SUMMER SPECIAL: Why Rotorua is hot stuff as a holiday destination
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Rotorua is a place that can improve both mind and body. It’s a great holiday destination with 18 lakes and three rivers in the immediate vicinity – ideal for a driving tour.
But it’s also rightly regarded as one of New Zealand’s adventure capitals.
At Velocity Valley you’ll find the Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme (just like parachuting… but without the plane) and pedal-powered Shweeb Racer monorail. Rotorua Canopy Tours can take you through ancient forest by zipline and swing bridges, Skyline Rotorua offers the Luge and Skyswing, Zorb giant inflatable balls to ride downhill and a plethora of off-road action, with companies like 4WD Bush Safari, Monster 4x4 and Off Road NZ.
But it’s also a place to immerse yourself in Maori culture, take in the wonders of the geothermal landscape or simply revitalise at one of many spa and wellness centres.
For many, the geothermal landscape is what makes Rotorua really special. The best place to experience it is Te Puia, a 70-hectare site within the historic Te Whakarewarewa Valley, on the edge of the city. Visitors have been coming here for 170 years.
Te Puia is home to the Pohutu geyser (the largest in the Southern Hemisphere), mud pools, hot springs and silica formations. But you can also watch master carvers and weavers at work, and hear expert guides pass down stories from their ancestors. Or see live kiwi in the new Kiwi Conservation Centre.
A single day pass at Te Puia gives visitors access to Ahua Gallery, geothermal walks on 60 hectares of natural terrain, the Kiwi Conservation Centre, Maori carving and weaving, a glimpse into how the Maori people lived prior to European settlement, and the full guided tour with insight into Te Puia’s history and lineage.