Rotorua: Traveling on a budget

Jessica Robyns
November 4, 2017

Rotorua is a popular weekend destination for study abroad students. It’s about a 3 hour drive or 4 hour bus ride south of Auckland. It’s an awesome place, but a lot of the attractions are expensive. I went with some friends, and in order to save a little money, we visited some out of the way places that aren’t as popular with tourists and are totally free to enjoy.

Te Waihou

Also known as the Blue Spring, Te Waihou is a beautiful river surrounded by rolling hills and farmland about 40 minutes from Rotorua. You’ll drive down a windy road with picturesque views, then park in what seems like the middle of nowhere. After a short walk, you’ll come upon crystal-clear water with long and flowing aquatic plants. In some places, the water is bright blue. There are a couple different hiking tracks of varying lengths that will take you along the river, with beautiful scenery and a great opportunity for Instagram photos.

The Redwoods (Whakarewarewa Forest)

This forest is primarily a plantation forest, where trees are harvested from timber. The redwoods aren’t native to New Zealand, but were planted for the purpose of forestry. However, there are a number of beautiful trails, ranging from 2 to 8 hours. The redwoods are interspersed with towering tree ferns. Expect a little bit of uphill hiking, but you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Rotorua at the top.

Kerosine Creek

Kerosine Creek is one of a few natural hot springs around Rotorua that are swimmable. These springs are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It’s a little out of the way and so not very crowded, but it can be hard to find your own private spot in the creek. When you do find a good spot, it’s just as relaxing as a hot tub- but even better, because it’s all natural.

Jessica Robyns

<p style="margin-bottom:12.0pt">Kia ora!&nbsp;My name is Jessica and I'm majoring in biology and environmental studies at Lawrence University, a small school in Appleton, WI. I grew up in Marquette, Michigan and will always call the shore of Lake Superior home. I love to travel and have been to Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina so far.<span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times&quot;,serif"> </span></span></span></p>

Home university:
Lawrence University
Hometown:
Marquette, MI
Major:
Environmental Studies
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