Rotorua, New Zealand
We treated ourselves to a wonderful relaxing soak in the geothermal pools at the Polynesian Spa . A splendid way to ease all your aches and pains. Also very theraputic for eczyma sufferers like me. The pools overlook the beautiful Rotorua Lake.
Our hotel in Rotorua overlooked the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. At night we could hear the boiling mud bubbling away outside our window.
We visited Whakarewarewa Thermal Village twice. First, we went during the day and were escorted round by a very friendly Maori guide who showed us all the geothermal activity - steaming pools, geysers, bubbling mud. We also visited the Maori cultural centre and saw traditional crafts and learned more about the Maoris' traditional way of life. Then we saw a Maori dance display, including the famous haka.
We returned at night for a hangi - a traditional Maori feast cooked in the ground, more entertainment and a very relaxed fun evening.
I would strongly recommend a visit here. The Maori people who live here are incredibly hospitable and friendly. It was fascinating to see their buildings with the lovely wooden carvings and to see their traditional dancing.
My friend booked a spa experience and it included entry into the more expensive pools so I paid to use them as well. The sign board when you enter the spa advises that only approx 10% of visitiors use these pools so i was expecting a lovely quiet, relaxing experience.
Upon entering we found a bus load of tourists already in the pools running from pool to pool in their underwear (not even bathers) and shouting across the pools. Definately not relaxing.
We did the Tamaki village and hangi dinner. Our bus driver was very entertaining, the village tour was informative and interactive. My favourite part was the hangi dinner, seeing where it is cooked and then getting to try it... yummmmm!
We booked this tour through our hotel the afternoon of and paid on the night. Tour included pick up and drop off :)
We did the intermediate aqua zorb and whilst it was terrifying I am SO glad I did it. You have the opportunity to purchase photes at the end and even get a free picture to upload to Facebook. Staff very friendly.
Note- BYO towel or you will need to buy one
If your an adventure seeker and/or an adrenaline junkie, then you must try sledging.
Go to this website and learn more about it.
Basically its like rafting that you go on class IV plus rapids. But without a raft or paddles. Your on a plastic boogie board with handles, fins and a hockey helmet with full face guards. If you have seen the episode of Amazing Race, this company was the company who did that challange.
What a thrill! Word of serious warning: You have to honestly evaluate yourself to see if you can menatally and physically do this. If you can, then do it.
SuperSize tip: There are natural hotspings and spa establishments around the area. Get dropped off to one after your adventure to soak your tired and probably bruised body. Enjoy!
15 km southeast of Rotorua, past the scenic Blue & Green Lakes, lies the "Buried Village" of Te Wairoa. It is the site of a historic village that has been utterly destoyed in the eruption of volcano Mount Tarawera in 1886. The visitor centre has an excellent and moving exhibition on the events of 1886. The roundpath that leads past reconstructed buildings and archaeological excavations was less impressive than advertised, but it is a beautiful walk in itself, especially if you take the detour to the Te Wairoa Falls. Worth visiting.
Rotorua is a tourist base for all kinds of activities in the centre of North Island, mainly related to thermal pools (which are plentiful and contribute to the "rotten egg"-smell of the place), Maori cultural experiences, and adventure sports. I personally liked the Taupo area slightly better, but Rotorua is also a convenient place to stay. The town itself has only a few attractions including the Tudor-style Rotorua Museum and a local park with hot springs. Possible options for daytrips:
- Te Puia Maori cultural experience
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
- the "Buried Village"
I was strapped for time and money in Rotorua, but I really wanted to see some hot springs that the city is so famous for before I had to leave. Luckily, I managed to find Kuirau Park, which is a free spot to view some of the bubbly mud pools. Granted, they were not the most beautiful of volcanic displays, and I'm sure the parks outside of town had better ones, but this place was a two-minute walk from my hostel and again, free! If you're looking for geothermal activity without the crowds or even just a place to stroll while you drink a coffee, this is the place to go.
The Maori culture is rich in this area and no trip to NZ is complete without going to a Maori cultural show. See the Maori men perform the Haka (a vigorous war dance), the Maori women perform with their poi's and sticks and even be asked to participate.
The Hangi (cooked in the ground, in a pit with river rocks heated by a fire on top) is delicious and a must to try. A trip to one of geothermal sites is also a must to see the boiling mud pools, hot mineral pools and geysers. There are also the Orchid Gardens, The Maori buried village, The Agrodome, Rainbow Trout Farm and many more interesting things....
The Maori people are indigenous to New Zealand and are warm and friendly as well as being great singers with excellent harmony. There is a Kiwi House where you can see New Zealand's most primitive and endangered bird up close.
Many of the Hotels host cultural shows in the evenings and bookings are very easily made at late notice. Whakarewarewa (Whaka) is approximately 3 kilometres from the centre of Rotorua.
Rotorua is a place of geothermal activity in New Zealand where one can enjoy visiting natural hot springs and mud pools. These pictures show the famous Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa Park in Rotorua and also the Champagne pools at another important Rotorua tourist attraction.
Rotorua is a great place to experience Maori culture. It is possible to visit a Marae (Maori Home) and take part in a traditional Powhiri , or greeting. For those of you who don't know, the Maori people are native New Zealanders.
Rotorua has other activities including the gondola and luge, the rainbow springs and sheep centre which are great outings for families.
For more pictures and information please look at my Rotorua page.
Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve is located at Rotorua, North Island. It is a thermal area with hot boiling water, hot mud pool and eruption of geysers. The most famous geyser is Pohutu Geyser which erupts occasionally and can reach as high as 20 metres. Don't miss Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley when you visit the town of Rotorua.
Lake Rotorua is located at Rotorua District in the Bay of Plenty Region in North Island, approximately 300 kilometres south of Auckland. It is the second largest lake in North Island. It covers a total surface area of approximately 7,900 hectares. The average depth of Lake Rotorua is 11 metres and its maximun depth is approximately 26 metres.
It was formed from the crater of an active volcano erupted several hundred years ago in Taupo volcanic zone. Mokoia Island is located in the center of the lake. Lake Rotorua flows directly into Lake Rotoiti. The town of Rotorua is situated to the south of Lake Rotorua. This is a unique scenic lake to have your photographs taken when you are visiting Lake Rotorua!
Rainbow Farm is located at Fairy Springs Road just outside Rotorua. The main attraction at Rainbow Farm is of couse the Rainbow Farm Show which depicts traditional New Zealand farming. Highlights of the show include sheepsheering demonstration, sheep herding in the field led by dogs, milking of cows, bottle feeding of baby lambs and bull riding. Participation by visitors in the show are also encouraged.
Rainbow Farm shows are held at 10.30 a.m., 11.45 a.m., 1.00 p.m., 2.30 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. daily. Each show lasts for approximately 45 minutes. A souvenir shop is located just inside the entrance of the building. A park is located adjacent to the Rainbow Farm.