Our next stop on our way to Lake Taupo was Rotorua and the nearby Okere Falls. Rotorua is the major city in the Bay of Plenty region and is about 230 km away from Auckland. The area is especially known for its geothermal activity and its hot pools. This also explains why the tourism industry in this spa town is the largest industry of the region. However, during our stop, the town seemed rather empty.
Situated north-east of Lake Rotorua you can find Okere Falls. We only stopped to snap some pictures, as it didn’t seem very spectacular after having seen falls like the Niagara Falls and the Iguazu Falls before.
Nonetheless, the falls look quite nice.
Rotorua Lake is the largest among the 17 lakes in the entire Rotorua region. The lake is used as a start and landing point for float planes, of which we were able to see one, and also hosts Sailing Championships from time to time such as the World Blind Sailing Championship in 2009.
Unfortunately, the lighting was quite bad, so our pictures don’t do justice to the lake.
There is a small botanical garden and a few historic sites in Rotorua City. Among these are the Government Gardens, the Rotorua Museum of Art and History and the Blue Baths.
Moreover, Rotorua is the perfect starting point for lots of activities such as mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and bungee jumping.
It is worth mentioning that we had originally planned to visit two more interesting sights near Rotorua namely being Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Wai-O-Tapu (Champagne Pool). With quite some distance to cover and a few occasional stops to take in the beauty of New Zealand, we just didn’t make it quite in time for these sights, so we will definitely be back to check them out!