Rotorua is the name of the city and district. The city is located on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand .
A leisurely 2 ½ – 3 drive south of Auckland and a little over an hour from Tauranga and Taupo makes Rotorua the ideal holiday getaway. Rotorua District is New Zealand’s fourth largest district by population with Rotorua as it central city.
From the moment you enter Rotorua you know the place has a uniqueness of its own. Constant steam drifts, together with the distinctive scent of sulphur, lets you know you are in Rotorua, New Zealand . Rotorua is at the centre of one of the best known active thermal areas and is known as nature’s spa of the South Pacific.
The city centre or main shopping area is convenient and easily accessible. With attractive cobble stone paved streets, Rotorua provides an abundance of shops to cater to the needs of all. The two main streets are Tutanekai and Hinemoa and the City Focus Square is within walking distance, providing the services of a community police office and an information centre. Daily shows and performances are a popular attraction within the square.
Attractions and Activities
The geysers, boiling mud pools and hot springs draw thousands of people from around the world.
Rotorua has a huge range of sightseeing attractions and activities to captivate everybody who visits.
From adrenaline-pumping action, like throwing yourself off bungy towers to watching geysers of hissing, steaming, scalding water roar from deep within the earth’s crust and hurl spray 100ft into the air.
From white water rafting to rolling downhill in the New Zealand designed Zorb or maybe luging around the side of a mountain.
It’s easy to find things to keep the children entertained with free activities such as several playgrounds including the Lakefront Volcanic Playground, some of the world’s best mountain biking trails, forest and bush walking trails, a chain of beautiful lakes, the Redwood Grove in Whakarewarewa Forest, and thermal activity in Kuirau Park
Maori Mythology of Rotorua
Rotorua’s most famous love story of a beautiful high-born Māori maiden named Hinemoa, who lived with her family on the shores of Lake Rotorua . She fell in love with a warrior named Tutanekai, from Mokoia Island in the centre of Lake Rotorua.
Her family disapproved of the match, and each night the tribe’s canoes were pulled high out of the water, so Hinemoa conceived a plan to swim to the island. She gathered together dried gourds and fashioned them into a lifebelt, dove into the lake, and guided by the music of Tutanekais’ flute, she swam the long journey to Mokoia Island . After an exhausting swim, she was eventually re-united with her love.
The couple married in 1550 and their descendants live, work and play in Rotorua today.
Their love is immortalised where their carved wooden effigies stand at the intersection of Hinemoa and Tutanekai Streets in the city.
Rotorua is steeped with cultural background and tradition dating back to the Arawa waka and all the descendants that have left their mark in song, dance, myths and legends.The Te Arawa people of Rotorua were New Zealand’s first visitor guides, leading the way to the natural wonders that have been part of their home for more than 600 years. Their welcoming tradition has been carried on from generation to generation – and you’ll find it expressed in Rotorua with true warmth and energy.
Rotorua is around the southern shoreline of Lake Rotorua. It extends to include a substantial rural district encompassing 14 lakes, areas of geothermal activity and considerable areas of public open space. The economy is based on tourism, agriculture and forestry.
Maori Translation of Rotorua
The full name is Rotorua-nui-a-Kahu. ‘Roto’ generally means lake and ‘ rua’ meaning two. Literally translated Rotorua means second lake. It was named by the Māori chief Ihenga, as it was the second major lake that he discovered. The lake is the largest of a multitude found to the north and east of the city, all connected with the Rotorua Caldera and nearby Mount Tarawera.