ROTORUA, a “geo-thermal wonderland” is a city in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand’s North Island, just 60 km south of TAURANGA, 80 km north of TAUPO, 105km east of HAMILTON and 230 km south-east of the nation’s most populous city ———- AUCKLAND.


The name ROTORUA comes from Maori, the full name being Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamonioeu ; “roto” means “lake” and “rua” means “two”  — ROTORUA thus means SECOND LAKE.  There are a number of lakes, found to the north-east, all connected with the ROTORUA CALDERA and nearby Mount Tarawera.  The name can also mean the equally appropriate CRATER LAKE.


Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotorua’s tourist appeal.  There are Geysers, 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.

Rotorua government gardens

In KUIRAU PARK, to the west end of Rotorua, hot bubbling mud pools dot the park.  Visitors can soak ther feet in hot pools.  Rotorua has the nickname SULPHUR CITY because of the hydrogen sulphide emissions, which give Rotorua a “rotten eggs” smell, as well as rotten-rua combining its legitimate name and the rotten smell prevalent.  The especially pungent smell in the central east TE NGAE area is due to the southern boundary of the Government Gardens, in the area known as SULPHUR POINT.


The Rotorua region has 17 lakes, known collectively as the Lakes of Rotorua. Fishing, water-skiing, swimming and other water activities are popular in summer. The lakes are also used for event venues.  Rotorua hosted the 2007 World Water-ski Championships and lake Rotorua  was the venue for the World Blind Sailing Championships in March 2009.  Lake Rotorua is also used as a departure and landing point for float planes.


Rotorua is also home to botanical gardens and historic architecture.  Known as a SPA TOWN and major resort since the 1800s, many of its buildings hint at this history.  Government Gardens are a particular point of pride.  The Rotorua Museum of Art & History is housed in the large Tudor Style bath-house building, while the Art Deco Style BLUE BATHS, noted for their mixed-sex bathing in the 1930s remain open today.

Rotorua - Red Wood Forest Walk 024

Another of Rotorua’s attractions is “mountain biking”.  WHAKAREWAREWA FOREST was listed as one of the Top 8 locations globally by Red Bull Magazine in2012.  The forest includes over 100km of “mountain bike trails”, and in August 2006 was host to the UCI Mountain Bike Trials Championships.  Rotorua is New Zealand’s COOLEST HOT SPOT.

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