Rotorua is situated in the Bay of Plenty Region, in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island. It is just 60 kilometres south of Tauranga, 80 kilometres north of Taupo, 105 kilometres east of Hamilton, and 230 kilometres southeast of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
The Rotorua District has a total estimated population of 68,900 (2011, Statistics New Zealand).
Rotorua is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists; the tourism industry is by far the largest industry in the district. It is known for its geothermal activity, and features geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa – and hot mud pools. This thermal activity is sourced to the Rotorua caldera, on which the town lies.
Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotorua’s tourist appeal. Geysers and bubbling mud pools, hot thermal springs and the Buried Village (Te Wairoa) —so named after it was buried by the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption— are within easy reach of Rotorua.
In Kuirau Park, to the west end of Rotorua, hot bubbling mud pools dot the park. Visitors can soak their feet in hot pools.
The Rotorua region has 18 sparkling lakes, known collectively as the Lakes of Rotorua. Fishing, waterskiing, swimming and other water activities are popular in summer.
One of Rotorua’s main attractions is mountain biking. Whakarewarewa Forest has been described as ‘the Disneyland of mountain biking’ and includes mountain bike trails, where the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships were held in August 2006.
Rotorua is also home to botanical gardens and historic architecture. Known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800s, many of its buildings hint at this history. Government Gardens, close to the lakeshore at the eastern end of the town, are a particular point of pride.
For more information visit RotoruaNZ.com