The very first thing you notice in Rotorua is its distinct fragrance. A rich aroma of sulphur in the air tells you you’ve definitely arrived at the famous geothermal area. Geysers, bubbling bogs and spas, plus silicified tablelands, show off a kaleidoscope of colours.
Rotorua is the heart of Maori culture of New Zealand, where visitors can experience the warm spirit of its native people. The Maori population is mainly distributed in metropolitan areas, but the Rotorua district still has 35 maraes (Maori town halls). You may also be fortunate enough to be a guest in a marae, which is an unforgettable experience.
Located in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island where there are 14 different sizes of lake, Rotorua is an aqua paradise. In about 1350, Ihenga, the discoverer of Rotorua, travelled inland from the New Zealand coast in the Te Arawa canoe. The first lake he saw was Rotoiti, and the second was Lake Rotorua.
Rotorua is a place that is full of surprises. There are amazing things waiting around every corner. Not far from Rotorua are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which were discovered by a Maori patriarch accompanied by a British surveyor in 1887.
You can see small specks of blue starlight everywhere in this pitch-black cave and it is as beautiful as the galaxy. Remember to be quiet in the cave, so as not to disturb these rare creatures.
Rotorua is like nowhere else on earth. Once you have experienced the heartland of traditional Maori culture, the hot springs and boiling mud pools, you will find it hard to leave, because Rotorua is just far too enchanting.
Volcanoes, fishing and cruising
Lake Rotorua is a crater lake that was subjected to volcanic eruptions 14 million years ago. It is 280 metres above sea level and 80 square kilometres in area. Take a boat trip on the lake, fishing for rainbow trout, or enjoy an early morning Lakeland Queen cruise and appreciate the setting while having a fabulous breakfast.
Rotorua is known as a spa town in New Zealand and is fast becoming one of the best-known natural hot spring destinations in the South Pacific. The natural sulphur springs are said to be the world’s most therapeutic and rejuvenating mud baths.
Words: Kylie Ka Yee Ng