They say the best things in life are free…whilst I agree with this philosophy in theory – for example, money cannot measure precious time with family, children’s laughter, enjoying wonders of nature – I am also practical enough to know money goes a long way to enable us the luxery in enjoying these priceless things and the opportunity to travel a lot!
BUT I can happily say that the best thing during our 5 day campervan trip around Rotorua, New Zealand, the most magical experience and our utmost favourite activity we did here was free 🙂
We packed in a lot in this trip – a 10k race through Redwood forest, lugeing, OGOing (similar to zorbing), museum, hike, several spa and hotpools fun, Te Puia with bursting geysers and Maori cultural performance and few delicious meals out in city centre. Most of these activities are mentioned in Lonely Planet and other travel books and websites as popular things to do in Rotorua. We had also been to Wai-O-Tapu on a previous trip here. Kerosene Creek is not mentioned in the top ten “Must Do” things (most must do things you have to pay for as well here). It was just recommended by co workers and few mentions on local travel sites. Number #16 on Trip Adviser.
Our time at Kerosene Creek was a very surreal experience. Although there are several well known mineral rich spas and hot pools here – it is one of the reasons the active geothermal region of Rotorua is famous – most of it you have to either pay or stay at their resort to enjoy them. The likes of Waikiti Thermal Pools and Polynesian Spa, one of which we enjoyed (at a cost), were really lovely. I am a sucker for spas but am always burdened with guilt at the amount of energy that’s wasted in keeping the water heated, so it was wonderful being able to enjoy natural hotpools heated by forces of nature everywhere in Rotorua! But even though the famous spas here are fed by natural sources, the overall environment is still ‘builtup’ and very crowded.
Can you imagine the joy we experienced when we walked through native bush, crossed several heated streams and then shaded by forests, under the canopy of tall trees, you had this large stream and waterfalls with 36 degree waters 🙂 The temperature outside was 15! This is our first video post and I didn’t know how to edit and shorten the clip, or do anything else with it.
We had read that it tends to get crowded and that it was best to go in the morning hours to avoid the crowds. Not sure if it was because of the low season – end of May, start of winter – but there were just two other couples in the water and us. We had gone around 11am. When we were leaving there were few other people arriving but nothing like the hoards of people we experienced elsewhere in this tourist region of New Zealand.
It is not easy to get to, there is 2.2 km of driving off road and it is not well signposted. To get detailed directions, see here. It’s very near to Waikite Thermal Valley and about half hour’s drive from Rotorua city centre going south towards Lake Taupo. There are several warnings of vandalism taking place at the car park and you won’t find ammenities like toilets or rubbish bins. But for nature outdoor lovers like us, (and spa lover like me), this was the ultimate place to enjoy both! We met one guy who was just on a long cycle ride, stopped here to refresh his tired legs and was off again cycling. In the car park we saw few hikers getting ready to do the same.
A glimpse of our lovely time here…a truly wonderful free experience 🙂 I would highly recommend this to anyone, few of the reviews had said this is only good for nature loving outdoorsy people, but I beg to differ. I think most people would pay money to have such an experience…and you can have it here for free!