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Rotorua, nicknamed 'Sulphur City' is world famous for its natural attractions and sulphur smell. It is a volcanic and geothermal wonderland, replete with bubbling mud pools, hot lakes, steaming cliffs, craters and spouting geysers. It is also a fresh water lake region, with more than 11 lakes situated in lush forest and fern land.

Rotorua is one of New Zealand's regions rich in Maori cultural. The area offers a wealth of interesting and accessible cultural highlights. These include visits to Maori villages, Marae, concerts, rock drawings and traditional craft displays, such as woodcarving and flax weaving. For a great tasting experience, try sampling a hangi feast, which is food cooked in a traditional earth oven.

Rotorua's geothermal reputation is well known around the world. Closest to Rotorua City is the Whakarewarewa thermal area. New Zealand's greatest erupting geyser is Pohutu, which jets water and steam up to 30 metres high. Whakarewarewa also contains a model Maori pa, which was a design characteristic of pre-European times. Nearby is the Maori Arts And Crafts Institute. This is your chance to watch the skilful Maori craftspeople work their magic.

Destination Rotorua

If you travel southeast down State Highway 5 you will arrive at the Waimangu Valley thermal area. This area contains the Waimangu Cauldron; this is one of the world's largest boiling lakes. Take in the steaming creeks and boiling crater lakes during a walk down the track that leads to the shores of Lake Rotomahana.

Rotorua's intriguing combination of natural and cultural attractions makes it one of New Zealand's most rewarding tourist highlights.

Rotorua offers a great range of sightseeing attractions and activities to suit all travellers. The heartland of New Zealand is rich in spirit and unique in New Zealand character.

Rotorua has a small city on the shores of Lake Rotorua, and is comprised of steaming craters, mud pools and 20-metre geysers, volcanoes, lakes, parks and recreational areas.

Spiritual home to Maori, the Sulphur City encapsulates much of what makes New Zealand unique. It is an ideal place to go hiking, walking and to observe some native wildlife.

Rotorua is one of the major tourist attractions in the North Island it has retained some of its natural wonders throughout its development, including thermal springs and native bushland.

Rotorua is the centre of Maori cultural activity including native song, dance, art and architecture. The Whakarewarewa steaming thermal pools is where some Maori live and they use the hot water for cooking, washing and heating. A rather unique sight is the Arikapakapa Golf Course, the only course in the world with bunkers of boiling mud and water.

Many shops selling sheepskins, furs and souvenirs are clustered around a centre called the Little Village in Tryon Street. Greenstone carvings in traditional Maori shapes can be purchased from street artists and many local arts and crafts can be sourced from this area.

A collection of Maori artefacts can be found at Rotorua Museum, which is located in the former bathhouse in Government Gardens and strolling the shores of Lake Rotorua leads to the city's original Maori village of Ohinemutu.

A good trip is the cable car to the top of Mount Ngongotaha. These vantage points offer spectacular views of the city and lakes. Then you have the option of an adventure trip down on a flying fox or toboggan.
The Waipu River Mouth and Estuary at the end of Johnson Point Road are approximately 3km south east of Waipu and a great place to see some of New Zealand flora and fauna.
This refuge has international significance and is the nesting area for New Zealand dotterel, variable oyster catcher and New Zealand fairy tern.
Other species include reef heron, ryebill, caspian tern and banded dotterel - all are protected, rare or threatened species. Ruakaka Wildlife Refuge situated at the Ruakaka River Mouth is a breeding area for New Zealand dotterel and variable oyster catchers.

The Rotorua area will leave you with special sights sounds and smells.

Rotorua Map

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Rotoruas climate:

Average Summer temperature; 22c
Warmest months; December to March
Average Winter temperature; 12.6c
Average Hours of sunshine per year; 2117hrs
Average annual rainfall; 1400mm

Popular Rotorua activities

Fish for Brown and Rainbow trout in Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti
Discover Rotoruas geothermal activity
Hike up Mt Tarawera or take a lake cruise across a crater lake
Treat yourself to a hot soak and massage at a Rotorua day spa
Walk or mountain bike through a native forest then ride the gondola up Ngongotaha for the luge ride

Key Features

Geyser - Rotorua


Geothermal phenomena
From the moment you arrive, the scent of sulphur tells you that Rotorua is different. Steam escapes from crevices in the ground, gardens bloom alongside bubbling craters and geysers shoot for the sky.

Rotorua - girl in pool


Spa therapy
160 years after the first Europeans arrived to 'spa' in Rotorua, visitors are still enjoying the therapeutic properties of the geothermal resources. Mineral pools, mud wraps and massage will leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Stylized fish hook pendants represent prosperity,abundance, fertility and strength.


Maori spirit
In Rotorua's geothermal villages, the tradition of guiding and sharing cultural heritage has been passed down through the generations. You'll find it expressed with true warmth and energy.

Key Tips

  • Located in the central North Island, Rotorua is a leisurely 3-hour drive from the main international gateway city of Auckland.
  • Rotorua airport receives daily domestic flights from Auckland (40 minutes), Christchurch (1  hours) and Queenstown (2  hours).
  • Hamilton International Airport (75 minutes driving time) receives international flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Fiji.
  • From Rotorua you can drive to surf beaches (1 hour), a national park (1  hours), ski fields (2  hours) and one of New Zealand's major wine regions (2  hours).





Population: 68,000
Area: 2,700 km2

Reviews / Comments for Rotorua

Rating Averages


Rotorua is filled with Maori culture, so if thats what you are after. We went to one of the cultural shows in the evening. It was alright.

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