What we didn't know was that 3 British women lost their belongings at the same location a few years earlier. The British women were unaware of the risks they were exposing themselves to and believed the area to be safe.
After the robbery the chair of the local tourism advisory board recommended that tourist attractions be graded according to their safety. This was back in the day when tourism chiefs were free to talk about visitors being made aware of the risks of crime in New Zealand.
His was was an excellent idea and perhaps the group of "International Travellers" would have avoided becoming the victims of crime if it had been adopted.
This from Kelly Blanchard of the Rotorua Daily Post
"When Anna Wright, Louise Wootton and Sarah McElhiney told people in Rotorua they had been robbed of their bags from the boot of their car at Kerosene Creek, no-one was surprised.Wise words and has anything changed since?
The English tourists have been left wondering why people tell tourists to go there if they know there is a chance they could lose all their possessions.
The girls found out about the hot water creek from reading the New Zealand edition of Lonely Planet. Their copy of the book had no warnings about crime in the area, although the latest edition has a warning that "cars have been broken into in this area, don't leave your valuables in your vehicle".
Senior Sergeant Dave Wilson said the car park at Kerosene Creek had been changed recently and there had been a noticeable reduction in thefts from cars in recent months.
Rotorua Tourism Advisory Board chairman Neville Nicholson suggested attractions, activities and even campervans should be ranked according to their safety. Visitors could then be given a flyer reminding them to stay clear of any attraction that did not have a safety stamp.
Mr Nicholson said visitors often dropped their guard because they perceived New Zealand as a safe destination.We are absolutely sick and tired of it. These mongrels are ruining our country and ruining our reputation."
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne suggested Rotorua residents continue to recommend places such as Kerosene Creek to visitors but also make sure they told them of the potential risks.
He said some people were afraid to admit crime occurred in certain areas because it could affect the area's image.
"It's no good not advising people about the risks ... it helps to just remind them that it is a place that is sometimes preyed on and if they see anyone dodgy hanging around, they should contact police."
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