Rotorua is a city that sits on the edge of a large lake with the same name, in the Bay of Plenty, located on a volcanic plateau, which covers much of the Central North Island of New Zealand.
Lying squarely on the Pacific Rim of Fire, on an area that has been geologically exciting for millennia, the city is known for having one of the world’s most lively fields of geothermal activity, and features skyrocketing geysers, hot springs and boiling mud pools.
From the moment you enter the city, you know you’re in Rotorua because of the characteristic faint scent of sulphur that lingers in the air and gives the city a “rotten eggs” smell.
The hydrogen sulphide emissions and the clouds of steam escaping into the air are a constant reminder of the thermal activity of the city.
Considered to be one of New Zealand’s top adventure destinations, Rotorua has a host of attractions and activities to get the adrenalin flowing.
Skydiving, bungy jumping, luging, white water rafting and sledging, jet boating, four wheel driving, mountain biking in one of New Zealand’s best mountain bike trails and Zorbing, an inflatable globe in which you roll down a hill, are some of the thrills, leisure and sporting options.
If you prefer to take it ease or relax, try walking among the towering Redwoods, famous for its magnificent in the Californian Coastal, on the Whakarewarewa Forest just a few minutes drive from the city centre.
Relax in the waters of the hot springs, take a thermal mud bath, or chose from a selection of therapeutic spa and massage therapies.
Take a cruise, swim, kayak or fish in one of the 16 stunning crater lakes, ringed by scenic tracts of bush, forest and farmland, that adds sparkle and interest to the landscape around Rotorua and provides a host of leisure and sporting opportunities.
Discover the mysterious Hot Water Beach, situated on the southern shores of Lake Tarawera, a secluded beach where visitors can soak in natural hot water pools.
The Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland is one of the most amazing colorful areas in Rotorua, silica terraces are naturally decorated with a kaleidoscope of colours.
It is home to the Lady Knox Geyser, which erupts at 10:15 AM daily by pouring soap into it, and the Champagne Pool, an unusual geothermal spring with an amazing orange colour of the mineral salts around the edge that upwells geothermal water with traces of gold, silver, mercury, arsenic and antimony and bubbles CO2, resembling a huge champagne pool indeed.
Another attraction in Rotorua is the world famous Pohutu Geyser, at Whakarewarewa, meaning big splash or explosion, which erupts roughly 20 times each day, up to 30 metres (100 foot) high, depending on her mood. It is the largest active geyser in New Zealand and the southern hemisphere.
The Waimangu area, famous for its beautifully coloured displays, features the Inferno Crater with its steaming water of bright blue. Its water level varies and it can reach a depth of 30 metres.
Rotorua is also the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture, where the Te Arawa people settled more than 600 years ago. Their presence offers visitors numerous cultural experiences opportunities, like a visit to the Maori Village or to the Rotorua Bath House Building, which houses the Rotorua Museum where you can learn about the stories, the culture and the legendary figures that have shaped this fascinating region.
Winner of four Most Beautiful City awards for 2006, 2002, 2000 and 1999, Rotorua still maintains its small town charms with clean cobble-stoned streets, beautifully planted parks and gardens, and lovingly-restored Tudor architecture that celebrate Rotorua’s colonial past.
Rotorua is definitely touristy, and there is no shortage of tours or accommodations. It has more than 12,500 beds on offer that caters every style, budget and preference.
The city is less than 3 hours drive from Auckland (234 km), New Zealand’s largest population city, and 457 km from Wellington, the country’s capital.