodation, a backpacker hostel, in the Rotorua city center. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I guess, at the last minute Agoda called to inform us that the place was not available and they would like to help us to book another place. With half an hour left before checking-in, we booked the City Lights Boutique Lodge.

I really liked the living room. It had a tall bookshelf and a fireplace surrounded by big sofas for you to snuggle in. It also had a small study table with a laptop in the corner, but I doubt you would want to think about the outside world when you are here.

The bedroom was marvelous. It was a comfortably sized room with a glass door that overlooked the entire town and glass windows facing a small garden and the farm. The bed was so soft, it reminded me of Westin’s. In the bathroom, they didn’t put the four identical-harsh to your skin-but still worth stealing toiletry bottles we usually find in every hotel. It was all-natural yummy smelling Kiwi made products and all I can say is that it was better than my own skincare range.

We also explored the farm, actually, it’s not really like Farmville since there were only three pet black alpacas (alpacas are like a llama, only cuter) whose wool has been shed and collected for the last four years to be made as blankets, but the neighbors had sheep and cows. So yeah, almost Farmville like.

In the evening, we went to downtown Rotorua for dinner and drinks at this new establishment called the Eat Streat. By the time I got drunk (good wines were cheap in New Zealand) and came back, it was dark and we could see the whole town lit up from our bedroom and thus the name, City Lights.

The next day, Naomi made us breakfast. There were cheese, fruits, homemade muesli, yogurt, bread, the whole spread. It was served with juice and coffee of our choice. Let me tell you, her flat-white was the best cup of coffee I had in New Zealand. It made me stop drinking coffee in Auckland for a while because nothing came close to hers. We spent some time chitchatting about our lives. I didn’t take a picture of the delicious breakfast spread because it felt politically incorrect to Instagram food prepared by someone right in front of them. Unless they are your partner because they must have tolerated your impoliteness from the beginning.

Good companions with tasty breakfast served in front of a breathtaking view. It was a memorable morning.