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rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

Brisbane, Australia
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rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

hi,

I'm planning to visit Rotorua in December with my two kids, 14 and 11. We're hoping to base ourselves near Rotorua for 4 nights. My daughter 11 is very sensitive to smells. I'm aware there's a strong sulphur smell due to geothermal activity, and I suspect that when we visit the actual geothermal attractions I'm going to have to give her a carbon mask to avoid headaches....

I've got a few questions I need advice on:

Accomodation: Is there a particular area I should look for accomodation where the smell won't be strong? Fairy Springs? near the Redwoods? or are there good days and bad days depending on wind? do I need to get even further out of town than that? I'm hoping to get accomodation with basic cooking facilities.

Activities - smell: How strong is the smell at other activities - Luge? Gondola? Tree Top Walk/Redwood Forest? At the geyser and bubbling pools etc. will the fumes hurt our eyes? (sorry for ignorance...)

Activities - white water rafting: I really want to do some rafting. I've heard River Rats do a Grade 3-4 only 45 minutes drive out of Rotorua. Has anyone done this? My daughter who is 11 loves the water and has been in a bumping speed-boat doing donuts and thought that was great, but she can be quite anxious - I'm positive a 5 is beyond her but I'm not sure how she'd go with a 3-4 since I don't know how scary they get. Are people likely to be getting thrown out of the boat in a 3-4? Or feel like they're going to? Any opinions would be great, or info on alternative rafting options (that are preferably within an hour from Rotorua....).

thanks for your help.

Raechel

10 replies to this topic
Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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1. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

The sulphur smells around Rotorua city depend on volcanic activity and the direction of the wind. Prevailing wind is from the SW when the weather is more settled too.

I suggest you look at places just beyond the city centre, where there are holiday parks. Holdens Bay holiday park towards Okere Falls/white water rafting base would be a great location. Handy to attractions yet outside of the main Whakarewarewa thermal parks, and also Kuirau-Ohinemutu where volcanic action is more pronounced.

Another good location would be north of Rotorua, in the outlying suburb of Ngongotaha. Couple of holiday parks in this area, yet handy to Agrodome, Skyline gondola etc.

The area around Fairy Springs has become considerably built up nowadays. A busy commercial-light industrial area with a busy main road into Rotorua.

Regarding the suitability of the white-water grades, I suggest you contact River Rats or one of the Rotorua rafting companies to get their recommendations.

Feilding, New...
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for Rotorua
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2. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

Sometimes those with vivid imaginations can believe the sulphur in Rotorua has caused problems to eyes, lungs, airways, skin or other parts of the body. However many thousands of people live and work in the area without suffering any problems. How does your daughter deal with car emissions, perfume wearing people, the smell of popcorn when she goes to the movies? My guess if your daughter believes the sulphur will cause headaches then she is likely to suffer.

As Frangipani suggests, Ngongotaha, Holden's Bay are good locations for accommodation with less likelihood of smells, or perhaps Hamurana.

Google rafting and contact the various operators for their recommendations. At the luge & gondola, the fumes are unlikely to be a problem- perhaps a little more in the Redwoods depending on the wind direction.

At Kuirau Park, the smell will be noticeable however the fumes are unlikely to hurt eyes but if you are worried, a pair of sunglasses may help.

For further information www.rotoruaNZ.com

Swan Hill, Australia
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3. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

We were told when going to stay at Rotorua for a week that it would be dreadful with the smell. Well I have to say there was no smell as far as I could tell and maybe at the mud pools there could have been a slight sulphur smell when you were right beside them, but not in the air around. We stayed at the Rotorua Lake Resort at Mourea, just out of town and this was a lovely resort and great place to make as our base for travelling in all directions around Rotorua. A favourite spot in New Zealand.

NZ
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755 posts
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4. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

I have never been able to detect a smell over near the luge/Rainbow Springs/Fairy Springs. That would be a good area to stay if you think it's going to be a problem, especially if you are planning on doing activities over in that area. It's not far into central Rotorua if you have a car.

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

thanks this is very helpful.

California
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6. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

We spent some time in Rotorua on our first trip. It wasn't until we returned home and I read it here that Rotorua had a "smell". I do have a recollection when we filled our petrol tank up, near Te Puia, of a sulfer smell. But that's it. I'm always taken aback when I read someone is going to avoid Rotorua because of the "smell". It's not going to be an issue and you may not even notice it anywhere you go.

NZ
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7. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

Chances are wherever you stay you won't notice it inside your hotel room. Some days it's more noticeable than others.

Mackay, Australia
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8. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

I was there about 3 days ago and yup it STINKS! and yes it does depend on the wind. There are some little geizers on the way into town that we stopped at (just in a council park kinda thing) and we were there for no more than 5 mins and both my hubby and i felt physically ill and my mouth was watering by the end. (i do have a sulphur allergy though, and i could feel my chest getting tighter and it was getting harder to breathe around that area-- even tho it was windy and the wind was going the other way.

