Introduction: Sunrise over the steaming waters of Lake Rotorua evokes a spirit of primeval simplicity - the awe-inspiring evidence of nature at work. The region’s 16 major lakes, brimming with brown and rainbow trout, are punctuated with spouting geysers and bubbling mud pools, where sulphurous fumes assault the nostrils of arriving visitors. Strangely, one soon becomes acclimatized to the infamous eggy smell. Rotorua’s proud history of tourism and hospitality stretches back to the late 1800’s, when Maori guides plied the waters of Lake Rotomahana taking tourists to view the Pink and White Terraces. Though the Terraces were destroyed by the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886, Rotorua remains the North Island’s No 1 tourist destination, attracting thousands of visitors every year keen to explore this thermal wonderland. The area’s many natural delights are complemented by a swathe of adventure activities, from 4WD crater tours and white water rafting to luge and zorb rides. The perfect finale to the day, a dip in the local therapeutic waters, has been a highlight here for decades. Central to all this is Rotorua’s Maori culture. With its rich tapestry of legend, highly specialized use of local resources, and legacy of manaakitanga (respectful courtesy and hospitality), the local Te Arawa iwi (tribe) offers visitors a glimpse of Maori lifestyle, crafts and psyche through a range of marae (meeting place) visits, craft demonstrations and evening performances.
Hot mud pool in Rotorua