THE SUM UP
What is it: Rotorua Museum
What you pay: 20.00NZD
TL;DR: People used to bathe here, now people look at art. Fun!
Known for its sulphuric smell and relaxing hot springs, the Rotorua museum was not something I had on my itinerary. Conveniently sandwiched between the beautiful government gardens and the historic Blue Baths, I couldn’t help but find my interest piqued by the architecture of the museum, and soon I decided it might be worth the trip. After discovering this was actually the building of the old Bath House, I was intrigued enough to dole out the price of admission. (Side note: luckily most museums in New Zealand are free!)
The museum was truly worth the time and money. The basement remains largely as it was when the bath house operated, a creepy system of tunnels to pump up water from the hot springs. The main floor has plenty of interesting stories of the believed healing properties and health benefits of bathing there. Continue upstairs for your traditional museum fare – artwork, history, etc. Continue even further up and you can actually go on to the roof. You’ll be treated to a lovely view of the gardens and parts of Rotorua – especially if you have the same clear summer day I was treated to.
While $20.00 is a lot to ask of a budget traveller, this museum has enough unique offerings to make it worth the price.