I have read the forums back and forth as well as guidebooks and I am trying to get this straight so that I can make the right decision.
I will be in Rotorua on Sept 8 and 9, leaving on the morning of the 10th. I want to go to one of the thermal places and also a hangi and go on the Skyline Gondola. I also may want to see the blue and green lakes. I have seen so many of these forums and I am unsure of the choices. Please excuse me if I spell some of these incorrectly.
For thermal places, I get the feeling that Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland is the best choice of thermal things. I see mention of Waiotapu, Whakarewarewa, the Living Thermal Village, the buried village, Lady Knox, as well as Hells Gate or Hells Mud Bath and also Te Puia. What is the difference between these? Am I correct that Waotapu Thermal Village offers the best experience?
With the hangi, I know that there is one at Te Puia, Matariki, and there is Mikai as well as ones at hotels. From what I gather on this forum, Mikai is the best and that is part of Rainbow Springs. I believe it starts at 630pm. I would like to book these things as soon as possible because I understand that the Rugby World Cup is being played in Rotorua while I am there. I thought that I would tackle one of the themal places in the morning (does 3 hours there cover it?), do the Skyline Gondola and perhaps drive around the green and blue lakes in the afternoon..maybe some shopping, and then do the hangi with the Rainbow Springs at night. Does that sound doable? Are there good places to shop at these places? Thank you very much.