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Rotorua, New Zealand

The seething power of inner earth comes to the surface in Rotorua. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand's Maori people.


Rotorua region, New Zealand

The Rotorua district is located on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. Rotorua is centred on the internationally renowned thermal resort.

The district is located 60 kilometres south of Tauranga, 105 kilometres south-east of Hamilton and 82 kilometres north-east of Taupo.

General Facts

As of June 2005, Rotorua's estimated population was 67,600.

Geysers, bubbling mud pools and Maori hospitality are some of the many experiences you will encounter in Rotorua. Welcoming visitors for more than 200 years, Rotorua is the oldest and best-known resort in the country. Generations of visitors have enjoyed its waters, marvelled at its fascinating geothermal activity and experienced the region's unique Maori culture.

Rotorua is fast becoming known as "Nature's Spa of the South Pacific".

Rotorua is the heartland of New Zealand Maori culture, and visitors have the opportunity to experience the warm spirit of Te Maori.

Although most of the Maori population live in the urban areas, there are about 35 marae (meeting grounds) in the Rotorua district.

The Rotorua region is also one of New Zealand's prime trout fishing spots. You're practically guaranteed a catch.

Main Attractions and Activities

From the moment you arrive in Rotorua you'll know you're somewhere quite different. There is a pervasive smell of sulphur, and at nearby geothermal hotspots there are spouting geysers, acrid-smelling mud pools bubbling and belching, and warm geothermal pools and ponds that create a kaleidoscope of colour.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Frying Pan Lake, Rotorua, New Zealand
Frying Pan Lake, Rotorua
Photographer: Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Visit Whirinaki Forest Park located 90 kilometres south-east of Rotorua, off State Highway 38. The park, known as a 'dinosaur forest', has many tall trees that are centuries old. Sights include giant podocarps, views of the river cutting through an ancient lava flow and caves with pumice deposits, remnants of the Taupo eruption nearly 2000 years ago.

If nature doesn't provide enough excitement, then you can top-up with some man-made extreme adventure. Try rap jumping down a mountain face, jumping from a plane at 9,500 feet in a tandem skydive, sledding on a toboggan down white water rapids, jetboating, luging down a local mountain. Or you might fancy tumbling head over heels down a hillside inside a giant ball: a zorb.

After a hard day's sightseeing or strenuous activity a dip in a thermal spa is totally relaxing. In the evening you may be in the mood to experience a taste of Maori culture at a performance of song and dance, followed by food cooked in a traditional hangi (an earthen oven).

Don't Miss

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua, New Zealand
Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua
Photographer: Chris McLennan
  • Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and thermal reserve, Whakarewarewa
  • Maori concert / hangi
  • The Bathhouse Museum
  • Government Gardens
  • Mt Tarawera trip
  • Waiotapu Thermal Reserve
  • Waimangu Volcanic Valley
  • Four-wheel drive adventures
  • Trout fishing
  • Giant Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest

Main Centre

  • Rotorua - the country's oldest resort and centre of geothermal activity