Rotorua is considered one of the “must visit” destinations in New Zealand, and attracts visitors throughout the year. Rotorua is a city located on the south side of the lake with the same name, in the Bay of Plenty region of the central North Island of New Zealand. It is one of the few places in New Zealand where you can witness the tumultuous forces of nature in the most evident form, which formed this piece of land. The city of Rotorua is located on the Volcanic Plateau and has one of the world's most lively fields of geothermal activity. This city features some of the most famous hot mud pools and geysers, such as the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa. Experience the stories of this region that sit on Pacific Rim of Fire and behold the sky-rocketing hot mud pools, geysers, hot springs and boiling mud pools unlike anywhere in the world. Rotorua is also thought of as the ancestral home of the Te Arawa people who inhabited this land more than 600 years ago. The existence of these locals offers a distinct cultural experience to the tourists from other parts of the world, which is unique to New Zealand.
Rotorua offers many attractions that will get your adrenalin running. You can enjoy everything from luging and skydiving to zorbing. However, the best of New Zealand comes out when you go mountain biking in the Whakarewarewa Forest. This thick bush holds mystery and beauty, and has been described as 'the Disneyland of mountain biking'. It offers mountain bike trails where the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships were held in August 2006.
For anglers or those just wanting to give it a go, why not make the most of the lakes and rivers and enjoy a day fly fishing. The region is a big trout fishing area that offers fishing on lakes and tributary rivers. Rotorua is surrounded by lakes, streams, rivers, and tributaries with a total of no less than 17 lakes that offer fishing, swimming, boating, water-skiing, and other water activities in summer. These lakes were also hosts to the World Blind Sailing Championships in March 2009 and the 2007 World Water-ski Championships. Rotorua is also known for its botanical gardens and historic architecture. This region has been a tourist destination since the 1800s and is called a spa town. Submerge yourself in the Maori culture by enjoying a “hangi”. A hangi is a meal cooked in the ground; this is the traditional Maori way of cooking. You can also perhaps enjoy a cultural tour including a visit to an authentic pre-European Maori village. Come, experience life the New Zealand way!
Are you looking for further activity ideas around Rotorua? Take a look at our article on Rotorua recommended activites.
Geothermal Activity: Minutes from the city centre, geysers of steaming water roar from the ground and large expanses of bubbling mud pools boil and belch. In several geothermal areas in and around Rotorua, steam rises from seemingly tranquil lakes and gently flowing streams. Volcanic craters now extinct house Rotorua’s crystal lakes.
Mount Tarawera: A Sacred Volcano, a Landmark, a Playground, Mount Tarawera plays an important role in the history of New Zealand and the Rotorua region. It is sacred and under the guardianship of the Ngati Rangitihi Maori tribe.
Maori Culture: The earliest Maori villages in the area - around which modern urban Rotorua is based - were situated within close proximity to geothermal sites, including "Whakarewarewa". Although the Maori community is now predominantly urban, there are around 35 marae (meeting grounds) in the District, at least 20 of which are situated in rural areas. The Maori community and its culture and traditions have a very significant influence in the District, and are of major interest to visitors.
- Brilliant colours are the feature of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
- Visit the amazing Waimangu Volcanic Valley, which was formed during the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption
- The Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley can shoot water 100 feet/30 metres skyward
- Hell’s Gate is a truly spooky Thermal Reserve
- Thermal pools for long hot soaks are everywhere
- Gain a different perspective of Rotorua from the air. Choose a flightseeing excursion to White Island, an active volcano, or over the awesome crater of Mount Tarawera
- Discover the customs of the Maori people at a meticulously staged song and dance performance
- Watch a film show at the Rotorua Museum of Art & History which brings alive the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption
- Visit the massive Californian redwoods in Whakarewarewa Forest - a famous place to mountain bike in New Zealand and now internationally for good reason. Whakarewarewa is host to world class mountain bike tracks that are ridable year round and now include a shuttle service.
- Soak in a hot spa at the Blue Baths in Rotorua. There is a museum in the old changing rooms which highlight the building’s past life. Dine upstairs in the elegant 1930s tearooms, with views over the beautifully manicured Government Gardens
- Experience an action packed live farm stage show featuring trained rams, sheep shearing, sheep dogs, milking cows and baby lambs
- Enjoy a scenic gondola ride to the top of Mount Ngongotaha. Luge down the side of the mountain on a purpose built track
- The Rotorua region has eleven main lakes, a myriad of crystal clear streams and four different species of trout.
- Fly-fish the rivers or lakes - hire a guide if you want a sure thing
- View springs and streams with wild trout, see the native kiwi bird and observe the tuatara, a unique prehistoric lizard
- Choose from a variety of lake and river excursions - cruise, kayak, raft or white water sledge