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"Amazingly, Relaxingly, Adventurously Rotorua"

Rotorua Tourism

Considered to be an epitome of the flourishing Maori culture, the tinsel town is set on volcanic landscape and enveloped in stunning mountain peaks, meandering streams, dense woods, mesmerizing waterfalls and several gorgeous fresh water lakes. Popularly known as a ‘geothermal wonderland’, it is home to several bubbling mud pools, steamy hot water springs, smoky white clouds and an overall breathtaking scenery. These natural hot springs are perfect for bathing and relaxing in and are the highlight of the town. 

Known as the "Nature's Spa of the South Pacific", Rotrua is lately being called the international resort in the country for its surreal landscape and its enchanting features. The city is synonymous with the scent of sulphur because of the mineral hot pools, mud springs and other geothermal activities. There are also silica terraces that are covered in shades of different colours (mainly pink and white) which have been attracting tourists since times immemorial. The bounteous nature surrounding the place makes it a haven for nature lovers and wanderers.

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The first existence of Rotorua can be traced back to the 14th century when it was first occupied by the Maori tribes of the Te Arawa Iwi. There is evidence that in the 1820s and 1823, there were several wars and battles fought between the Maori and the other tribes. These wars were eventually won by the Maori who ruled the area single-handedly for a long time. The first European to cross the area was Phillip Tapsell who came to trade from the Bay of Plenty in 1828. In the 1860s, the Rotorua district was caught in several skirmishes due to the New Zealand Wars.

Eventually, in 1883, the potential of the town as a spa resort destination was acknowledged. It was connected with Auckland and the first railway branch was started in 1894 which was called Rotorua Express train. And this led to the commencement and the beginning of the booming tourism industry. Soon it was declared a borough in 1922, a city in 1962 and finally a district in 1979.

Culture of Rotorua

The culture of Rotorua is predominated by the ancient Maori traditions and customs. You can best witness the traditions and culture of the region in the villages of Te Puia, Mitai Village and Tamaki Village etc. and also around the forests with a tribal history of their own. The villagers greet every tourist with entertaining dance, music and folk performances which are combined with sumptuous Maori food.

In Whakarewarewa village, you can learn the uses of geothermal waters in bathing, cooking, cleaning and other domestic activities. There are other villages where you can find the relics of the ancient culture- stunning meeting houses which are intricately carved, Tudor style church adorned with Maori decorations.

Geothermal Activities Around Rotorua

  • Rotorua is a hotbed of geothermal activities. Bustling with mineral hot springs, bubbling mud pools, and natural geysers, the city is known as an international spa destination. The volcanic landscape experienced its most major outburst in 1886 when Mount Tarawera erupted and in the process, the village of Te Wairoa (also known as ‘The Buried Village’) got destroyed. It is now desolate and deserted. The region to the west of Rotorua, in and around Kuirau Park is peppered with gushing hot mud pools. The tourists are encouraged and invited to soak their feet in here and relax and unwind.
  • The city is also called ‘Rotten-rua’ because of the rotten eggs like smell that predominate the area. The smell is the outcome of the Hydrogen Sulphide emissions fizzing out from the natural hot springs. Another nickname is also ‘Roto- Vegas’, which is inspired by Las Vegas like restaurants and nightclubs flanking the roads.
  • In addition to that, the area is replete with freshwater lakes which are an important spot for not only for trout fishing but also for other exciting activities like angling, swimming etc. There is also the Waimangu Volcanic Valley which was created by the eruption of Mount Tarawera, where you can see astonishing geothermal activities.

Top Experiences in Rotorua

  • Rotorua offers several amazing and thrilling activities, both tame and tempestuous. Flaunting both serene and rowdy landscape, you can opt for a complete leisure vacay or choose from a plethora of activities like mountain biking, trekking, hiking, swimming, trout fishing, zip-lining and bungee jumping etc.
  • Among the most notable attractions and experiences to have in the place include trekking in the gorgeous Whakarewarewa forest with the giant Californian Redwoods.
  • Visit the majestic Mount Tarawera and get lost in the breathtaking panoramic vistas that the top offers.
  • Do not forget to visit the commercial waterfalls and get your adrenaline pumped up by trying your hand at several activities like luging, zip lining and water zorbing etc.
  • Next to top the list is the vibrant Wai-o-tapu Thermal Valley with its several craters, mud pools, hot springs and its colourful silica terraces.
  • Explore the pre- European villages and take a peek into the ancient Maori culture at the museums.
  • Other than the cruises and jet boating, take a peaceful walk at the Blue Lake, Tarawera falls, Lake Okareka and the Rotorua Walkway etc.

Nightlife in Rotorua

Rotorua has a vibrant and booming nightlife. However, the night activities and shenanigans are mostly restricted to two areas- Tutanekai Street and Eat Street. There are several decent bars and clubs at this place where you can wine and dine, both at budgeted costs and also lavishly. The cluster of these cafes, bars and pubs has something for everyone. Among the most famous places are Brew Bar, Pig & Whistle Pub, Sobar and Ponsonby Bar etc.

Shopping in Rotorua

  • Rotorua has a number of galleries, flea markets and big brand stores that also make the area one of the top places to shop.
  • You can head to the city centre to find the majority of shopping places. The art galleries and the boutique stores sell products and valuables inspired by the Maori art culture and history.
  • You can also purchase some antiques and artefacts from the old vintage shops downtown. Ahu Boutique is one of the live examples which creates apparels and garments inspired by the Maori culture.
  • The gallery of Maori sculptor and carver Joe Kemp have wood and stone products.
  • Among the art galleries, Elim Art Gallery tops the list, which focuses on creativity and craftsmanship of the workers. Helium is another art gallery that is known for its contemporary art displays.
  • In addition to this, there are several gift shops and souvenir stores from where you can pick up little somethings, random knick-knacks and choose from several collectables to take back home for your kith and kin.

Food in Rotorua

  • Rotorua is considered a hub of gastronomical delights. From freshly brewed coffee to world-class craft beer, delicious Hangi and other cuisines, the tiny town has got it all.
  • “Eat Street” is a newly renovated street in Rotorua which is flanked by several fine dining restaurants, upmarket stores, funky nightclubs, quirky cafes and artisans markets etc.
  • And the place boasts of several cuisine options which include Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Italian among many others. Because of this ‘Eat Street’, the city has also come to be called Roto-Vegas; the name is inspired by the club culture of Las Vegas.

Rotorua Photos

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Mount Tarawera

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FAQs on Rotorua

What is the best time to visit Rotorua?

The average winter temperature can go down to 0 degrees while the average summer temperature can shoot up to 20 degrees celsius making it extremely hot and humid. Therefore, the best time to visit the place is between the autumn months of March and May. The pleasant weather and the temperate climate attracts the most number of domestic and international tourists. Other than trekking and other activities, it is also the best time to explore the geysers and mud baths
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What are the things to do in Rotorua?

The top things to do in Rotorua are Orakei Korako, Blue Baths Pool, Kerosene Creek, Paradise Valley Springs, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Mount Tarawera. You can see all the places to visit in Rotorua here

What are the places near Rotorua?

The top places near to Rotorua are Auckland which is 194 km from Rotorua, Gisborne which is located 164 km from Rotorua, Whakatane which is located 68 km from Rotorua, Tauranga which is located 50 km from Rotorua, Hastings which is located 175 km from Rotorua

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