Another thing you can do for free in Rotorua is take a walk around Lake Rotorua. The water at the edge of the lake is a strange colour - a sort of creamy turquoise - from the sulphur. Steam rises from it in places and, as you walk, you will stumble across miniature hot pools.
Plant life at the rim is stunted and burned from the acid, but there are lots of seagulls around and, on the cooler parts of the lake, swans drift serenely along. If you look out across the lake, you’ll see an island in the middle, which, aside from being as beautiful as a painting, is the setting of a really sweet Maori love story.
Essentially, there once was a fair maiden called Hinemoa, who lived on the shores of Lake Rotorua. She was in love with a guy who lived on the island, but her father didn’t want them to marry, so he made it impossible for her to access a canoe. But Hinemoa was clever. She made herself a raft and reached the island, falling into her lover’s arms.