Rotorua (meaning two lakes) is the geothermal centre of the North Island of New Zealand.
Top Attractions – Hot Springs & Geysers
The geothermal nature of Rotorua is very evident as soon as you get close to the city. The sulphur fumes and steam escaping from the drains in the road tend to let you know that Rotorua is nearby.
There are five major geothermic attractions for the public. Each is very unique with different qualities:
Whakarewarewa Valley – Te Puia has about 500 hot springs and the largest geyser in New Zealand, Pohutu.
Tikitere, called Hell’s Gate is the hottest area with boiling pools and a hot waterfall.
Waimangu has many coloured lakes and the site of the Pink and White Terraces under Lake Rotomahana.
The final area in Rotorua is Wai-O-Tapu which is also very colourful and is home to the Lady Knox Geyser.
Further south on the Rotorua-Taupo road is another geothermal area – Orakei Korako – the Hidden Valley.
Kids & Family
The Agrodome is a great place for kids. They can learn about farming, watch a sheep being shorn, milk a cow or see a sheep-dog herding sheep – or geese. Kids also love The Luge which is an alternative way down after riding to the hilltop on the Skyline Rotorua.
Try cooking your meal over a steam oven or have a Maori Hangi for your dinner. Enjoy some Maori culture with an evening show.
Rotorua is handy to a number of other centres. Drive to Whakatane and catch a cruise out to White Island – an active volcano island that is one of New Zealand’s greatest must-do attractions. Matamata is nearby with the famous Hobbiton, and Taupo is an hour drive south. The Waitomo Caves are not very far away and Hamilton is also an easy drive.