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Rotorua

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand North Island Bay of Plenty Region Rotorua

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Introduction

Rotorua

Rotorua

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Rotorua is also nicknamed Roto Vegas by Kiwis for the mass of tourist attractions. Rotorua is a small city of about 64,000 people on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty Region, on the North Island of New Zealand. The main attractions in Rotorua are Maori culture and amazing geothermal activity. The most popular geysers are located in the town and the surrounding country side. And the famous mud pools are located in the city center itself. Some local Maoris used to, and still do, cook their meal in the hot geysers behind their homes.

The tourist appeal of Rotorua started in the 1860s and only grew mainly due to large thermal waterfalls made of lime located on Mount Tarawera. These falls were very high and bubbling with hot energy and attracted tourists from around the world. Local Maori tribes started to appeal to the tourists and began to exploit lots of money from tourists. Some tribal members claimed that they were offending the gods by doing things like replacing the shell eyes traditional statues with silver and gold coins. Either by random volcanic event, or the anger of gods, Mount Tarawera erupted in 1886 destroying the falls, locals and tourists. The only people that were spare were the few that hid out with a Maori chief that refused to offend the gods.

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Sights and Activities

  • Kuirau Park - West of the city centre and has several hot bubbling mud pools that visitors can soak their feet in.
  • Whakarewarewa (Thermal Village) - This town incorporated thermal energy into its system long before Iceland had even thought about it. For over 200 years the Ngati Wahiao tribe has lived in this location and incorporated the thermal springs into their daily lives for bathing, cooking, heating and spiritual needs. Opened as a tourist sight in 1998 travellers can see how a unique people have adapted an environment to fit their needs. Open 7 days a week, 8:30am to 5:00pm and is 5 minutes south of Rotorua.
  • Rotorua Museum was the original bath house and is not a great museum on the history of Rotorua featuring some great videos and exhibits.
  • Shopping - This is a great town to shop for traditional Maori art and crafts.
  • Buried Village (Te Wairoa) was a village that was buried in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption which destroyed some amazing natural formations.
  • Lakes - There are several lakes around the area that can offer great boating and swimming. Some lakes are considered holy and therefore off limits to non-Maoris.
  • Mountain Biking - Some of the best mountain biking is to be found amongst the redwoods of Whakarewarewa forest. Rental bikes are offerend by Planet Bike at the Waipa State Mill Road park entrance. And also by The Outdoorsman on Tarawera Road just before the turn onto Long Mile Road to the visitors center. There are also many bike shops intown that rent bike too.
  • Blue Lake on Tarawera road is a great place to hike and take a swim in the crystal clear waters.
  • Skyline Sky Rides skylineskyrides - A day of fun with a gondola and great view over Rotorua and then take the luge down, Zorb Zorbing was invented here in Rotorua too.
  • Skydiving - Not the great views like Taupo and Queenstown, and for that reason the best deals on skydiving can be had at Rotorua. If you just want the thrill and save yourself a bundle.
  • Agrodome - Your chance to see a New Zealand farm in action. Lots to do an see and with the star of the show being the sheep sheering demonstrations.

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Weather

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max22.9 °C23 °C20.9 °C18.2 °C15.1 °C12.6 °C12 °C12.8 °C14.6 °C16.6 °C18.7 °C20.9 °C
Avg Min12.6 °C12.8 °C11.3 °C8.7 °C6 °C4.2 °C3.4 °C4.1 °C5.8 °C7.7 °C9.4 °C11.3 °C
Rainfall90 mm93.9 mm111.1 mm115.8 mm109.3 mm137.6 mm143.9 mm142.6 mm114.6 mm113.6 mm102.5 mm114.4 mm
Rain Days8.17.38.38.49.911.311.212.511.210.39.411.5

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Getting There

By Plane

Rotorua Regional Airport (ROT) provides daily flights to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown by turbo-prop planes and daily jet services. There are plans to extend the runway making it possible for larger planes to land therefore providing direct flights to Australia. Some water planes still land on Rotorua lake.

By Train

Currently it is not possible to get to Rotorua by train.

By Bus

Buses connect Roturua with most major towns and cities on the North Island, including Wellington and Auckland.

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Eat

  • Whakarewarewa (Thermal Village) - it is possible here to eat in the traditional style of this village while visiting. This means eating all your food boiled or steamed with the power of the hot springs and thermal energy from underground. It is best to make reservation is advance.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Astray1204 Pukuatua Street RotoruaHostel90
Base Rotorua1286 Arawa StHostel81
Blarneys Rock Backpackers1210 Tutanekai StreetHostel87
Cactus Jacks Backpackers1210 Haupapa St RotoruaHostel76
Crank Backpackers1140 Hinemoa St RotoruaHostel86
Crash Palace1271 Hinemaru Street RotoruaHostel86
Kiwi paka - Rotorua60 Tarewa RoadHostel80
Lyons Lakestay8 Okareka Loop Rd Lake Okareka Rd 5Hostel-
Planet Nomad Backpackers1193 Fenton st RotoruaHostel81
Regent Flashpackers1181 Pukaki Street RotoruaHostel-
SilverOaks Hotel Geyserland424 Fenton Street Rotorua RotoruaHotel-
Spa Lodge Backpackers1221 Amohau Street, RotoruaHostel83
The Grand Hotel1130 Pukuatua st RotoruaHotel79
YHA Rotorua Treks1278 Haupapa StreetHostel86
Rotorua Central Backpackers1076 Pukuatua StHostel88
Six on Union6 Union Street RotoruaHotel-
Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua1000 Eruera Street RotoruaHotel-
Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua103 Acacia RoadHotel-
Oasis Hostel Rotorua33A Tarewa Road Rotorua CentralHostel83
Four Canoes Hostel and Bar273 Fenton StreetHOSTEL-
Rotorua Downtown Backpackers1193 Fenton StHOSTEL-

Camping

PropertyAddressType

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are widely available throughout New Zealand at rates of around NZ$2-4, though sometimes more in smaller places. Besides internet and e-mail services, most big internet cafés also offer some way for travellers to connect their digital camera and burn cds. Many public libraries have public Internet access, and most of them offer short free internet sessions. Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.

Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.

Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.

  • Telecom operates a UMTS (3G) network, named XT Network, nationwide on 850MHz with supplementary 2100MHz in metropolitan areas. (the same frequencies as Telstra in Australia and AT&T in the U.S.)
  • Vodafone operates a GSM network on 900MHz/2100 MHz and a UTMS (3G) network operates nationwide 900MHz with supplementary 2100MHz coverage.
  • 2degrees operates a UMTS (3G) network (2100MHz) in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, with supplementary GSM coverage provided elsewhere by Vodafone.

A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.

Post

Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -38.139832
  • Longitude: 176.24707

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This is version 32. Last edited at 7:24 on Jul 25, 13 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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