Heading south from Lake Rotorua takes you to the Government Gardens, which occupy a small peninsula. The Māori call this area Whangapiro (fang-ah-pee-ro, "evil-smelling place"), an appropriate name for these gardens, where sulfur pits bubble and fume behind manicured rose beds and bowling lawns. The high point is the extraordinary neo-Tudor Bath House. Built as a spa at the turn of the 20th century, it is now the Rotorua Museum of Art & History. One room on the ground floor is devoted to the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886. On display are a number of artifacts unearthed from the debris and remarkable photographs of the silica terraces of Rotomahana before the eruption. Don't miss the old bathrooms, where some equipment would be right at home in a torture chamber—one soaking tub even administered electric current to the body.
Feb 4, 2010
Interesting museum with a variety of exhibits, yet manageable size. Docent tour interesting, but too long, but you can leave it at any time. Movie is fun.