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Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua, New ZealandRotorua Scenic Highlights

Rotorua | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Rotorua has a truly beautiful landscape, shaped over millions of years by volcanic activity. There are many amazing attractions and things to see in Rotorua.

Rotorua Scenic Highlights Overview

Beneath Rotorua, the forces that have shaped the landscape are still at work. Over millions of years, volcanic action has created mountains, lakes and large areas of geothermal activity. The scenery has a highly unique type of beauty.

Some of Rotorua's finest scenic highlights include Mount Tarawera, Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa, Whirinaki Forest Park and the thermal village of Ohinemutu.

» Rotorua Attractions Directory

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Mount Tarawera - Sacred Volcano, Landmark and Playground

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand ( Mount Tarawera, Rotorua, New Zealand
Mount Tarawera, Rotorua
Photographer: Hiroshi Nameda

Mount Tarawera plays an important role in the history of New Zealand and the Rotorua region. It is sacred and under the guardianship of the Ngati Rangitihi Maori tribe.

In the 1800s, the Tarawera region was the centre of tourism in New Zealand. People travelled from all over the world to view the famous Pink and White Silica Terraces, which were quickly becoming known as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'.

The Terraces were destroyed on the 10th June 1886, in an eruption which killed over 150 people and devastated much of the surrounding landscape. Violent explosions excavated huge craters, one of which is now filled by Lake Rotomahana.

You can walk, hike, take a helicopter or enjoy a 4WD (four-wheel drive) trip to the top of the now dormant Mount Tarawera. The more adventurous can enjoy a scree run down into the crater.

A sense of magnitude still exists when one stands on the summit peaks and peers into the crater of this sleeping giant. The natural landscape today is testimony to the incredible earth forces of the region.

» Mt Tarawera Information

Geothermal Activity is Almost Everywhere You Look

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand ( Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua, New Zealand
Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua
Photographer: Chris McLennan

The Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa in Rotorua erupts in a steamy display of the Earth's awesome power.

Sneaky threads of steam issue from parks, pathways and streets in Rotorua, and the occasional scent of sulphur wafts through the air.

Minutes from the city centre, geysers of steaming water roar from the ground. Pools of bubbling mud gurgle and belch. In geothermal fields around Rotorua, steam rises from placid lakes and flowing streams. Dazzling silica terraces display a kaleidoscope of colour.

Towering volcanoes, now sleeping giants, are unmistakable reminders of the landscape's turbulent past. Extinct volcanic craters provide the vessels for Rotorua's crystal lakes.

And to round off a day of geothermal exploration, relax in pools of naturally heated mineral water and experience for yourself why Rotorua is called 'Nature's Spa of the South Pacific'.

» Rotorua Geothermal Directory

Forest trails and waterfalls

Whakarewarewa Forest - One of Rotorua's most beautiful natural assets and just a five minute drive from the city centre. You can take a leisurely walk under the towering Californian redwoods, hike to panoramic views of the city and lakes, take a horse trek or hire a mountain bike to speed through the trees.

Okere Falls Scenic Reserve - Located 21 kilometres from Rotorua on Trout Pool Road off State Highway 33. There is a well-formed walking track with scenic lookouts over the Okere River and its spectacular waterfalls. The Okere River is the traditional river of Ngati Pikiao, a Te Arawa sub-tribe, who have made their home here for many years.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand ( Fungi at Whirinaki Forest Park, Rotorua, New Zealand
Fungi at Whirinaki Forest Park
Photographer: Whirinaki Rainforest
Guided Walks

Whirinaki Forest Park - Located 90 kilometres south-east of Rotorua, off State Highway 38. The park, known as a 'dinosaur forest', has many tall trees that are centuries old. Sights include giant podocarps, views of the river cutting through an ancient lava flow and caves with pumice deposits—remnants of the Taupo eruption nearly 2,000 years ago.

» Whirinaki Forest Park Travel Directory

Ohinemutu at the edge of the lake

The thermal village of Ohinemutu was the region's original Ngati Whakaue settlement. The site was chosen because it had geothermal resources that could be used for cooking, bathing and heating.

A feature of Ohinemutu is St Faiths Church, built in Tudor style in 1910. Its interior is richly decorated in woven and painted wall hangings and decorations. A window looking out over the lake shows a Maori Christ, in a traditional Maori cloak, who appears to be walking on the water.

» Geothermal Activity Information

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Rotorua Region Information

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Mainstay NZ Hotels

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Choice Hotels

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Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.