Originally born in Christchurch, I’ve lived in Rotorua for 12 years now, 5 of them as the Marketing Manager for Destination Rotorua. Over the time, I’ve experienced nearly all that there is to do from a visitor perspective, so let me share some insights.
Rotorua has been welcoming tourists for over 200 years when the pink and white terraces were in existence. Unfortunately these fabulous wonders were destroyed in the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886. Not to be deterred, the local Maori people who had a number of casualties in the eruption, relocated to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley just south of the city we know today. Rotorua was born.
Over the past decades, the area has become more than just geothermal activity and maori culture. The many lakes offer picturesque and informative walks, stumble across a natural hot stream whilst our strolling around Lake Tarawera, marvel at the highest waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere as you walk the Okere Falls track. Not to mention the magnificent Redwood Forest, planted as a trial to see what species was best suited to New Zealand’s climate and now stands as a playground for mountainbikers, runners and walkers alike. The best part is it’s all free!
Yes, there are many paid attractions in Rotorua and you may need to take out a mortgage to do them all, but mixed in with plenty of natural free sights, Rotorua is a three night stay to get the very best of this curious destination. Check out this short tourism video about Rotorua.
Who can walk down the street and see steam curling up out of the drains. It’s magical.