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21 Gorgeous Images of Rotorua, New Zealand
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21 Gorgeous Images of Rotorua, New Zealand

Picture of Joe Coates
Updated: 23 January 2018
Rotorua is a town in the North Island famed for it’s geothermal activity and Maori culture. If you’re looking for a place to get a genuine feel for Maori culture then Rotorua should be your first port of call. No visit would be complete, however, without checking out some of the spectacular geysers, mud-pools, lakes and spas in the area. Here is a little preview of what you can expect on your next visit.

Rotorua takes its name from the lake on which it’s situated. At 79.8 square kilometres, it is the second-largest lake in New Zealand. Surprisingly, its average depth is only about ten metres, which makes it considerably smaller in terms of water volume than nearby Lake Tarewera.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Rotorua could almost be considered the Lake District of the North Island, with its 16 separate lakes. Swimming, boating and picnicking are all popular pastimes, as is fishing. There are three types of trout in the lakes – Brown, Brook and Rainbow – and they’re all delicious.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Walking through and around some of the geothermal sites in Rotorua is like stepping through a curtain of time, back to when creatures were only just pulling themselves from the primordial soup.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Whakarewarewa, Waimangu, Waiotapu, Orakei Korako and Tikitere – or the demonically and ominously named Hell’s Gate – are the five main areas of geothermal activity that can be visited.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Whakarewarewa is a living village where you can still see local Maori people making traditional carvings and weaving. It is also the site of the largest geyser in the country and about 500 hot springs.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Hell’s Gate is one of the most popular and the fiercest of Rotorua’s geothermal attractions. Among other things it has the largest hot water waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a geothermal celebrity!

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

For a great excursion, head to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Relax in the warm waters among the ferns and native trees.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Wai-O-Tapu is New Zealand’s most colourful geothermal attraction, and showcases the country’s stark natural beauty.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

There are unique sites around every corner in this part of the country. And you’ll soon get used to the smell.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

The Rotorua area will leave your eyes, ears and nose reeling.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

There are several companies that will take you on unbelievable whitewater rafting, kayaking or sledging trips.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Get the adrenaline levels jacked up on the Kaituna, Wairoa, Rangitaiki and Tongariro Rivers.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

There are rafting and kayaking experiences for all levels. If you’re feeling particularly daring, why not head down the seven-metre Kaituna Waterfall?

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Come rain or shine, each of the 16 lakes has its charms.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

There are plenty of ways to get around the lakes, whether you want to go for a solo kayak or take a pleasure cruise on the Lakeland Queen.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Tongariro National Park is another nearby natural feature that deserves some serious exploring.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

It is the oldest national park in the country. It is also, amazingly, the fourth oldest national park in the world.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

There are plenty of walks and hikes in Tongariro National Park, for all levels of fitness.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Get lost in the native treetops.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

On a good day, why not hire out a jetski, find yourself a deserted lake and let rip?

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip

Rotorua is definitely worth a visit. The lakes in particular, during the summer, are a fantastic way to whittle away a week or so. If you’re a nature-lover then swing by and throw your watch away.

Jason Kane /
Jason Kane / | © Culture Trip