Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, 20 minutes south of Rotorua.
Rotorua – also known as Sulphur City – is one of New Zealand’s primary attractions, with its geothermal activity, hissing randomly venting steam, chromatic yellow/orange streaks of mineral crystals in deep, bubbling pools, wisps of stinky sulphur smoke drifting among the trees and boiling grey mud creating art nouveau visions. But that’s not all. . .
The Rotorua region, with its lakes, rivers and forests in addition to volcanic activity, has developed into a major tourist hub offering a vast range of sporting opportunities that only the ever-active Kiwis could imagine, from the normal – hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting – to the less usual – bungee jumping, sky diving, jet boating – to the positively mad adrenalin activities – zorbing (bouncing down a hillside encased in a transparent plastic ball), luge (kind of toboggan) racing down a mountainside and scree-sliding into a volcano, among others things. . .
And Rotorua’s not just about seeing bubbling mud, tourists can also take mud baths and soak in therapeutic spa waters.
A Maori Culture Village experience, Rotorua.
Touristy and artificial but nevertheless interesting is the Maori experience around Rotorua where tourists can visit different mock-traditional villages and see housing, singing, dancing, listen to legends and taste the indigenous cuisine.
Rotorua Bath House, 1908, in the City of Rotorua and now a museum. Photo by Margojh.
Getting there: Rotorua is in the centre of new Zealand’s North Island, 230 kms (140 miles) south-east of Auckland, and 80 kms (50 miles) north of Taupo.