Rotorua is the tourist and adventure capital of the North Island of New Zealand. This geothermal tourist town is situated on the shores of the picturesque Lake Rotorua, which belongs to the Bay of Plenty Region. Situated half way between Tauranga (83 km) and Taupe (84 km) here you find a geothermal wonderland, you can see shooting geysers, plopping mud and sulphur springs set amongst 15 stunning lakes, forests and volcanoes. But that’s not all that Rotorua has to offer, adventure activities are abundant and there is a rich Maori culture, take in an evening show and experience the hongi, hangi and the haka.
Rotorua, means “two lakes” as it was the second large lake discovered by the Maori chief Ihenga, a descendant of the Arawa canoe, in the late 1300’s. Rotorua is also a town on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua. The city has a population of about 53,000, of which one third is of Maori decent. The area was initially settled by Maori of the Te Arawa iwi.
Located on the Taupo volcanic field, this is an area with plenty of geothermal activity. You will find Whakarewarewa at the south end of the city, here is where you will find the 20 m Pohutu geyser. Whakarewarewa was first settled by Maori in around 1335, they built a pa (fortress) here that never failed to protect its people. There are about 500 scolding hot pools in the Rotorua caldera, most of which are alkaline chloride hot springs, and at least 65 geyser vents, each with their own name. There are many places in Rotorua to have a mineral spa, to rejuvenate the body.
The locals will tell you that the lakes in the district are loaded to the gunnels with rainbow and brown trout, thay may be right. Fishermen come here from all over the world to experience fishing at its best. There are some well renowned fishing guides in the district, and the scenery around the lakes is unforgettable.
Pack up a lunch and go for a climb up the 1111m to sumit of Mount Tarawera. This volcanoe last erupted in 1886, the eruption is believed to have killed over 120 people, although it is possible that more people died. The eruption also destroyed the world famous Pink and White Terraces and buried the Maori village of Te Wairoa. There are exceptional views of the Bay of Plenty and the Rotorua region from the summit.
Not surprisingly, Rotorua has become a very popular tourist destination and a paradise for nature lovers. It's a great place to go walking or hiking. There are some excellent mountain bike tracks in the redwoods forest near town. There's a fantastic range of indigenous flora and fauna here, including the Tuatara, the most ancient of all living reptiles - it's even older than the dinosaurs!
Rotorua is the adventure capital of the North Island. You will find no shortage of activities here. You can try a tandem skydive or go white water rafting. Experienced guides will take you hunting for possum, deer or wild pigs in the surrounding forests. This is one of the few places in the world you can get zorbed, do a Bungy and a Swoop. There are also horse treks and 4wd tours available.
There is a wide range of accommodation in Rotorua, There are hundreds of Lodges, hotels and motels along the main street.There are also apartments and boutique accommodation which provide a restful break in comfort and style, or homestays and farmstays bestow a genuine Kiwi experience. There are camping grounds, holiday parks, backpackerhostals and budget options ensure that everyone can find bed. Accommodation here can be in high demand, so visitors are advised to book well in advance.
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