Rotorua is located in the central part of New Zealands North Island. From Auckland it’s about a three-hour drive to the South East. Rotorua is a perfect weekend destination or a stop-over destination on your New Zealand road trip.
You may think you've come to the wrong place when you travel all the way to Rotorua on the North Island of New Zealand and only find a small and ordinary provincial town. But appearances are deceptive, because it is what's beneath the ground that's the major attraction in Rotorua.
Rotorua is one of the most active geothermal areas in New Zealand. The smell of sulphur is the first thing you notice when you get into town, and at the various hotels and hostels there are plenty of opportunities to take a dip into the hot tub or swim in the pools, which of course are heated by the warm waters of the underground.
Just a little South of Rotorua you will find a big area with geysers, boiling mud and steam rising up in the sky. Stay on the pathways in the area, because the soil is treacherous and in many places burning hot.
New Zealand's original inhabitants, the Maoris, are also a big part of the Rotorua area. More than a third of the population here is Maori. And you need to concentrate when pronouncing the local place names. How about this one: "Whakarewarewa"? The Maoris goes about 500 years back in this area and you will find a village and a Maori cultural center on site that tells about New Zealand's indigenous culture.
Largest geyser in New Zealand
"Whakarewarewa" is also a place with a boiling underground and it's the home of New Zealand's largest geyser, the Pohutu. It's worth a visit.
Sheep, sheep, sheep
If you are into "Dolly" entertainment, take a swing by the "Agrodome", which presents a family friendly show with sheep. You may not believe it, but the Agrodome is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of New Zealand.