Rotarua most characteristic attribute is its smell: a soft, sulfuric scent that hangs over the city and imposes itself as a most unwelcome souvenir upon all visitors. The source of this odor is the city's placement directly above a highly-active geothermal spring, and scattered throughout the town are bleached holes and tall poles that belch the inner smells of the earth up to the surface for all to enjoy. Of course, the city's aroma isn't its only attraction: Rotarua is well known for its boiling hot springs, one of which has been harnessed by the Polynesian Spa, a hip place to soak away the ardors of travel.
The large complex is set on the corner of town directly on the shore. As you walk in past the gift store and coffeeshop (which I didn't taste), you're presented with a series of gates, one of which lead to my selection: the free-form bathing springs (other options are a regular swimming pool, rectangular hot springs, and a family area). Given that I picked the exclusive option (at least, i... [more]