It's fair to say that Rotorua stinks, and I mean actually stinks. This is because of the many volcanos in the near area which mean lava underneath the ground and therefore lots of hot springs, spurting geysers and big mud pools that periodically bubble and let go a mass of sulphur rich air in one gigantic fart. So amazingly 76,000 people actually live in a city that permanently smells of eggy farts. Unbelievable really.
On the way from Taupo we stopped off at one of these thermal areas and walked around spurting mud pools and thermal pools. Annoyingly you couldn't get into the water but it was still worth going to see even if it did stink.
I have to say that I wouldn't choose to live in Rotorua even if it didn't smell, it's a bit of a nothing town as far as I can see and although it advertises itself as a bit of an adventure town, lots of the adventures seem to be actually in Taupo where we'd just been which is loads better even though it is smaller. The town just seems like it is marking time to me with anyone with any get up and go having already left.
Having said that Rotorua did redeem itself with honours on our second and final day when we followed the advice of the hairy guy who had given us our campervan a million years ago in Christchurch. He had said that if we go to Roturua we have to get to Kerosene Creek which is a free thermal area but difficult to find. Well it wasn't that difficult to find given that the Lonely Planet had it marked on their map but it was well worth the drive to get to it.
Put simply it was a creek with a couple of areas were you could go swimming and having been warmed by the natural thermal area underground it was toastie warm, about the same temperature you would have a bath. Better still was that hardly anyone seemed to be nothered to venture out of the city to find it, there were only six of us there for the hour that we stayed. Yes it stank of sulphur but by then we didn't really notice and it was so relaxing just floating around the creek and standing under the waterfall - oh yes there was a waterfall.
I'd say this was one of the best things we did in New Zealand.