Less than 3 hours south west of Auckland is Rotorua, the centre of Maori culture in New Zealand. Here you’ll be warmly welcomed by the Arawa people, passionate locals who love to share their culture and traditions with the region’s many visitors.
People have been drawn to Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa geothermal valley since the 1800s when volcanic activity made the region a tourist hot spot. Today people seek rejuvenation and relaxation from the therapeutic thermal springs and sulphur scented air. The Tudor-style architecture scattered around the town and the surrounding green country side are also Rotorua’s drawcards.
From the moment people arrive in Rotorua they know they're somewhere quite different. There is a scent of sulphur in the air. At nearby geothermal hotspots, there are spouting geysers, boiling mud pools and warm geothermal springs.
Just outside of Rotorua, you can witness the spectacular Glow Worm Grotto at the Waitomo Caves. See the magnificent glow worm, Arachnocampa Luminosa, shining luminous light as you explore the depths of the limestone caves. The Glow Worms are in fact gnat larvae that glow due to a chemical reaction. When they are hungry the glow worms glow brighter and the ceiling of the grotto appears to an insect like the stars in the night sky. This particular species of Glow Worm is unique to New Zealand and Australia and is a definite must-see on your New Zealand adventure.
Rotorua is fast becoming known as nature's spa of the South Pacific. After a hard day's sightseeing or strenuous activity, visitors can relax with a soak in the healing waters of the geothermal hot springs, or unwind with a therapeutic spa and massage therapy.