As we told you in our introduction to Rotorua, this is an area with a larger variety of attractions and activities than you could ever hope for. As soon as you arrive in the region you will notice the smell of sulphur generated by the four thermal areas in Rotorua and it is these areas which comprise some of the most fascinating attractions in this part of the country. Whakarewarewa, Waimangu, Waiotapu and Hell’s Gate are home to a collection of geysers, volcanic craters, natural hot pools, mud pools, and silica terraces unrivalled in the southern hemisphere.
In fact, Rotorua was once home to the natural phenomenon which was known back in 1870 as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The pink and white silica terraces at Lake Rotomahana were renowned the world over and attracted tourists in their droves even back then. Unfortunately the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886 destroyed the terraces but some good did come out of the volcano in the form of the buried village. Although thirty five people were killed, the village of Wairoa is now one of the region’s most visited attractions and a fascinating place to while away an afternoon.
As well as the natural attractions, however, the host of leisure activities on offer combined with the reverence given to the age old Maori presence in Rotorua ensure that there really is something on offer for all of you. Whether you feel like braving the rapids or abseiling a volcano crater or something a little more laid back like learning about the unique cultural traditions of the Maoris, the choice is yours. Regardless of your choice, however, rest assured that your stay will be a memorable one.
Tarawera Road, Rotorua, New Zealand
While it might not be Pompeii, the Buried Village is a fascinating attraction where you will get to see the village of Te Wairo and two others which were completely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1848. Also has a museum which explains the whole disaster in a really interesting way.
Government Buildings, Rotorua, New Zealand
Housed in the beautiful Bath-House in the wonderful surroundings of the Government Gardens this is the most photographed building in New Zealand. Originally built as a therapeutic spa the museum also served as a centre for recuperating soldiers during World War I. Today it houses a small theatre as well as numerous exhibitions about the local people and many of the spa rooms have been reconstructed too.
Tikitere, Rotorua, New Zealand
Located about a fifteen-minute drive from Rotorua town centre this is the region’s most active and fiercest thermal area. Covering over twenty acres you will see the largest boiling whirlpool in New Zealand and the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere as well as steam vent geysers, mud pools, a mud volcano and much more. A boiling, hissing, spitting mass which certainly makes for an interesting visit.
Memorial Drive, Lakefront, Rotorua, New Zealand
For a relaxing and pleasant way to see the lake and to spend an afternoon why not jump on board the Lakeland Queen, a traditional paddle wheel steamer which cruises the lake daily. And for the old romantics out there, you might want to take the night cruise enjoying dinner on board as you sail across the beautiful Lake Rotorua.
Paradise Valley Road, Rotorua, New Zealand
Those of you wishing to observe the native bush and its inhabitants will be extremely impressed with Paradise Valley. An award winning bird, fish and wildlife sanctuary, you can while away the hours trekking among the flora and fauna of New Zealand. And, as an added bonus, you can also check out the feeding time for the park’s pride of lions at 2.30pm daily.
Waimangu, Rotorua, New Zealand
Located about a twenty minute drive from Rotorua, this is another breathtaking geothermal area. Among the attractions in the valley are the walks through the volcanic craters and the cruise on Lake Rotomahana. The region is also home to the world’s largest hot water spring so be sure to take your camera for this one.
New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, Rotorua, New Zealand
The largest thermal reserve in the Rotorua region this particular attraction is also home to a major Maori institute. Covering over one hundred and forty acres, the highlight of ‘Whaka’ is the Pohutu geyser. Shooting hot water to heights of between twenty and thirty metres it really is a spectacular sight and one well worth witnessing. The Maori institute itself offers a fascinating insight into this unique culture and is situated about two kilometres south of the town centre.
Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua, New Zealand
Located just three kilometres outside the centre of Rotorua, let the Skyline Gondola take you to almost five hundred metres above sea level to the park and restaurant at the top of Mount Ngongotaha. As well as the activities which are available at the summit, however, you are also treated to the most amazing views of the city.
Hinemoa Street, Rotorua, New Zealand
A historical hot mineral spa on the edge of Lake Rotorua, this attraction has served as a bathhouse for the locals back in 1886 and now offers thirty-five hot pools to locals and visitors alike. Reported to have health giving properties, one thing is guaranteed and that’s the fact that you will feel refreshed and invigorated as soon as you sit in the water so go see for yourself.
Western Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua, New Zealand
While the Agrodome primarily concentrates on sheep and cattle, there is a great deal more on offer than watching a sheep being sheared or a cow being milked. Of course if this type of thing does appeal to you, by all means check it out. Much more impressive however are the host of activities on offer including Zorb Rotorua, Rotorua Bungy, Agrojet and Helipro.