Wai-O-Tapu, let me tell you, is worth all of the way it took to come to New Zealand. Entrance is 32 dollars, but it is definitely worth it. I have never seen such an interesting geothermal activity anywhere in the world. I had seen the picture of what now I know it is called “Champagne Pool” in Wai-O-Tapu, and that was the main reason why I decided to drive down to Rotorua together with Ruby. We actually were able to find the place only at the very end of our short road trip! So this is their website: www.waiotapu.co.nz.
First, we went to Rotorua, a town by the homonymous lake. We went straight to the park that was mentioned in the Lonely Planet as interesting because of the hot ponds, but to be honest, it was not really. I was a bit disappointed about Rotorua, which was really nothing special. Just a small little town with few very not interesting shops. There are also several Maori villages in the surrounding, but I decided not to visit them. The idea of visiting places that are marketed for tourists it is kind of disturbing for me, although I would have loved to sustain their local economy. I simply don’t feel at ease feeling like a tourist. I consider myself a little bit more like a traveller. Also, I would not like the same thing happening to my hometown, and having visitors attracted by a sign on the street saying Typical Tuscan village with locals. I know it is not the same thing, but the reason why it is so different it is actually colonization, which keeps on being a sad topic for me to talk about (and also I feel I lose the ability to talk about it without getting angry quite easily).
After an hour in Rotorua, we decided to head south and just follow the road to see if we could find some free hot water spots. You literally could see steam between bushes everywhere so we thought we would eventually find some. And here we go! We ended up to Kerosene Creek, which I honestly think it is called this way because it does contain some kerosene (and I really hope it won’t be too bad for my health if I bathed 3 times in 12 hours in it). The smell was so strong that it lasted two days on my skin after we got home, even after showers and scented moisturizer. Anyhow, we got there by 6 pm, had a swim in the area where a small waterfall was, sat down for some time, until it got dark, so that we could go for a night swim as well. And the stars! Oh my god, I have been longing for that kind of star for all my trip. It was magical, not describable in words. It was like being in the universe (in a sense, we are in the universe all the time as a matter of fact). And as we were drying up laying on the grass, we just decided to try to sleep there, where we were, with the few blankets we had with us. Mind, camping is forbidden. But we had no tents, so technically we were not camping. And it was magical, but it was definitely the less comfortable I slept since I left home 4 months ago.