Attractions in Rotorua
Rotorua is a place you visit to admire the wonders of nature, and not primarily to see works of art and stunning buildings. Rotorua has lands that are shaped – and are still being shaped – by geothermal sources and natural forces from the earth’s interior. In addition, the region has beautiful mountains and beautiful lakes.
If you want speed and excitement, Rotorua is no less extreme than New Zealand otherwise, and offers its guests the opportunity of helicopter rides over volcanoes, skydiving and speedy jet boat rides on the lake. Of course, this costs a lot of money, but the experience will surely cure you of hiccups for years to come.
If you are a little less forward-thinking when it comes to adrealin-kick and more of the culturally interested type, then you can have educational days by getting to know the Maori culture and seeing exhibitions in the Rotorua museum.
Here is a selection of the major attractions and sights in or near Rotorua.
Government Gardens is a beautiful garden that surrounds an old Tudor-style bathhouse. Originally the area was called Paepaekumana and was (and is) of great importance to the Maori people. The Maoris gave the garden as a gift to “all the people of the world” in the late 19th century.
The garden has beautiful flowers and trees, and a number of statues and monuments.
The Rotorua Museum is located in what was originally a Government Garden bathhouse. The Rotorua Museum is a very interesting museum that shows everything from the history of Rotorua and the bathhouse to contemporary contemporary art from around the world.
The museum also has an interactive cinema that is included in the entrance fee. The film makes a humorous and educational contribution to the understanding of what an earthquake is for something, and combines this with the storytelling of Rotorua. Also, it is quite frightening when the whole movie theater moves when the earthquake occurs. Open almost every day from morning until 1700. Address: Government Garden.
Rotorua Canopy tour
Are you ready for nature and action then the Rotorua Canopy tour is a clear choice. Here you “fly” from tree to tree in the bush and walk on roads at tree-top height. The address is 173 Old Taupo Road, about 2.5 kilometers just west of the Rotorua Museum. The Rotorua Canopy tour is open from 0800 to 2000 every day of the season.
The Gondolas of Mount Ngongotaha
For the ultimate view of Rotorua, head to Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park and the gondolas of Mount Ngongotaha.
The gondola ride is almost 500 meters long and at the top there is the opportunity to drive large tricycles and eat good food. Skyline Rotorua is only about 5 kilometers north of the Rotorua Museum and the center of Rotorua.
Mitai Maroi Village
If you are interested in culture and want to become better acquainted with the Maoris, then there is hardly anything better to do than visit the Mitai Maori Village which is a five minute drive from the center of Rotorua. www.mitai.co.nz
In 1886 the area in and around Rotorua was exposed to about 30 earthquakes and several Maori villages were wiped out. Over 100 people lost their lives and the landmark with the pink and white terraces was destroyed, a natural area known by locals as the Eighth Wonders of the World.
The enormous forces of nature that unfolded in 1886 formed new wonders. A tourist attraction is the Maori-owned park Wai-O-Tapu about 30 kilometers south of Rotorua.
One approx. The 3-kilometer stroll in the park gives you close contact with the Devil’s Bath, the Champagne Pool and the Artist’s palette. Beautiful psychedelic colors in water and on mountains and plants, as well as hot steam rising from the craters and cobblestones, give you the feeling of being in a wonderland.
Geyser Lady Knox
A few hundred meters by car from Wai-O-Tapu you will also find Lady Knox. Lady Knox is a geyser who, with a little human help, sprays rays of warm water 20 meters to the sea every day at 1015.
Perhaps as interesting as the “splash” itself is the guide’s account of the area in general and the geyser in particular. The information starts at 10.00. A simple seating stand is made right next to Lady Knox (ie the geyser).
“The entrance fee is included when you purchase a ticket to Wai-O-Tapu.
Tourist in Rotorua
Rotorua can be found on the North Island of New Zealand, in the Bay of Plenty region, about 3 hours drive from Auckland. The entry road into Rotorua gives few – if any – associations that you have now arrived at a peculiar and quite beautiful and popular holiday town. On the contrary.
The road towards downtown is called Lake Road and hints at the proximity to Lake Rotorua. There are several motels along Lake Road and these are both affordable and of good standard.
The town of Rotorua itself is built up (halfway) around the lake and it is when you take off Lake Road to Memorial Road Road towards the lake’s port area that the impression of Rotorua improves. The lake is a beautiful and very conspicuous sight, where steam from the thermal springs magically rises out of the water, not unlike a autumn day in Norway. Rotorua is definitely a place for reflection.
Rotorua is not a big city, almost 70,000 inhabitants, and you get a quick overview of the city center. In any case, the bit that interests tourists the most.
There is a nice little walk along the lake as you approach the Government Garden, inside of Memorial Drive. Here you can take pictures of the black swans found in large numbers. Here you will also find some children’s playgrounds, and a little further inland, along Fenton Street and Tutanekai Street, you can stay right in the heart of Rotorua, at either Ibis or Novotel.
The latter hotel is also the place to book tickets for various Maori performances at the hotel or in the Tamaki Maori Village in Government Garden.
From the harbor you can take boat trips on the lake, or take seaplanes and helicopters over volcanoes. The promenade ends at the Motutara Golf Course or in the Government Garden.
Government Garden in Rotorua
Of course, large and beautiful Government Garden must be admired, and if you follow Queens Drive into the park you will come straight to the picturesque Rotorua Museum. Here you will also find beautiful trees, grass bowling lanes and naturally enough geothermal baths and hot springs. And not least you will find Tamaki Maori Village here.
Close to the museum there is also a Polynesian spa which is a favorite place to visit if you want to treat your body a little relaxation and peace of mind. And there are treatments tailored to both genders so everyone in the family can participate.
At the entrance to the Government Garden you will see the historic Hotel Princes Gates Hotel. The name, of course, is as it is because the hotel is less than a stone’s throw from the Goverment Garden entrance portal and reads the name Princes Gates. Dating back to 1897, Princes Gates Hotel offers food and beverages as well as accommodation.
If you walk the streets of Queens Drive and Arawa Street you will first pass the large tourist information center with the clock tower donated by the people of Rotorua, then some “shopping centers” and specialty shops, before arriving at “Eat Street”. This restaurant street is actually part of Tutanekai Street and has some very good eateries.
We simply loved Leonardo’s (at the intersection of Haupapa Street / “Eat Street” and Pukaki Street). Leonardo is a resident of a small village just outside of Florence, and he has taken it real with him from Italy. Eat Street is the natural meeting place in Rotorua in the evening. Arawa Street’s parallel streets also have some pubs, eateries and shops as well.
If you continue to Arawa Street or Haupapa Street to the end you will come to Kuirau Park which has several geothermal springs where you can get in close contact with nature’s wonders. Discard your shoes and take a foot bath in heated spring water. There are also barbecue facilities for a family picnic.
Further behind this park you come to Old Taupo Road where you will find the attraction Rotorua Canopy tour.