14 Fun Facts to Know About Rotorua, New Zealand

by Janis on December 5, 2012

This guest post is by Brenda Richman, a Kansas City-based small business consultant.

Rotorua, New Zealand is famous for its geothermal activity.

14 Fun Facts to Know About Rotorua, New Zealand

1. The city of Rotorua is located 140 miles southeast of Auckland in the Bay of Plenty region, the heart of New Zealand’s North Island.  Its population is 56,000.

2. Tourism is by far the largest industry in Rotorua.  It has been known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800s.  3.215 million visitors a year come to Rotorua.  91% of those are domestic and 9% are international.

Bubbling mud pools, Rotorua, New Zealand

3. The city is known for its geothermal activity, which is the heart of much of its tourist appeal.  Geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa – bubbling mud pools, and thermal springs are all nearby.  In Kuirau Park, to the west end of the central city, hot bubbling mud pools dot the park.  Visitors can soak their feet in hot water pools.

4. Rotorua’s nickname is Sulfur City. When you get close to the outskirts of the city, you will understand this nickname.

5. Spas and wellness centers offer a variety of options for soaking and relaxing in the glorious sulfur waters and mud baths.

Maori Traditional Dance 

6. The Maori are New Zealand’s original people.  Just over one-third of Rotorua’s population is Maori.  Experiencing some of the many aspects of the Maori culture, their legends, music and arts, is one of Rotorua’s biggest draws.

7. A hangi is an authentic Maori feast cooked in an earth oven which traditionally used hot stones and wet ferns to create steam.

8. The Arts Trail allows visitors to participate in art and cultural events that add to the soul and vibrancy of Rotorua as a city.  Traditional Maori carving and weaving, in addition to a flourishing community of contemporary artists, craftspeople, performers and musicians are all part of the Arts Trail.

Aerial view of Rotorua.  Photo by Richardprins

9. The Rotorua region has 17 lakes, known collectively as the Lakes of Rotorua. Fishing, waterskiing, cruising, swimming, kayaking, and other water activities abound.

10. The Rotorua region has some of New Zealand’s best fishing waters.  Lake Tarawera is famous for trophy rainbow trout.

The Kaituna River is one of the most popular whitewater runs in New Zealand. 

11. White water rafting is popular near Rotorua.  The nearby Kaituna River features the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. This exhilarating seven metre drop of raging, thundering whitewater is the ultimate rafting experience to be found in New Zealand.

12. Rotorua is a well-known mountain bike heaven, home to an extensive network of tracks.

13. Rotorua is also home to botanical gardens and historic architecture.  Government Gardens is close to the lake shore at the eastern end of the town.

14. Average high temperature ranges from 73 in Jan/Feb to 54 in July.  Average low temperature ranges from 58 in Jan/Feb to 38 in July.

If you are thinking about visiting Rotorua, you may want to check out these resources:

Lonely Planet New Zealand’s North Island

New Zealand 1:950,000 Travel Map

New Zealand Travellers Road Atlas

Have you ever visited a geothermal area – the geysers, the boiling mud pots, and the sulfur waters?  How did you feel about experiencing the earth’s inner heat coming to the surface?


Entrepreneur, Brenda Richman, has a passion for experiencing the world through travel adventures.

Learn more about Brenda’s travel experiences here, and her consulting work helping businesses increase market penetration and enhance the quality of their client experiences here.


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