Head south from Auckland and almost immediately the scenery shifts from urban to suburban, although generally less so than driving up north. The truth is that there just isn’t much outside of Auckland. The drive is pretty though. Most towns are indistinguishable from one another. Each city has a similar structure to it and you can pass easily in and out of them as you casually lose your navigational sense of location. That is, until you get to Rotorua. Not that it looks a whole lot different but when you get there, you’ll be greeted with one unmistakable trait: the smell of sulphur.
Rotorua is an area with a great amount of geothermic activity. In truth, all of New Zealand is rather volatile. The two main islands that now make up New Zealand used to be attached to the much larger country-continent of Australia. While it is no longer connected to Australia by land, it is situated on two very fast moving tectonic plates. This is the reason for all of the volcanoes and other cool physical features of New Zealand. In Rotorua, it manifests itself in a large collection of geysers, hot bubbling mud pools, and hot thermal springs. Oh and the stench of sulphur so bad in some areas that it’ll make you sick.