En route, we visited the glow-worm cave at Waitomo (as described in David Brin's Earth), phosphor-blue dots scattered like stars over the roof of the cave, lunched at Te Kuiti, the self-proclaimed shearing capital of the world (and heroic scale sculpture of a shearer to drive home the point, rather like those Soviet Worker statues).
We could tell when we were close by Rotorua, with the sulphurous smell in the air, a mix of the smells of salt beef and pease pudding boiling together, eggs, and propane. Arriving mid afternoon, after settling in at the randomly chosen motel on the outskirts, we walked around the lake at Ohinemutu (a Te Awara Maori settlement), then around the hot springs at Kawaka Point park. At Ohinemutu, where the road follows the lake shore, I spotted one of the standard !-in-triangle hazard road signs, with the explanatory text "Steam" - when the wind is in the right quarter, the fog over the steaming waters can blanket the road. Dinner was a curry at the Mr. India restaurant not too far from the motel.