23 April 2009


Here's a snippet of a conversation with my five year old son when I was explaining about our upcoming trip to Rotorua,

Me: "Are you looking forward to going to Rotorua for the weekend?"

Sam: "Aww not Rotorua again, that place STINKS ...."

Photo mcaretaker
Rotorua is very much a tourist town. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, certainly one of the most visited in the North Island. It's so touristy here in fact that we kiwis affectionately refer to the town as Rotovegas. It's a little Las Vegas only without the Casinos.

Sam wasn't being rude about the town when he said it stinks... as it literally does stink at times, due to the sulphur gases which are around. It's okay though its pretty harmless and you get used to the smell after a while. Rotorua, home to about 70,000 residents, is built on a geothermal area and dotted throughout the town and surrounding countryside there are hot pools of steaming boiling water seeping up through the earth, together with boiling mud pools and geysers.

As well as the geothermal attractions there's loads of activities to keep everyone entertained and that's part of the reason that so many kiwis also love to visit.

During our stay there last weekend, we stayed at the Heritage Hotel right beside the Whakarewarewa thermal village. The hotel kindly upgraded us to a third (top) floor room which had lovely views of the village and its steaming hot pools and then across to the Whakarewarewa forest. A highlight of the stay at the hotel was the geothermally heated outdoor pool. We certainly spent a good amount lounging in and around pool and the spa also came in very handy after my race.

Rotorua has some interesting colonial style architecture around the town.

This building now houses the Rotorua Museum of Art and History. In its day it was an internationally renowned bath house and spa.

No trip to Rotorua is complete without a trip up the Skyline Gondola. Not only is there the view from the top to marvel at but the luge rides down the hill offer more excitement. This year was the first year that Jack, 7, has been old enough to ride the luge by himself and he had a great time. We had three rides and with each one he gained in confidence and picked up more speed.

Sam on the other hand was with me and for some reason did not want to go fast at all. That most most unusual for Sam as he is usually the adventurous one.

Its doing stuff like the that makes the Xterra festival such a fun weekend. I get to race over challenging and scenic terrain and when the racing has finished, there lots fun things to enjoy with the rest of the family.


Ewen April 24, 2009 at 9:24 PM  

Rotovegas is a good one! It certainly looks like a great place for a holiday. Being a speed freak you'd have to drag me off the luge ;)

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