Go There & Back Dave & LeeAnne Travel the World in 2007

That Smell: Rotorua

Anyone Smell Eggs?
Anyone Smell Eggs?

Rotorua stinks, literally (some may say figuratively too, but that’s another entry all together) it’s the center of a lot of geothermal activity here on the North Island. There are geysers and steam and the smell of rotten eggs all over up here. You really can’t get away from it once you’r here – the sulfury rotten egg smell that is. I’m reminded of that line from “The Matrix” when Agent Smith is explaining to Morpheus why he’s such a grouch: he says “It’s the smell! I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.” Did I mention Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) grew up in New Zealand? It’s all coming together isn’t it?

And I swear this place is ready to pop any minute. There are steam vents all over town, releasing the pressure from under parking lots and peoples back yards. There was an explosion in a park in town during the ’90’s that sent debris 200 meters in the air for gosh sakes.

So why on earth did we spend two days here? Well, in addition to being the center of geothermal activity, Rotorua is just the center of a lot of activity in general. It kind of bills itself as kind of a Queenstown North. If you want to do a bunch of bungy jumping and skydiving and other “Adventure” type stuff, but don’t want to go to the South Island – you go to Rotorua.

What brought LeeAnne and I here is the same thing that brings Japanese tourists in by the bus loads – hot spring spas. We went to the Polynesian Spa in town – there are several to choose from in the area. They had pools ranging from around 95 degrees to about 102. It’s situated right on the lake and the view is wonderful – the sulfur smell is terrible – in fact we probably smelled terrible after we left, but when in Rome huh?