Now, I am not a fan of 'small town' museums (in that I will choose another activity over an expensive museum trip usually) and I confess I thought this one was going to be a big fizzer and disappoint. I am pleased to announce that I was wrong - wrong on every level.
Inside, it is stunning.
|One of the|
It is worth a visit just to explore its architecture. You can climb to the top and view the city, you can explore the stunning internal staircase and, you can explore its basement (warning - if you are taller than me then you will need to watch you don't knock your head).
|The sign warning about the height of the ceilings - I just|
make it under - a source of great disappointment as I
swear I have shrunk from 5'7 (well thats my story
and I am sticking to it!!)
It has an interesting history. Currently it is the museum, and it has undergone (and I understand this is an ongoing process) restoration.
Its original use was as a world famous bathhouse that used to offer therapeutic treatments and it opened in 1908. It was the NZ Governments first real attempt at tourism and there are still original items that reflect this. There is a dedicated area that tells its story, including a space where the layers of paint have been stripped back to show the different paint colours over time. Aspects of its history are emphasised as your traverse the inner workings of this beautiful building. Down in the basement you can see where the pipes come in, and see aspects of the original bathhouse. The loft space is fascinating.
|One of the displays down in the basement|
The cafe - whist we did not indulge, looked inviting and the smell of freshly roasted coffee was quite tantalising - so based on smell I would say pop in.
|View from Upstairs overlooking the Government Gardens|
|In the loft, heading to the Towers Lookout|
|On the roof lookout - overlooking the lake|
The Taongas (treasures) were wonderful and I especially loved the stories and artefacts that highlighted the eruption of Tarawera. The mummified cat had Squirt fascinated (and me a little grossed out). No photos allowed in this section - shame - as behind the doors is just a treasure trove of visual delights. You will just have to believe me.
So, overall rating - 4 stars out of 5. I initially thought it was a bit pricey but actually, it was good value and I really enjoyed all the displays, movies and interactive items. I promise you wont be disappointed - even it if is only to explore the Museum building.
BUT WAIT - THERE IS MORE!
The Surrounds - Government Gardens
Now, a quick disclaimer - we did not have time to really explore all of this and we will go back next time to explore the foot baths (free) and let Squirt play on the fabulous playground. We have heard they are fabulous and we saw for ourselves how great the playground is - so Rotorua - we will be back!
|One of the stunning pools|
|Safe but still all very accessible|
|Up close and personal|