There is a town in Derbyshire that stinks. Literally, it smells awful. I can’t remember its name; it might be Bolsover but nowhere on the internet says that Bolsover smells and it smells so bad it’d be on the internet by now. My point is that people only notice this place when they happen to drive by on the M1 and they put their foot down on the accelerator and get to the clean air of Mansfield a bit quicker. New Zealand had a better idea, they took their smelliest place and told people to pay to come and smell it, and it worked well.
Of course Rotorua is nothing like that smelly town in Derbyshire because Rotorua is gorgeous. It’s a city, (a small one- smaller than Harrogate) that is situated in the middle of New Zealand’s answer to the Lake District, a region with over 17 lakes, all of them stunning. It’s a big tourist and holiday resort and you can see why. Once you get over the smell you’re left with some amazing geysers, mud pools, natural springs and things that Bolsover or wherever probably doesn’t have to offer.
We’ve been staying in Rotorua for a few days now and it’s been great. The family we are staying with are really friendly and live in an amazing house with great gardens. When you’re in their gardens you forget that you’re right next to a road and within walking distance of a city. It’s a perfect balance really. Across the road is a redwood tree forest and they have given us bicycles to borrow so we can get to the city centre in about 15 minutes, or go the scenic route which involves lots of hot springs and far smells. The work hasn’t been too hard yet, in fact yesterday I took their son Jacob to the local park and played football for two hours and that counted as work.
Jacob’s parents and called Ingrid and Jan and are both lovely. Jan is South African and works in town so we see less of him but they live really busy and fun lives. Evening activities since arriving have included swimming in a lake in the middle of the night whilst it’s raining and attending a life drawing class where it turned out the naked Dutch model loved the French film ‘intouchable’ which is probably my favourite comedy film around.
The variety of places we’ve seen so far has been fantastic and I could see us stopping in Rotorua for a while. The city centre is small but well formed and we’re considering stopping here to find work for the winter rather than going down to the ominously named “windy Wellington” which was the original plan.
I certainly feel quite at home in this city. I even have found myself a football team to play for. Rotorua United are one of the cities football clubs (the other is Ngongotaha but I’m not putting in the effort to spell that) and I emailed them to ask if they had space for a keeper and I made my debut today in a 3-0 win, hooray!
Hopefully all carries on well. We’re living with Ingrid and Jan until next Sunday and they want us back for the school holidays a week after than so we just need to find somewhere to go in between.
Here are some pictures to prove that this is mostly true: