Sunday, March 08, 2020

New Zealand Roadtrip: Night Market in Rotorua and Evening Mud Spa in Hell's Gate

Rotorua, Bay of Plenty Region
North Island, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018

Rotorua is the heart of the North Island and is famous for its geothermal activity. There are hot springs and hot mud pools here. It is a spa paradise!

Moi covered in healing mud.

We also visited a night market showcasing many food stalls covering cuisine around the world. We were quite lucky to be in Rotorua when this happened as they only do the event once a week.

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After visiting the Whakarewarewa Village, a living Maori village in the middle of a geothermal paradise, we checked the lake where we will be staying for the night. After approving our night accommodation location, we drove to Rotorua city center to explore.

We did not waste time and went straight to the Rotorua Night Market on Tutanekai Street. When I was doing my research about Rotorua, I came across this information and it was very timely because our stop in Rotorua coincides the evening of the town's night market. Aren't we lucky?

We decided to buy our dinner here. We won't be eating them here in the market as we will be going to an evening spa. We'll eat the food later in the evening after we have finished our evening spa and when we have set camp on the lake.

We bought some barbecue for the evening's dinner.

Quite a busy evening during the Night Market.

The Rotorua Night  Market is every Thursday evening from 17:00 to 21:00 weather permitting.

We bought food for our dinner, some meat barbecue on a stick, Asian style noodles and something else that I forgot, perhaps it was rice-based.

We have enjoyed our visit here and were happy to have ordered our dinner in advance which was convenient for us since we will be going to a spa. The fact that we do not have to dress up after the spa to go out to dinner in a restaurant is reassuring. Instead, we can just relax and eat inside our camper van with the windows and doors open on the lake.

Pretty looking mini cakes.

Filipino cuisine represented! Boneless Lechon (open fire grilled deboned whole pig). Well, we didn't order though, not sure why. Maybe we were on a cholesterol diet that evening.

We ordered some empanadas (one empanada for each one of us) for our breakfast the next day. 

Then it was time to go to our evening spa.... at the geothermal park, the Hell's Gate!

Goodness gracious, what a name for a spa, haha. It is said to be the beast, er I mean, the best of all geothermal parks in Rotorua. It has won many awards. We were excited!

We were just in the nick of time as they were accepting the last guests for the evening. We took the package with the mud bath. It wasn't cheap if I can remember but we thought we were only here for the night, so might as well splurge.

The name Hell's Gate is said to have been derived from a comment made by George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright when he visited the place in 1934. He said, "this could be the very gates of hell." The local Maoris decided to give it as its English name for the area.

This is one of the lounge pool areas.

Having our mud bath! SisterJ doing the Pukana, haha.

Okay, here's the second take, a normal picture.

After the mud bath, we moved to the lounge pool to relax and soak in the sulphuric waters. 

By this time we were one of the few last guests. We met some Chinese guys from Hong Kong here who chatted us up in the pool. They were friendly, they were also on a trip around the country.

Mud spa for the foot.

Then we moved to a more cosy and private pool to finish off.

This was an extraordinary and rejuvenating experience for all of us that we will never forget. The healing properties of the mud and steam soothed us very well. We were all glowing, with pinkish cheeks and buff skin. We knew we will have a calm and lovely sleep later that night.

We ended the evening with a final shower and then we jumped back into our camper van and drove to Lake Okareka where we will have dinner and camp for the night.

See you in the morning!

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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