Rotorua is located in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, and the tourism industry is at the heart of the “Second Lake” district. In 2010 Rotorua’s estimated population was 68,600 people, but 3.2 million people visited the region, showing in pure numbers that it is a very popular destination. So why do people flock to this district?
Hot Springs. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity, and features geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa (which spurts up to twenty times per day and can reach heights of up to 30 meters) – and hot mud pools. The city has earned the nickname Sulphur City, because of the hydrogen sulphide emissions, which gives the city a “rotten eggs” smell, but residents say that the smell is just one drawback to a city full of amazing sights and culture.
Another main attraction at Wai-O-Tapu is the Lady Knox Geyser, which can be seen erupting daily at 10:15am. Eruptions produce a jet of water reaching up to 20m and can last for over an hour.
There are many more geothermal areas worth visiting than can be listed here, but be assured that there is something for everyone including private spas, waterfalls, warm footbaths, and tranquil gardens.
Pro Tip: residents of Rotorua are used to the sulfur smell and will tell you it doesn’t bother them, but for visitors it can be overwhelming at first. The best solution is to bring along some Vick’s Vapor Rub and smear a bit under your nose when arriving at the hot springs. You’ll be inhaling a cool, menthol-esque vapor instead of rotten eggs, and your nose will thank you for it.
Despite all the spas and relaxation pools you can find in Rotorua, the city is also a desirable destination for thrill seekers. You can find everything from skydiving and luging to zorbing and one of New Zealand’s best mountain bike circuits.
With such a successful tourism industry there is no shortage of places to stay while visiting Rotorua. Here are a few of the more popular (and extremely affordable) locations to rest your head after an adventurous day.
Have you been to Rotorua? Tell us about your stay and the highlights of your trip!