Formed by a volcano and shaped by the native Maori culture, Rotorua is a geothermal paradise with 16 beautiful lakes and an abundance of natural beauty. When you stay at Choice Hotels in Rotorua, you and your family will be in the middle of an amazing exotic region with unusual things to see and do. Attractions include:
You may not have expected to see California Redwoods in New Zealand, but that is exactly what you will find at the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. These graceful towering trees shelter hiking and bike paths and provide spectacular lookouts over the city and lake. Nearly every past visitor has commented on the “interesting” toilets housed within metal sculptures, so be sure to check them out. The trails are all well-marked and designed for varying levels of exertion. Time commitment runs the gamut from twenty-minutes to an eight-hour trek.
Make sure that you time your visit to the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland so that you can see the induced daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10:15 and listen to a presentation on its history and mechanics. Then drive over to the park proper to see mud pools, steam vents, volcanic lakes, sulphur columns and gypsum terraces. Make sure that you dress appropriately, bring water and sunscreen and be aware that the smell of sulphur can be intense.
No visit to New Zealand is complete without gaining an understanding of its Native heritage, and you can do that at the Tamaki Maori Village where you will experience an evening of ceremonial ritual, cultural performance, storytelling and a “hangi” feast for dinner. It is an immersive and interactive experience that will have you laughing, clapping, cheering and coming away with a better sense of this ancient culture.
Take a day to immerse yourself, literally, in the area’s geothermal qualities at the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. You can choose from a splash pool. passive bathing pools, two infinity pools and private spas. Or take a walk along the impressive eco-nature trail that explains the geothermal process. Many of the pools have sun-shades over them for added comfort, and the temperatures range from mild to quite hot. You can either bring a towel or rent one onsite. The bonus? Most visitors report a wonderful deep night’s sleep after the experience!
The Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world's youngest geothermal system. The eruption that created it took place in 1886. You can enjoy the area both from land (via hiking trails and/or bus rides) and water (on the Lake Rotomahana cruise). Check out the world's largest hot-water spring at Frying Pan Lake, enjoy the turquoise-blue waters of Inferno Crater and let your imagination remind you that you are looking back in time to the birth of the planet.
The whole family is bound to enjoy Skyline Rotorua, especially if your children are feeling fed up with hot springs. Head up Mount Ngongotaha on a gondola ride and check out the spectacular views you will see in all directions. Your descent will be a great deal less leisurely, however, as you take the luge (part go-cart, part toboggan) along any of three trails filled with exciting twists and turns. Then all you have to do is take the chairlift back up to the top to do it all over again. For even more excitement, try the SkySwing, 50 meters off the ground and reaching speeds of 120 kilometers per hour. Enjoy the buffet that is part of your ticket price and cap off your day with a visit to the winery.
Stay at one of the Choice Hotels in Rotorua to catch a glimpse of the earth’s past at Rotorua’s many geothermal attractions, get plenty of exercise on its hiking trails, and discover the Native culture that is still alive and well in the region. You may never want to go home again!
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