Known for its distinctive landscapes, shooting geysers, natural hot springs, and proud Maori traditions, the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua sits on the Pacific Rim of Fire.
This geothermal activity is reflected in the adventurous personality of this central North Island city, there’s certainly no shortage of stimulating activities to be enjoyed.
There’s lots of ways to immerse yourself in local Maori traditions: check out a cultural song and dance performance, tour a pre-European village, observe ta moko tattoo experts at work or taste traditional Maori foods like a steaming ‘hangi’ feast.
For a quintessentially Rotorua family friendly activity, take the kids to see the colourful crater lakes and bubbling geysers spouting up many metres in the air at Wai-o-Tapu, Hell’s Gate, or Waimangu. The most famous of these, the legendary Pohutu Geyser – near the city centre – has been known to erupt up to 30 metres into the air multiple times on any given day.
Surrounded by native forests, mountains, lakes and rivers, Rotorua is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. It’s arguably New Zealand’s best mountain biking location and thrill seekers will find no less than 145kms of continually evolving trails in Whakarewarewa Forest. You can easily entertain the whole family with a wide variety of trails catering for all levels of ability and fitness.
If you want a trail that combines captivating sight-seeing with riding thrills, check out Te Ara Ahi. It’s a two day 48km challenge that will take you past steaming vents, bubbling mud pools and spectacular geysers. Horse riding and hiking are also popular in these hills and like nearby Taupo, Rotorua is also a popular trout fishing drawcard.
But the thrills don’t stop there, adrenaline junkies strap yourselves in for a ride on the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world - the seven metre high Tutea Falls on the Okere River. There’s numerous adventure tourism operators offering everything from zorbing to zip-lining, luging to bungee jumping.
Chances are you’ll have some sore muscles after all that extreme sports activity, so why not unwind in the soothing thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa or the natural hot spring at Kerosene Creek.