Rotorua (www.rotoruanz.com) has a population of 68,000 and is an iconic tourism destination attracting 2.9 million domestic and international visitors annually. It is a thriving city with an economy focused around tourism, retailing, forestry and manufacturing. Rotorua is often referred to as the ‘Lake District’ because of the number of fishable lakes within its boundaries. It was historically New Zealand’s first tourism destination, because of thermal features such as the Pink and White Terraces (destroyed in the 1886 Tarawera eruption). Rotorua continues as the centre for geothermal attractions and visitors are immediately aware of the geothermal environment because of the characteristic scent of sulphur in the air.
Lake Rotorua and Rotorua city in the foreground
|Prince of Wales Feathers and Pohutu Geysers, Whakarewarewa thermal park, Rotorua|
In addition to the geothermal attractions, Rotorua offers a wide range of activities for visitors including walking and mountain biking through forests (Whakarewarewa Forest has a magnificent stand of giant redwoods), boating and fishing on the many lakes, white-water rafting, river jet boating, 4WHD driving up Mt Tarawera, and tourist attractions such as the Rainbow Springs and kiwi encounter, Buried Village of Te Wairoa, Agradome, Agroventures, Ngongataha Skyline rides and luge, Paradise Valley Springs wildlife park, and Te Puia Maori arts and crafts centre. Alternatively, visitors can relax in one of the many spas.
Several other attractions are nearby. Lake Taupo and the coastal city of Tauranga are each only an hour drive away, and the ski fields on Mt Ruapehu are less than two hours drive from Rotorua.
Apart from the abundance of local tourism attractions, Rotorua offers visitors a range of accommodation options, a vibrant retail district of more than 250 shops and more than 50 restaurants including European, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Mexican cuisine options.
Rotorua is the heartland of New Zealand Maori culture, with Maori making up approximately 35% of the population in the Rotorua district. IAGS delegates will have the opportunity to experience the warm spirit of Te Maori with a traditional Maori powhiri (welcome), concert and hangi (food cooked in an earth oven).
|Skyline gondola at Mt Nongotaha|