Ah, a picnic with friends on a crystal clear, early spring day on the shores of Lake Rotorua (Ro-tor-roo-ah). Hard to believe this is in the heart of the city of Rotorua, isn't it?
We had a pleasant foot-soak in the thermal mineral water foot-bath in Kuirau (Koo-ee-row) Park.
Then we visited the Rotorua Museum of Art and History.
The front gate, the Totara timber Prince's Gate Archway (built in a different spot and moved here later) is a stylised representation of a crown. It was built in honour of the 1901 visit of the then Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, who were later to become King George V and Queen Mary. It was decorated with greenery and illuminated with electric lights, a great novelty as electricity had only just become available in Rotorua.
The striking Tudor-style building, which is now the Rotorua Museum of Art and History, used to be the world famous Rotorua Bathhouse, which offered therapeutic treatments. The New Zealand Government opened it in 1908, and hoped to tempt wealthy northern hemisphere patrons to travel to this "Great South Seas Spa". Water from nearby springs was piped to deep pools, private bathrooms and Aix-douche massage rooms. Men and women had separate wings. You can wander around some restored areas and pretend you are relaxing after your electric treatment in the sumptuous rooms decorated with marble statues and lovely furnishings. Unfortunately the corrosive mineral water ate into the pipes very quickly and so the grand scheme was plagued (sorry Robert) with insurmountable maintenance problems, aside from the dubious benefits of being mildly electrocuted, or soaking in and inhaling vast quantities of toxic substances.