Our last few days in Rotorua were cloudy and rainy. We tried to minimize our time outdoors, which is hard to do in New Zealand.
We decided to visit the Agrodome. Even though most of the NZ message boards and “cool” travelers said not to go there because it’s too touristy, the main show was inside, shielding us from the rain.
When we arrived, the rain had let up a bit, so we decided to buy combo tickets for the show and farm tour.
The sheep show was about an hour long and very entertaining. The rancher brought out 19 different breeds of sheep.
The rancher sheared a sheep and brought out some herding dogs. At one point, he asked for some volunteers from the audience, and of course my son volunteered. This is when his 15 minutes of fame started.
He went onto the stage for a demonstration, and at the end he got to feed a lamb with a bottle. I should mention that the barn was filled with several groups of Japanese school girls who started screaming and giggling when my son went on stage. After the show, they were all asking for selfies with him. We didn’t know what to think. He’s 11! The entire group wanted a photo with him at the end, and he obliged.
This giggling, screaming and waving continued during the outdoor farm tour, although thankfully the group was on a different tractor pull. Was it a case of mistaken identity? Who did they think he was? My son said he wants to visit Japan now because he thinks he’ll be treated like a movie star.
On the farm tour, we stopped in various fields to feed sheep, goats and alpacas. We also visited fields with cattle, deer and ostriches.
Even though we were staying on a farm that week, we learned a lot at the Agrodome and we got a lot closer to a larger variety of animals. I highly recommend the Agrodome for first-timers to New Zealand.
Throughout our week in Rotorua, we kept driving by this downhill zorbing place called OGO Rotorua. One of my kids was begging to try it! The rest of us weren’t interested, but we watched.
Zorbing is basically getting into a big inflatable ball and rolling downhill. My son could choose from wet vs. dry, and he could pick the type of course (steep straight course, winding course, etc.) He chose dry and picked two different courses.
He had a blast!
Since my husband is an avid cyclist, he wanted to go mountain biking. Rotorua has a lot of trails and bike rental places. My sons joined him.
Even though there was light rain, they easily passed a few hours on the mountain bike trails.
Te Puia is one of the most visited attractions in Rotorua. It’s a stop on many tour bus routes for day-trippers coming from Auckland. In fact, Leana visited Te Puia on her bus tour from Auckland last year. My daughter and I visited this by ourselves while the boys were mountain biking.The attraction has three main sections: geothermal wonders, kiwi birds and Maori cultural education.
Our main reason for visiting Te Puia was to see kiwi birds. Kiwis are rarely seen in the wild, and I wanted to see one before we left New Zealand. Te Puia has a small exhibit with a few live kiwi birds. We were not allowed to take photos. The birds are larger than you’d think!
We walked the trails to see the geysers and other geothermal wonders.
This geyser would not stop erupting! Oddly enough, we were the only ones there watching the eruption. It was so different compared to my crowded experience at Yellowstone.
We saw a lot of steam and bubbling mud puddles.
Toward the end of our visit, we toured some Maori cultural exhibits. We walked inside the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and saw students learning carving, weaving and other Maori arts.
While we loved seeing the kiwi birds, the geothermal and Maori stuff was a bit of a repeat of places we visited earlier in the week. I enjoyed Wai-o-tapu more, and our Maori education was more thorough at Mitai Maori Village. But, Te Puia offers a taste of Rotorua attractions if you don’t have much time to spend in the area.
3D Trick Art Gallery
On our last afternoon in Rotorua, it was raining hard. We didn’t want to go back to our house rental and watch TV. So, we decided on a whim to visit the 3D Trick Art Gallery.
This place is ideal for Instagrammers. It has over 50 paintings that you can pose in front of with the end result of some hilarious 3D images. We had more fun than we imagined we would! Here are a few of our photos:
My next trip report installment will detail our time on the Coromandel Peninsula, visiting Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.