One Day Itinerary for Rotorua, New Zealand - Explore the Geothermal Wonderland of Rotorua

One Day Itinerary for Rotorua, New Zealand

Explore the Geothermal Wonderland of Rotorua


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It is time for another entry to the classic photo essay blog post, The Solo Traveler's Journal. This entry, we will explore Mt Eden in Auckland, the extremely active and ridiculously colorful thermal area in Rotorua, and the spectacular forest that is the Redwoods, through a series of photos I took during my 5 week trip in New Zealand.

I have been writing several "New Zealand in a nutshell" posts in the past few weeks and I think it is time to dig deeper and go into detail of what is it that I do each day. Behold the 12th entry to our beloved Solo Traveler's Journal.

A Month In New Zealand On A Budget.

New Zealand Travel Video

The Kiwiland from Pete R. on Vimeo

Starting from Auckland

 Day 1: A Brief Stop in Auckland

After flying across the ocean from Bangkok to Auckland in a whooping 14 hours flight, the first thing that I did was to climb Mt Eden. After all, I was there only a day, so why not make the best out of it.

Since it was already evening and it looked like it was going to rain, I decided to go back and prepared myself for the trip down to Rotorua the next morning

Since it was already evening and it looked like it was going to rain, I decided to go back and prepared myself for the trip down to Rotorua the next morning. I stayed at the Oaklands Lodge and crashed for the night.

Where to Stay in Auckland

Auckland: Oaklands Lodge: 28.00 NZD/night

Getting from Auckland to Rotorua

Not much happened on day 2 as it was my transit day from Auckland to Rotorua exceptbook that the bus ran out of gas and we were left stranded in the middle of nowhere for an hour. I took the NakedBus at around noon and we arrived at almost 7PM instead of 5.

It was during this mishap that I met Melina, a german student in between her gap year, and we started talking as we wondered if we would ever make it to our destinations

It was during this mishap that I met Melina, a german student in between her gap year, and we started talking as we wondered if we would ever make it to our destinations. She was suppose to take another transit bus afterward to Lake Taupo and she feared the worst.

In the end, it worked out fine for both of us and she eventually made it to Lake Taupo. At that time, I thought I would never see her again. Turned out, New Zealand is smaller than it looks!

Where to Stay in Rotorua

I stayed at the Crash Palace Backpacker that night. A very cozy hostel that catered to backpackers with free hot chocolate, movie night, free popcorn, and a hot tub.

Visiting Wai-o-Tapu

Day 3: Wai-o-Tapu

The day before, I booked a tour to Wai-o-Tapu for 67 NZD through the hostel and they picked me up at 9 the next day. Wai-o-Tapu is a stunning geothermal area that people claimed to be the most colorful nature you will ever see.

Our first stop was the Lady Knox Geyser, an artificial catalyzed geyser that exploded every day at 10:15AM

Our first stop was the Lady Knox Geyser, an artificial catalyzed geyser that exploded every day at 10:15AM. I was expecting a big geyser like you would see in Iceland but the geyser was underwhelming. Here's a photo with people for scale. Not that impressive.

But that was not why I was here for, I was here for this, the champagne colored lake in the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area

But that was not why I was here for, I was here for this, the champagne colored lake in the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area.

The color was so vivid, you wouldn't believe your eyes

The color was so vivid, you wouldn't believe your eyes. A shade of green that transitioned to bright orange all created by mother nature.

The landscape was out of this world

The landscape was out of this world.

Yup, this was the actual color of the lake in the Wai-O-Tapu area

Yup, this was the actual color of the lake in the Wai-O-Tapu area. Bright green, like an Alien blood in the movie, Mars Attack.

This was the lake I had been anticipating to see before I was even in Rotorua

This was the lake I had been anticipating to see before I was even in Rotorua. The orange was so ridiculously vivid that I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

While I was on the bus to Wai-O-Tapu, I met Nina and Francesco from Switzerland and we decided to walk around the place together

While I was on the bus to Wai-O-Tapu, I met Nina and Francesco from Switzerland and we decided to walk around the place together.

