Tuesday 20 May 2014

Rotorua, New Zealand: Not that smelly after all

Way before arriving in Rotorua, I've already heard many people complaining about how the place smells.. some say like rotten eggs, some say it's the smelliest place on Earth, some even call the place rotten-rua. Yes indeed there's a different scent in the air but I didn't think it was that bad. It is just sulphur due to the geothermal activity which is what people visit Rotorua for. The smell came in whiffs and after a while you kind of forget about it.

We visited Waimangu Volcanic Valley which is the world's newest geothermal system created by the Mt Tarawera volcanic eruption on 10 June 1886. The whole place was steaming and bubbling.

The rain came and didn't stop for the next two days, so we visited the museum where we learned about Maori culture, the geography of Rotorua and the history behind the museum (it used to be a bathhouse to cure ailments). It helped that the entrance ticket came with a tour, I always find that guides can make museum trips a lot more interesting, especially when I always don't know which exhibit to start with.

We visited a Maori church too. There is a beautiful carving of Jesus on a glass panel inside the church but I wasn't allowed to take photographs. Through the glass panel, you can see the sea so when the sunlight shines from behind the glass, it looks as if Jesus is descending onto Earth over the sea. I can imagine how spectacular it would look but we were not fortunate to see it on a clear day.