Rotorua Tourist Attractions
Due to the crowds of visitors coming to take the cure or merely to see the sights, Rotorua has now grown into a town of 54,000 inhabitants, with numerous hotels, motels, motor camps and other accommodations.
There are pubs and restaurants of all types and various souvenir shops. For visitors approaching Rotorua from the south on Highway 5 it is like entering some kind of theme park.As a result of the many private boreholes that have been drilled to supply water for baths and for heating, geothermal activity has declined sharply in some places. There are now restrictions on the use of thermal water.The country round lakes Rotorua and Tarawera, south of the Bay of Plenty, with its variety of volcanic phenomena, is the longest-established and most visited tourist area in New Zealand. All over this landscape are jets of hot steam issuing from clefts in the ground, geysers shooting water high into the air, bubbling pools of mud and glinting deposits of minerals all the colors of the rainbow on the hot subsoil, and everywhere there is a smell of sulfur, of greater or lesser intensity. The settlers who came here in the 19th C were filled with a mixture of curiosity, fear and wonder. The local Maoris had come to terms with their environment: they bathed in the thermal water and used it for heating and cooking. Later they acted as guides for white visitors. The tourist high spots in the 19th C were the gleaming pink and white sinter terraces at Lake Rotomahana, which were regarded as one of the natural wonders of the world.
The magnificent Government Gardens, which include a park and sports grounds, lie directly on the shores of the lake. They are trim and well cared for, the flowers providing a riot of color. Visitors can simply stroll in the park or play golf or games if they prefer.
The memorial set up in 1927 to commemorate those who fell in the First World War depicts the varied links between Maoris and whites (the Arawa ancestral canoe, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, British kings and queens, a missionary preaching).
Rotorua Museum of Art and History (formerly Tudor Towers)
The most eye-catching feature in Government Gardens is the old half-timbered Bathhouse of Rotorua. Since the opening of a new spa establishment in the 1960s the former Bathhouse now contains the Rotorua Museum of Art and History. The promenade of Rotorua's famous Bathhouse is open to the public to access the roof of the iconic building.Visitors are given a cinema experience through 'Rotorua Stories' which highlights the world famous Pink and White Terraces, the devastating eruption of Mount Tarawera, the story of the Bathhouse and the history of the Arawa people.
Behind the Rotorua Museum of Art and History is a modern spa establishment, providing for a variety of sports. Its particular attraction is the three Polynesian Pools, which are supplied with water by three different springs. The whole area is pervaded with the scent of orchids.Polynesian Spa is New Zealand's leading international spa. Overlooking Lake Rotorua Polynesian Spa offers relaxation in 26 hot mineral spring pools in four areas (deluxe, adult, private, family pools), a Hot Springs Café and a Spa Essentials store. Visitors can indulge in a range of sumptuous hydro and dry spa relaxation therapies.
Northwest of the town is Mount Ngongotaha (757m). From its viewing platform there are marvelous views of the town and the lake. The easiest way up is in the Skyline Gondola (lower station in Fairy Spring Road).
From Rotorua there are boat trips to Mokoia Island, in the middle of the lake.
Maori Arts and Crafts Institute
The Maori Arts and Crafts Institute is designed to preserve the heritage of Maori people and help promote the skills of Maori arts and crafts. Visitors can tour the Arts and Crafts Gallery and watch craftsmen at work. There is also a lunch time concert.
More Rotorua Pictures
Map of Rotorua Attractions