There are 3 walks (35 mins, 45mins and 75mins) you can take depending on the time you have Naturally, we went for the longest one

There are 3 walks (35 mins, 45mins and 75mins) you can take depending on the time you have Naturally, we went for the longest one.

We stopped for lunch at one of the many picnic chairs spread out around the area (and New Zealand) while thoroughly enjoying the sight and the "unique" smell of a boiling hotspring

We stopped for lunch at one of the many picnic chairs spread out around the area (and New Zealand) while thoroughly enjoying the sight and the "unique" smell of a boiling hotspring.

There were smokes coming out from the ground, a sure sign that this place is still pretty much active

There were smokes coming out from the ground, a sure sign that this place is still pretty much active.

The smell of this place did remind me of the time I spent in an Onsen in Kumamoto, Japan

The smell of this place did remind me of the time I spent in an Onsen in Kumamoto, Japan.

I smelled like a god damn boiled egg all day

I smelled like a god damn boiled egg all day.

As we approached the end of the walk, we decided to check out the natural hot spring nearby

As we approached the end of the walk, we decided to check out the natural hot spring nearby. Francesco decided to jump in whereas me and Nina watched curiously. Apparently, It is safe to soak your body in it but not your face since the bacteria could infect your respiratory system.

Walk Around the Redwoods

Walk Around the Redwoods

With half day left after the tour, I decided to explore the city a bit more and walked to Redwood.s A lot of the people I met at the hostel had been recommending this place and for good reasons.

This was the first lesson I learned in New Zealand

This was the first lesson I learned in New Zealand. Always have a rain jacket in your bag at all time! As I was approaching the entrance to Redwoods, it rained on me and it never stop.

I was not anticipating Redwoods at all since the main reason I stopped at Rotorua was because wanted to see Wai-o-Tapu but I was so blown away by the place that in the end, Redwoods won me over

I was not anticipating Redwoods at all since the main reason I stopped at Rotorua was because wanted to see Wai-o-Tapu but I was so blown away by the place that in the end, Redwoods won me over.

It was the immersive experience from standing in the middle tall trees towering me that makes me love this place so much

It was the immersive experience from standing in the middle tall trees towering me that makes me love this place so much.

It felt like I was walking in the Jurassic Park

It felt like I was walking in the Jurassic Park.

Just a man, among the giants

Just a man, among the giants.

You can not but feel small and insignificant when you look at these spectacular nature that envelop you without even trying

You can not but feel small and insignificant when you look at these spectacular nature that envelop you without even trying.

Even though, it was raining, it was not a problem to walk around and enjoyed the place since the trees were so tall that it protected me from the rain

Even though, it was raining, it was not a problem to walk around and enjoyed the place since the trees were so tall that it protected me from the rain.

It took me about 45 minutes to walk back from the Redwood to the city center and as you guessed it, it rained on me twice on my way back

It took me about 45 minutes to walk back from the Redwood to the city center and as you guessed it, it rained on me twice on my way back. Hard lesson learned.

I was going to go out to a bar with Nina an Francesco that night but I was so tired that I decided to stay in and watched Pulp Fiction at the hostel

I was going to go out to a bar with Nina and Francesco that night but I was so tired that I decided to stay in and watched Pulp Fiction at the hostel. Together with free popcorn and a cup of hot chocolate, it was a much-deserved rest.

It was during this moment that I met Ashley Cox, an exchange student from the states whom I would be traveling with multiple times throughout New Zealand in weeks to come. It was at this moment that my New Zealand plan started to shape up to what it is now.

The next day I said goodbye to Ashley and her friend Elise left Rotorua and headed down to Lake Taupo for my next adventure, the Tongariro Crossing and the ascending of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.

I hope you enjoyed the first New Zealand entry of the Solo Traveler's Journal. There will be at least 8 more posts to come so stay tuned and follow me as I show you every little detail of my trip to New Zealand.

One-Day Hiking Guide to the Tongariro Crossing Trail.

Further Reading for Backpacking in New Zealand

I’ve spent 5 weeks backpacking in New Zealand and I have written a ton more about my journey traveling throughout New Zealand from the North Island to the South Island that you might help in your trip planning.

Here’s a selection of articles about New Zealand:

The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.


Categories: destinations new zealand oceania


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