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Rotorua Tourism And Travel Guide
16.5° C / 61.7° F
December to February
3 to 5 Days
Rotorua Regional Airport (6 kms)
Have you ever wondered if an ancient tribe and their culture could transition to the modern day world gracefully? Can they cope up with the fast-paced life while keeping their valuable traditions alive? Well, the answer can be found in Rotorua, where the Te Arawa tribe of the Maori people have been thriving for centuries. In the northern island of New Zealand, at the centre of some spectacular geothermal activity lies Rotorua, a city that has captivated the imagination of people for more than two centuries. Using this travel guide for Rotorua you may be able to picture what is in store should you chose to visit the magnificent place and enjoy its tourism.
How To Reach
Rotorua is one of the most convenient locations to travel to in New Zealand. With great public transportation systems in place from both Wellington and Auckland, travelling to Rotorua should be a breeze. The ideal way to get to Rotorua would be by taking a flight to Auckland and then taking a bus to the city.
Rotorua has a domestic airport that is connected to the rest of the country, so if you book from India the chance of making two stops are high; one outside New Zealand and another one at Auckland or Christchurch. Once at Rotorua Airport you can use the bus or taxi services available to get to the city. There are also rental options for those interested.
Rotorua is connected to the rest of the Northern Island by a series of well-planned State Highways. If you are planning to make a stop at either Auckland or Wellington before travelling to Rotorua, you will find the bus services from either city very convenient. Hiring a taxi or better even, renting a car are some other options available to travellers.
Hiring a car makes commuting within the city very convenient, that way you can travel hassle-free to destinations that are not connected by buses. For a budget-friendly trip, though, intra-city bus service is the best go. Most parks and tours often provide pick up and drop services that you can utilize for far-off destinations.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The climate of Rotorua is typical of New Zealand, with warm summers and chilly winters. Though it is a year-round destination, summers are the best time to visit.
Summer: (December to February)
A typical summer evening is pleasant with temperatures averaging around 21°C while the day can be quite warm with temperatures reaching 29°C. The best thing about summer is its incredibly long daytime making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the city. It also features a number of festivals showcasing the spectacular culture of the city.
Autumn: (March to May)
Autumn is a magical time in Rotorua with comfortable temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. It is time for outdoor activities, especially for mountain biking. Almost all activities that were open during the summer can still be experienced in the autumn.
Winter: (June to August)
Winters are cool with night-time temperature dropping to 9°C. The days are rather pleasant with temperatures nearing 15°C. Winters are the best time to truly enjoy Rotorua’s geothermal landscape. The hot springs and the mud baths are best enjoyed while the chill of winter is still about.
Spring: (September to November)
With autumn-like temperatures ranging from 13°C to 21°C, spring is also a great time to visit. Of course, the golden Hue of autumn is replaced with a vibrant spectrum of colours, but this only makes hiking and mountain biking equally exciting. Springs are usually quiet without many tourists, so it is a great time for solitary travellers. A number of festivals like the Rotorua Bike Festival happen during the season.
Things To Do
Immersing in Maori traditions, relaxing at spas and exploring the untouched forests and the volcanic craters are only a few of the things you can do at Rotorua. Here is a list of some of the best that Rotorua has to offer.
The first advertisements for Rotorua featured mud baths and hot springs having healing properties. Rotorua has been attracting tourists from world over to its inviting pools since then. Among the best-known pools are Polynesian Spa and Hells Gate. Pools have different kinds of minerals; therefore each pool has a different purpose. Some of the services you can look for include massage therapies and facials.
Explore Maori Traditions:
The members of Te Arawa are very hospitable people and they have enthusiastically taken it upon themselves to educate interested visitors about their rich traditions. At the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, you can find traditional arts like weaving and carving being passed down to a passionate youth. You can also arrange to stay at their villages; this way you will be able to explore the culture in detail.
Visit Rotorua Museum:
The museum is the best place to go to, to understand the exciting history of Rotorua. They paint a fascinating picture beginning from the first Maori settlers, their stories and legends, the discovery of Rotorua by the Europeans, the tourism explosion to visit the famed pink and white terraces to the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera.
Hiking at Hell’s Gate:
Rotorua is home to some very spectacular landscapes, some of which are at Hell’s Gate Park. The trail covers different sections named after their speciality. For instance, Bush Walks covers a patch of land where New Zealand’s symbolic silver fern grows and Steaming Cliffs is dressed in steam because of its very hot springs. The park is also home to strange things like a 40°C waterfall, the Kahaki Falls and land corals!
Before the 1886 eruption, Waimangu was a scenic location that sheltered the pink and white terraces. The landscape has changed dramatically since then. Mount Tarawera now has three large craters and the entire region has split forming a deep valley. There are guided hikes that explore the region in detail. Boating cruises around the lake are available and is a great way to explore the scenery that now defines Waimangu.
Biking at the Redwoods:
The forest of Whakarewarewa is known among the mountain biking community for its motor friendly yet challenging trails. There are a number of trails available that bikers can choose from based on difficulty and duration. Maps and bike rentals are available to open up the experience to tourists. There are also some services that drop bikers of at the start of certain trails so they can have a fresh start.
Rotorua is a dream place for foodies. Not only do they have traditional Maori Cuisines that will enchant your taste buds, but they also have restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world. Some of the finest international restaurants include Sabroso Restaurant featuring South American and Caribbean food, The Factory Smoke House and Grill specializing in European food, Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant with tons of popular Indian dishes and Pizzeria Imperfetto starring a variety of contemporary and traditional pizza recipes. The Eat Street overlooking Lake Tutanekai is a hub for good food joints, restaurants and cafés.
It would be an incomplete trip if you did not have a chance to taste some native preparation. The early Maori settlers integrated their lifestyle with the geothermal energy that was all around them leading to their fireless cooking techniques. A lot of their food is either cooked by holding up a woven basket over steaming hot pools or by directly dipping vegetables into the pools. Tours at Te Puia come with a Steam Box Lunch option where you can even pick the food you want and watch it being cooked. Market Kitchen, Mokoia Restaurant and Charles Royal Maori Food are other great places for enticing indigenous cuisines.
Rotorua, so steeped in culture and traditions, is one of the best places to unleash the shopping frenzy. With a wide range of galleries, museums and private art spaces, Rotorua is the hotspot for some fine art. Influenced by its rich Maori culture, the region's artists produce some of the finest art you will come across. Souvenir shopping here is quite a unique experience. One can find a wide number of stores selling garments that represent Rotorua’s cultural depth.
The Ahu Boutique is one of the major attractions for garment shopping. ‘Pounamu’ which is the local name for Jade makes for one of the best souvenirs one can take back. Carved into elegant shapes, the Mountain Jade makes some of the most beautiful Jade souvenirs.
In Rotorua, one can also find a number of luxury shopping retails and malls with world famous brands and stores. For those who want to enjoy the outdoors of the city, a number of stores selling equipment for outdoor sports like mountain bikes, footwear and fishing equipment can be found here.