After wandering through the Maori village of Ohinemutu, I continued to meander along the coast of Lake Rotorua. I saw a huge number of birds, but the black swans were by far the most plentiful. Signs warned against feeding them (even though that illustration clearly isn’t a black swan). THEY MAY ATTACK YOU.
I’d rather not risk a swan attack, but this woman must like to live on the edge.
I think she left in one piece, though.
The trail turned into a boardwalk and I saw fewer and fewer people, despite the gorgeous day.
At the tip of Motutara Point, I came across an island clearly ruled by birds. It reminded me of something out of Dr. Seuss.
As I continued along, I came to Sulphur Bay, where the water is a milky light-blue color because of, you guessed it, sulfur.
There were a lot of geothermal pools marked by warning signs, which were everywhere in Rotorua. People used to swim in them back in the 19th century, but I guess it didn’t end well.
The guy on the sign looks more like Bigfoot, so maybe it just means that Bigfoot shouldn’t swim in the geothermal pools.
The path turned to scrub forest, and I spied a building that looked like a fairytale castle.
Right up my ally, so I had to get closer. Turns out, it’s the Rotorua Museum of Art and History, which is also part of Government Gardens, a formal English-style garden complex.
What a gorgeous place, especially in the late afternoon sunlight. I also like my super duper tall shadow.
On my way back to my hostel, I passed a tree that had been yarn bombed, although it looks more like it was done in an approved capacity, judging form the amount of work involved.
Whew! And that’s just day one. Day two was really just Hobbiton, so on to day three in Rotorua. I decided I had to visit Rotorua’s Redwoods, which were planted, along with many other tree varieties, in the early 1900s. The plan was to see which species would thrive best in New Zealand’s environment, and needless to say these California-born trees did very well.
The whole area was remarkable. I’ve never been to California’s Redwoods, so I’m sure these may not be quite as impressive to people who have seen those behemoths, but the forest was peaceful and wonderful nonetheless.
There was also a beautiful, unearthly-colored stream flowing through the forest, thanks again to geothermal activity.
When I first arrived, it was raining a bit, but luckily the sun soon made an appearance.
As you can see, this spot had much more to offer than Redwoods. When the trail I chose to take reached a high point, I could even see out to Lake Rotorua.
As always, my camera’s self-timer came in handy…
It would be easy to spend days in this forest, taking in all the different types of flora.
Green has a whole new meaning in New Zealand.
Not many people were around on a weekday, and the entire place was incredibly quiet and tranquil. I’d rather come here any day than pay a load of money for some fancy spa.
I really felt dwarfed by the enormity of these trees, which you can see in this picture, with tiny me at the bottom:
Finally, I discovered something very important. I never knew exaclty why the silver fern was called “silver,” until I saw the underside of one. It all makes sense now!
Next up, THE SHIRE.