Go to Rotorua, the 'Sulphur City' for a break! It was amazing that when I was planning our visit by reading all the different reviews about attractions, accomodation ect. that everyone just had to mention the smell. The smell of rotten eggs no less. Yet Rotorua is one of New Zealand's more popular destinations, definitely if you are visiting the North Island. The lines of motel after hotel after B&B on the main road kind of gives it away, and I believe for some reason hubby compared it to Las Vegas. As we drove closer I admitedly prepared myself for the worst....maybe that was how I survived it all....or maybe it was going in Winter when there is a bit of a breeze and the smell is not too invasive....or maybe I just fell into the tourist trap and found myself having a nice time.
The geothermal activity did not fail to impress. Everywhere you look there are pillars of steam rising from the ground all naturally occuring in the parks, by the roadside, in your back garden maybe. At night it is especially fascinting, smoke mixing with stars in the night sky with Lake Rotorua as a beautiful backdrop. We took the opportunity to enjoy this majic by relaxing at the Polynesian Spas with it's lake side setting. It maybe does not have the largest geysers in the world but they still spurt out enough water to leave me impressed and the mud pools were busy bubbling and splurting.
With it's high percentage of Maori population you need a very good excuse not to take time out as well to experience and learn about their culture. Everyone has their own opinion of there worth and how good the cultural performances are, as with everything you have to pay to see, but I just took the opportunity to observe and learn. What is nice is that when they share their traditions with you it is not just for show as they make you a part of it and there is the expectation of you to follow showing a certain degree of respect. Don't be scared though they go easy on you and help you along!
So Rotorua is commercial but it's also interesting and beautiful in it's own little way. That is how I guess it can smell bad but still be good.