A faint smell of sulfur and hissing steam from roadside vents greets as you drive into the city of Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island.
A city of less than 60,000 permanent residents, Rotorua lies on a large volcano that last erupted 240,000 years ago but has significant geothermal activity.
Māori Cultural Performances
Besides experiencing the spectacular nature show from the geysers and mud pools, visitors to Te Puia get to experience Māori storytelling, or kapa haka.
Guests gather outside the Marae (meeting place). A traditional karanga (welcome) marks the start of 45 minutes of song and dance inside the meeting house. Once inside, visitors are treated to the seductive poi dance, the ferocious haka (war challenge), and the complex tititorea (stick games).
At the gift shop, thermal mud products are popular souvenirs.
Getting to Rotorua
Rotorua is 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Tauranga, a common New Zealand cruise port. We visited Rotorua while on a Holland America cruise – taking a day trip from Tauranga booked independently with Tauranga Tasting Tours and Charters, who provided a fabulous small group trip.
However you visit New Zealand, you won’t want to miss Rotorua.