Kuirau Park Markets are on every Saturday morning from 6am to 1pm, organised by the good people of the Rotorua Rotary International Club. http://www.rotaryrotorua.org.nz There are a range of offerings from breakfast items from a wide range of ethnicities, to stores selling clothing wear, to fresh fruit and vegetables. While mixing with the locals, you also get to listen to some local musicians playing a few tunes. The foot baths are only a few metres away and so is the playground for the kids to entertain themselves. A good start to the day to fill yourself up at the markets.
The food is really cheap. The Soul Feast stand is my kids' favourite; freshly cooked Rewena Bread (Maori Bead) nice and hot, cut it open with plenty of butter and jam! During the winter time it’s nice to take of your shoes at the hot foot baths and soak your feet while having a fresh cup of coffee.
Ohinemutu is one of our older local Maori Villages nestled on a beautiful setting overlooking the Rotorua Lake. This is the home place of the Ngāti Whakaue tribe where the local people still utilise the thermal resources for heating, cooking and bathing. Visitors are welcome to visit and discover the natural way resources are used in the modern world. This is a spiritual location, with the St Faith's Church sitting proud amongst the Tama-te-kapua Meeting House and the other local thermal facilities. The location is only a 10 minutes’ walk from the town.
There is a small Church donation required for entry to help on the upkeep of the building. Ask where the location of the Maori Arts and Craft shop is; there are some amazing original pieces. This can be incorporated as part of the Sulphur Point, Lake Front, Ohinemutu and Kuirau Park Mountain Bike ride circuit. Keep to the paths at all times.
The Government Gardens are a part of Rotorua City, housing the beautiful Rotorua Museum built in the early 1900s. This is a spectacular location with beautifully maintained gardens, where you can really feel the history and wander through the vast number of gardens and relax. Certainly worth a drive in and a relaxing wander.
The Rotorua Museum is currently closed pending a full seismic assessment. Outside the Walls is a free guided-tour that runs twice a day at 11.00am and 2.00pm, departing from in front of the Museum. Please visit www.rotoruamuseum.co.nz for more information about scheduled exhibitions and events, which have been moved to other locations.
The Tarawera walk is one of the most spectacular tracks in the district. The track starts at the Te Waiora car park, off Tarawera Road, just before the Buried village.
Follow the lakeside trail through Katukutuku Bay and, 5 km in to the trail, stop at Hawaiki Bay to enjoy lake access and a picnic area with toilet facilities and the opportunity to go for a dip during the summer months.
The overall walk is about 15km in total and about 4-6hrs one way depending on fitness levels.
You end up at the Hot Water Beach, which is unique and hot, on the lake edge. You can catch the water taxi back to "The Landing" which is $25.00 one way for Adults. Be prepared as it's an awesome day, but a long one. You can go camping on the beach, but bookings need to be made through the Whakarewarewa Village.
Kerosene Creek is a natural hot stream that flows through nature, leading over a waterfall. This is real Kiwi rustic adventure. No changing rooms, just nature to hide behind while you change into your trunks (togs). If you have been for a local tramp, this is a perfect way to relax the body muscles. This is an approximately a 30-minute drive from Rotorua.
As with most bathing in thermal hot pools, try and keep your head out of the water. The drive down to Kerosene Creek from the main road is about 3 km, but the road has lots of pot holes. Also please don’t travel there and leave valuables in the car, some cars have been broken into. Take a rubbish bag so there is no excuse to leave rubbish behind! It can get busy there during peak periods. Phone reception is limited.
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