Whether you’re here to compete or be immersed in the electric atmosphere of the World Masters Games 2017, take in the best of the Rotorua during your visit on this three day itinerary.
The place, the magic
Just over three hours from Auckland, Rotorua sits within a volcanic crater and as you walk through its streets, you’ll see bubbling and steaming evidence of geothermal activity. You can even smell it – that distinctive sulphur smell!
This small-ish central New Zealand city has a fascinating past, one you’ll hear about a lot as you talk to the locals. They’ll tell you tales of the fateful night in 1886 when Mount Tarawera erupted, and how this geological event changed this land its people forever. It destroyed the legendary Pink and White Terraces and gave birth to the youngest volcanic valley in New Zealand.
Not just a geothermal wonderland, Rotorua is a cultural hub. The spirit of manaakitanga (loosely translated into hospitality from Maori) is alive and well here. Visit a Maori village or strike up a conversation with a local and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
A popular tourist spot, Rotorua is equally renowned for its adventure activities, having pioneered some truly innovative ways to get your adrenalin pumping – zorb or shweeb anyone?
So when you’re in Rotorua for the World Masters Games, here’s what you could get up to. This relaxed three-day Rotorua itinerary takes you up close to shooting geysers, around a Maori village, up a volcano, deep inside native rainforest and into mineral hot pools.
Kick off your Rotorua diaries with a half day guided walk to Mount Tarawera. Revered by the locals, it features truly fascinating landscape and an even more intriguing history following its infamous eruption. The four and a half hour guided walk by Kaitiaki Adventures is ideal for all ages and includes an optional run to the heart of the volcanic crater.
Back in the city during the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll around the lake and admire the view out to Mokoia Island.
Spend the evening at Tamaki Maori Village, an award-winning cultural experience that takes you back in time to an authentic Maori village, complete with a ceremonial welcome, a hangi meal (traditional Maori fare), weaving displays and the Haka.
Only five minutes from the Rotorua iSite is the Whakarewarewa Forest, fondly called the Redwoods by the locals. This lush native forest has beautiful walking and cycling tracks – enjoyed at an easy pace. For the active adventurers, the Redwoods are a mountain biking paradise and host to Crankworx. Bikes can easily be hired from the Wharewarewa Visitor Centre or even from the town.
Enjoy a meal at one of Eat Street’s many cafes and restaurants before heading less than half hour away from the town to discover another hidden gem – Hamurana Springs. A wonderful non-strenuous walk leads you to the tranquil springs where crystal clear waters are laced with shades of turquoise, jade and emerald – a truly inviting sight. And it’s free!
Unwind after the day’s walking escapades at Polynesian Spa, an internationally-acclaimed lakefront spa that offers mineral bathing and decadent therapies featuring mud wraps and volcanic rocks.
Head to the Skyline complex to take a gondola ride and enjoy extensive views of Rotorua. Then come screaming down with a luge – it may sound adventurous but this version of go-carting is fun for all ages.
Grab a bite at Skyline’s Stratosfare restaurant before heading to one of the many geothermal parks in Rotorua to witness the raw power of the earth. Hell’s Gate, known as the ‘awesome beast’ of New Zealand’s geothermal attractions is one which features boiling hot pools, erupting geysers, steaming furmaholes and Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot water falls. Walk around the park to enjoy these wonders before covering yourself in the therapeutic mud or soaking in a hot pool. Take in a cultural experience to understand the connection of people to this land, how it has been a part of their everyday living for generations – it’s quite mesmerising!
If you’re up for it, before sunset take the short drive to Kerosene Creek, Rotorua’s most well-known secret spot. Here you can soak in the hot mineral waters of a creek in the middle of a native forest – doesn’t get more natural than this!
All the best to competitors and supporters for the World Masters Games in April. See you there!