Monday, January 25, 2016

Escapade in Rotorua

Rotorua District is at the heart of the North Island, NZ. It is famous because it is lying on the large Rotorua Caldera producing lots of geothermal activities in the area, engaging the most number of tourists in New Zealand. Wikipedia says it is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists.

We spent a weekend here, the first day was spent roaming around downtown and the afternoon in Wai-o-tapu, the Thermal Park. Then early on the 2nd day we venture on the road to Wai-tomo for the famous Glow Worm Caves. The weather was good and we maximized our stay to the fullest.

the lobby of the I-Site or visitor center in Rotorua

The I-Site (information center) in Rotorua is a lovely Maori-inspired design, 
with lots of materials and helpful staff. We arrived early, so we ate our packed food at the park behind the building. 
 On we went to roam around town, as advised by readings we went to the Government Gardens. This is the gate full of Maori arts and designs. It took about 10 min walk from the I-Site, and a good 10 min more to the Museum of Arts and History.

 Being a garden park, we see lots of young and old trees, plus of course flowering plants.The above tree is very attractive because it is massive, and the bark is beautifully showing longitudinal colors. I never learned the name of the tree though. Mick at the comment section guessed it might be Podocarpus totara, however i searched and it might as well be a California redwood. I hope someone will provide the ID for this tree, it gets to be impinging in my ears.

 enhanced close-up of the tree's bark

These old buildings are late 19th century built and still useful for the government functions in the park. One is a well serviced cafe,  loans are well maintained and flowers abound.

 Rotorua Museum of Art and History

A ticket is necessary to enter the museum. We intended to get in, but we arrived its perimeter when it is about to close. We failed to see the inside, but we marvel in the beauty of the structural design. 

When almost everyone has already left the premises, it suddenly rained that stopped us from roaming around. We sat on the covered porch and watched the birds. There were few families also caught by the rain and a child fed and played with the birds. We left after a few good 30 min waiting for the rain to stop.

 flowers in an area in the park

 I am so fascinated with the lovely colors of the leaves of this Phormium. 
no such thing like this at home

colorful displays of flowers on the paths in the garden

 a mini pond is also lovely

On the way out at the other side of the gardens, we saw this remnant of the Old Baths, used long ago as spa. The waters are siphoned to the inside for better water temperature controls. Now it is left as as, as a vent probably of the heating magma below their soil. This volcanic spring preempts what we will be seeing this afternoon at the formal Thermal Park. 

We went home already dark, cooked our own food at the kitchen of the Backpack Hostel and slept the night like children. Oh we were so happy!

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