If you're lucky enough to go to the Rotorua Night Markets BUY THE DUMPLINGS AND DIM SUMS! You'll quickly be able to see that it's good coz literally everyone was eating them. They're super cheap (8 for $10) or $2 a dumpling (which are huge). We got 3 lots coz they were that good. There's no real "crafty" marketeers there, but the food is sooo gooood!

We stayed at the Quest and omg it was AWESOME! They have washers and dryers with free soap in the rooms. The service was impeccable and they give you discount vouchers for the activities in town. Its also very centrally located and walking distance to all the shops and the only "shopping centre". The town itself is VERY easy to navigate and yes, it does stink--BAD! Its like a thousand farts, morso than rotten eggs or rubbish dump like i was expecting. This motel was honestly the only one in all of the north island that hubby and i didn't feel like we needed to wear shoes in the shower for. -- NZ motels are NOT the same standards as Australian. They're more expensive and dodgier in every way. Even the super expensive ones are still overpriced.

1 thing you HAVE to do though is the skyline aka louge. I was expecting it to be really scary and i'm a very anxious scaredy cat type of person when trying new things but it was SO SO MUCH FUN!!! TOTALLY worth it! Just be warned - its expensive and you'll wanna do more turns than you bought. They do have savings on the day though and family passes. And you can buy more go's once up the hill. Do the gondola ride up there too, its worth it. Its slow, relaxing and fun! You feel safe coz you're in an enclosed cabiny type of thing. There's nowhere to fall out lol. On the beginner louge there's places to stop along the way and it goes through some redwoods too which is gorgeous. The intermediate isn't scary either. We ran out of turns to try the advanced though. But i did see there was some jumps and merging lanes on it -- awesome fun. And if its any indication, there were kids as young as 5 and 6 doing it by themselves too while we were there. As well as adults and little little kids (around 2 and 3ish) They're very easy and basic to operate...

There's a zoo typoe of thing next to it on the same driveway but honestly, it looked like a zoo and nothing more so we didn't bother. Plus it was heinously expensive just to look at some animals thru glass! You'd be better off doing the one more out of town near the zorbing and jet boat. But even at that one you're not allowed to pat or feed the animals coz they may bite.

The hedge maze on the way into town and the little farm near the zorbing was also good. There was heaps of fun activities on the side of it and we (2 adults with no kids) played them and had a blast. The maze is quite small but hard!! - There are emergency exits to get back out straight away though.

But in terms of farms/activities where you can see and feed real animals you should go to taupo and go to "lillyput farm". Its on the way to hamilton from taupo but it was fantastic, they have 7 day old piglets there atm and a baby goat we got to hold and feed. She's so sweet! Plus the animals were gentle and not at all scary or biting lol.

To get away from the sulphur smell I think you'd need to stay out near the zorbing/jetboat/farm place, We didn't smell anything out there and it's only about 5 mins out of town.

The redwoods are great but be warned-- 1) there are only literally 6 birds that live in there, nothing else is in there... its a bit sad really lol. (we were there at 9am-10am and only heard/saw 4 birds...i was expecting a lot of wildlife like we see in aussie forests...but nope, NZ has a lot LESS wildlife!)

2) it still smells in there at times. Not once you get into the deeper parts coz the trees and ferns clear the air i imagine, but there are geizers down the street of there (including that big one you can walk around and charges you $50 a person to see). So yeah, it does smell around there too. The sky walky thing is a bit of a rip off for that too. Cool if you want to do it, but at $25 a person just to walk a few metres higher than everyone else and for less distance it wasn't worth it for us.

The sulphur smell WILL get into your clothes. and YES it is in the water there too. Its in the sheets you sleep in too. I got woken up at around 3 am one night in an enclosed room with the aircon going, because it was so stinky wafting up from the sheets. (but again, i have an allergy so i'm more sensitive)

For your girl who likes water, take her to lake Taupo and check out the Huka falls too. that was legit scary! Thre is just SO much water going through there. They have jet boat tours an prawn feeidng around the corner from there too. And once in town there's a lot of stuff to do around the lake itself, i imagine more in summer. We were there in winter and it's a gorgeous lake but nothing to do outside of water sports. We didn't spend much time there at all to be honest.

Sorry this is so long. hope some of it is helpful for you. :) have fun!

Mackay, Australia
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9. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

p.s to get to the redwoods you have to go as if you were leaving town headed towards Taupo. They aren't very well signed.

Brisbane, Australia
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10. Re: rotorua - advice about activities/accomodation and smell...

thanks - lots of info is welcome, it really gives me an idea of what things will be fun/good value

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