Today I am leaving Rotorua and although I am excited to head out on the road again - I sure am going to miss this crazy, weird city and the amazing staff at Base Backpackers.
I was absolutely blown away by the abundance of things to do and see in Rotorua when I arrived - and as a result, ended up staying an entire week here - there are so many free activities to do if you are on a budget - Kuirau Park has walking trails across the road from Base where you can check out the bubbling volcanic activity and soak your feet in a free foot spa, Lady Knox Geyser erupts up to 20m each day, Ohinemutu Maori settlement is just down the road, Keroscene Creek is a local's secret and the Muserum, lakeside and parks are beautiful.
If you do pass by Rotorua make sure that you spend at least a few nights here and the local girls at reception will be able to tell you about the free activities. If you are travelling in a Campervan - you can park up at the hostel and use the facilities for cheap!
If you do have your own transport - there are loads of stunning lakes and walking trails that are just a short drive from Base. Blue Lake Track is 9km from Rotorua and not too many backpackers know about this place. There is a 5.5km walking track that takes you from the forest through to the beach - the lake is also a great spot for swimming. Hamurana Springs is just a 15 minute drive from town and is a great little spot to swim in natural water springs. Rainbow Mountain offers 360 degree views of the area and there are loads of great walking and biking tracks.
There are also loads of activities to do: Bungy Jumping, Zorb, Waiotapu geothermal park, Hobbiton, Zorb, soak in the mud pools and sulphur spas at Hells Gate, be moved by a Maori performance and Hungi Feast at Te Puia, Redwoods Forest is one of the best biking spots in New Zealand, White Island is home to New Zealand's only active volcano - just to name a few!
Base Backpackers offers a chilled out and relaxed atmosphere close to the centre of town. The hostel has a great swimming pool and decking area - great place to knock back a few beers in the evening before hitting Lava Bar. On the weekends - Lava Bar gets pretty busy and is favoured amongst locals so make sure you get in early!
At Lava Bar you can also get $6 meals - I had Fish & Chips - yum yum! Breakfast is served at the hostel each day for just $6.
Reception is open 24 hours and the staff were so friendly and gave me so many travel tips - I'll miss you all!