A large city located in “thermal valley” of the North Island of New Zealand. In addition to thermal pools, the a Redwood Forest with mountain biking and hiking is just minutes away. Many other sites can easily be reached within a short car ride.
Things To Do
1) Redwoods Forest (Whakarewarewa)
Located a few minutes outside of town, the Redwood Forest has a handful of well marked hiking tracks that range in duration from 30 minutes to 8 hours. Also is touted as a premier mountain biking destination with a number of dedicated trails.
2) Thermal Pools / Polynesian Spa
There are a number of thermal pools and spas in the area. The Polynesian Spa was located on the lake within a short walk from city centre. A number of different types of pools, including private pools and spa treatments were available. The spa is open daily from 8am to 11p. Although we talked about visiting on multiple occasions, we never actually made it to any of the thermal pools!
There are a handful of options for hiking in the area. We enjoyed the one and half hour (5.5km) stroll around the Blue Lake. The lake is located about 8km outside of town across the street from a Top 10 Holiday Park. See the New Zealand Department of Conservation website for some additional hiking options in the Rotoru area.
At 10:15 daily there is a presentation followed by an induced eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser, which draws large crowds. To avoid crowds, consider completing the 75 minute track through the park to view the volcanic features before heading down the road to the view the geyser eruption. Our favorite geothermal attraction in the park was the champagne pool.
Located 20 minutes from Rotorua and 0 minutes from Taupo , Waimangu is the world’s youngest geothermal system. Waimangu has a number of geothermal features including hot springs, volcanic craters and steaming cliffs. There are a number of nature walks available, as well as a cruise on Lake Roromahana. Unfortunately, we did not make it to visit this attraction, so we can not provide first hand details on the experience.
Located in the heart of the city, the Quest Serviced Apartments were wonderful. They were clean, spacious, and quiet. We were thankful for the kitchen in order to cook our Christmas feast, and some of the small things (like the iPod docking station, good selection of tv stations to watch some movies, and the washer/dryer)!