THINGS TO DO IN ROTORUA New Zealand
The Amazing ROTORUA
Rotorua is A popular destination for those who love paradises where ancient cultures and unspoiled nature mix to recreate a place of stupendous wonders.
The city of Rotorua is an area strongly influenced by tourism since the 19th Century. Thanks to its thermal springs, Rotorua is a health resort with good tourist infrastructure.
The city has 70,000 inhabitants, of which about 35% belongs to Maori’s culture. The city is in fact is very influenced by its inhabitants and have a strong influence as a tourist attraction.
The things to do and see in Rotorua are endless … The city is surrounded by many ponds, volcanoes … a set of natural wonders worth living and admiring… If you just want to relax, Rotorua is the ideal place for its thermal and therapeutic springs …. the most famous are the Hells Gate and the Polynesian Spa…people who live in Rotorua dig a hole in the garden and find themselves an SPA directly at home!
Culture also thrills in those parts; many museums to visit and many attractions of the “Maori” people will accompany you for an unforgettable journey with their somewhat excellent cuisine.
Their typical dish is “Hangi”, smoked-ground meat and vegetables.
The city welcomes the charm of culture and history, for decades the Maori have welcomed tourists into their homes in the middle of the geysers and thermal waters. In Rotorua there are the Maori, there are volcanoes, lakes, rivers, greenery and hills …
When you stroll through the streets of Rotorua city, you get a very different air than in other places in New Zealand. The strong smell of sulfur in the air and the clouds of steam envelop the city in a mysterious veil. This atmosphere seems to come from another world.
It is a destination not to be missed.
Breathtaking place, in Maori language means “sacred waters” considered a protected area since 1931 that surprises for its countless attractions: geysers, thermal springs, bubbling mud pools and brightly colored sulfur deposits.
The natives attribute a mystical role to the power of the surrounding nature. It is no coincidence that the area has numerous surreal-looking pools of water, such as the disquieting acid green Devil’s Bath.
In this place we can admire the fantastic Champagne Pool which is a spectacular volcanic lake with a diameter of 65 meters, so named for the presence of carbon dioxide which favors the formation of air bubbles. It was created over a millennium ago following a powerful hydrothermal eruption. 60 meters deep and offers strong chromatic contrasts that change as the wind changes: from yellow-sulfur to white-silica, from red-iron oxide to black-sulfur / carbon, and again gold, silver, mercury, arsenic. The particular shades are due to the presence of minerals dissolved in the water at very high temperatures, which can reach 74 C.
Another natural attraction of the park is the Mud Pool, a seething pool that gives the opportunity to witness real mud eruptions. It was a mud volcano destroyed by erosion in the 1920s.
2) MITAI MAORI VILLAGE EXPERIENCE IN ROTORUA
Mitai Maori is undoubtedly one of the favorite villages to immerse yourself in an indigenous culture and its interesting traditions.
It is not just a village but a true center of Maori culture, a people who will welcome you in friendship showing you all their knowledge, customs and traditions.
From their dances, to their very complicated language, but why not learn a few words …. they will serve you their typical cuisine, very original and good, just like the “Hangi”.
They will teach us a lot about hospitality and brotherhood and show us those sacred places that they admire and jealously guard.
An experience that should not be missed for a real journey that enriches our soul.
3) ZORBING BALL
It is a very famous outdoor activity which is called zorbing ball or globe-riding.
There are versions of it in different parts of the world, but here in New Zealand it is certainly something more, a very fun pastime that allows fun for both children and adults; with all the hills that characterize Rotorua this “sport” can be practiced in different areas.
It is a recreational activity consisting of rolling down a hill enclosed in a large sphere, generally made of transparent plastic, called “zorb”. This “sport” was invented by David and Andrew Akers in 1994. It is typically performed on a gentle slope, but can also be done on a flat surface, allowing for greater control. In the absence of hills, some zorbing park managers have built wooden, metal, or inflatable ramps.
There are two types of zorbing: “dry zorb” and “wet zorb”, (with or without a sling).
Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, or simply Redwoods Forest, is a forest near Rotorua. Inside there are many species of indigenous and non-native trees, planted to verify their adaptability in the past, to be able to exploit the timber.
Today this place is a meeting point for tourists and locals, as it represents a large free park where you can carry out any type of outdoor activity, from trekking to mountain biking.
The history and culture surrounding the redwood forest with its various outdoor recreational opportunities, wide range of exotic tree species, scenic views and proximity to lakes, spas and the city center have made this forest one of Rotorua’s most spectacular natural resources and one of the city’s greatest treasures.
Over 5600 hectares of forest with fantastic mountain bike trails, among the Californian redwoods and fresh air, a set of combinations that create a relaxing atmosphere and a truly unique and special environment.
In this forest we can find the wonderful and now very famous “Redwood Tree walk”.
The Redwoods Tree walk is a 700 m walkway, which consists of a series of 28 suspension bridges spanning the spaces between 27 majestic 117-year-old Redwood trees.
5) TE PUIA
Te Puia is also located in the Rotorui district, and is probably the place that teaches us the real Maori culture.
Here you can take part in the demonstration that allows us to immerse ourselves in ancient traditions, with their many songs and dances such as the typical and very famous “Haka”.
Like all of Rotorua District, Te Puia is also known for its lively geothermal activity. It is not uncommon to encounter sulphates and waters that bubble from the ground but also magnificent geysers with jets of hot water up to 70 meters such as the Pohutu Geyser which is located right inside the Te Puia center.
With its continuous activity that has lasted for many years, the geyser has formed a white limestone hill where the hot water creates small waterfalls until it reaches the enchanting green lake.
It is possible to admire it very closely but always in total safety. There are several vantage points ideal for taking pictures even if, be ready, the jet of water will not fail to bathe you a little at times, thanks to the wind.
If you hear a strange croak or similar sound, not far from the geyser, it is because you are not far from “The frog pool”. It is a 6 to 10 meter deep pool of hot mud that literally simmers like “polenta” in a pot. The temperatures of this mud reach even 100 degrees. They are beneficial mud but you have to let them cool!
6) THE LAKES
Intense volcanic activity has given rise to seventeen lakes around Rotorua. Between them, the blue lake “Tikitapu” and the green lake “Rotokakahi” (both close to Redwoods) are the most beautiful in the region.
The blue lake owes its color to the deposits of igneous rock, while the color of the green lake is due to the sand accumulated at shallow depths.
Close to the blue lake, the green lake is a Maori sacred place and its access is strictly forbidden to the public.
However, we can get a glimpse of it from the different nearby headlands.
The legend of the ghost canoe is still very popular since the eruption of Mt Tarawera, which buried an entire village in 1886. A ghost village among the lakes that can be safely visited.
A disaster that has not deterred the survivors and the Maori community of Rotorua is now the most important in the country.
7) MAORI CULTURE AND ROTORUA MUSEUM
They are called “Tikis” and are the totem poles carved in red painted thumbs mark the entrance to the “Paepaekumana”, known today as the famous “Government Gardens” of Rotorua. This ancient battlefield is particularly important to the Maori who came to the British crown in the late 19th century.
The proximity of “Sulfur Point” explains the smell of rotten eggs that permeates the area. But this little problem doesn’t stop visitors from appreciating the English garden.
There are large rose beds, ponds with large water lilies and green lawns where well-dressed locals enjoy playing croquet.
The Rotorua Museum is one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand. This former spa is built in an elegant Tudor style. It takes about two hours to explore the large internal galleries without rushing the visit.