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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)


In the planning of Summer travel itineraries, few places in New Zealand offer a greater variety of attractions to the holiday-maker than Rotorua, which may now be reached from Auckland in a few hours, and in the greatest comfort, by the Auckland-Rotorua “Limited” express train. In the following article is given a brief description of some of the noted places of interest in the environs of the Geyserland town.

Ibelieve that had Lewis Carroll been fortunate enough to visit Rotorua he would have given his famous book on the adventures of Alice a different title, if merely to avoid confusion. For not only near Rotorua itself, but within a radius of several miles spread round about it, you have a succession of wonders that would have left even Alice breathless with astonishment. What is more, imagine her great delight when, on pinching herself vigorously, she would have actually found they were real. So that, with the single exception that you approach this wonderland by train instead of through a rabbit hole, I can confidently ask you to anticipate adventures just as enthralling and fascinating as those of that celebrated young lady.

Fittingly enough, the place of our first quest is named Fairy Springs. Three miles across flat country from Rotorua, you suddenly turn off the main road towards an unpretentious looking piece of bush on the hillside. The guide meets you at the gate, extracts a shilling per head from you, and conducts you downward through fragrant and overhanging evergreens to a rustic bridge. And there, over the rails, lies a deep, clear pool, which probably has no fellow in any other part of the world. The bed of the pool consists of thick sand which the ever-fresh energy of the spring waters rising from their mysterious and unplumbed depths is continually and irresistibly pushing aside and turning over. But the teeming inhabitants attract your attention even more than the spring, which is literally alive with trout. Never have you seen a nearer approach to perpetual motion than this swirling mass. Individually, you will see them, curiously inert, suspended for one moment in the green-coloured water, like some miniature zeppelin brooding in the sky; at the next moment, they have completely escaped your vision with half-a-dozen lightning movements. Throw a piece of bread into the water, and you create chaos in this community of trout, so keen is the competition for the bread; but, if you discriminate and poke the titbit gently over the edge of the pool, the bolder spirits will come forward cautiously and whisk it right out of your hand. Fairy Springs is the source of a stream which flows into Lake Rotorua, and is also the spawning ground whence come the innumerable fine trout that make the lake such a paradise for fishermen. The guide conducts you along the stream for some distance so that you may see the trout in all stages of development. The youngest are so small that they can scarcely be seen with the naked eye; the maturer fellows prowl murderously up and down stream, on the watch to seize and devour the weaker of their compatriots. At night a brilliant display of glow worms enhances the other attractions of the springs.