81 km (51 miles)
Approximately 1 hour
Road Conditions: State Highway
Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people. Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year.
The road to Taupo will keep you entertained with its unusual, volcanic geography. You’ll also drive through large tracts of plantation pine forest.
Take a side road to a geothermal park, where you’ll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud. Towards the end of your journey you’ll encounter the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. Other diversions include Huka Falls and a world-acclaimed golf course.
The resort town of Taupo sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake, which is well stocked with sizeable trout. You’ll find everything a traveller could wish for, including an excellent choice of restaurants. Most accommodation establishments make good use of the underground thermal activity to provide hot spas for relaxation.
Mountain bike, run or hike on purpose-built trails in a century-old experimental forest with more than 170 different tree species.
Waipahihi Botanical Reserve
Pack a picnic and wander through the Waipahihi Botanical Reserve, a vast garden of rare alpine plants, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.
Eleven beautiful lakes surround the geothermal town of Rotorua, which is great if you like to hike, bike, fish or kayak.
Explore historic gardens that surround a Tudor-style spa bath house and an ornate Mediterranean-style public swimming pool. Peer through the steam into ancient bubbling geothermal pools.
Take a walk and discover the steaming, hissing and bubbling geothermal activity in this informal public park located right next to Rotorua's city centre.
Explore a landscape that has been shaped and coloured by extraordinary volcanic and geothermal forces.
Gaze in awe at Mount Tarawera and imagine the frightening night of June 10 1886, when the mountain's summit split open in a violent eruption.
In the centre of Lake Rotorua is Mokoia Island, the setting for one of New Zealand's most famous love stories.
Walk, run or ride along a scenic lakeside trail on the front porch of downtown Rotorua. Learn about the local birdlife and geothermal activity.
Taupo Lakeside walks
Explore the scenic beauty of Lake Taupo by stretching your legs along one of many lakeside walking trails.
Mine Bay Rock Carving
Take a kayak or boat tour around the scenic Western Bays of Lake Taupo to see the huge Maori rock carving at Mine Bay.
Witness an unusual display of raw river power at the Aratiatia rapids, just off State Highway 1 north of Taupo.
Craters of the Moon
Explore a cratered valley that's hissing with clouds of steam. Feel the heat of the earth at the edge of the track, and peer from viewing platforms into cauldrons of boiling mud.
Discover the amazing scenery around Lake Taupo. This area of New Zealand blends forests, geothermal activity and fascinating volcanic landscapes.
View an intricately carved Maori meeting house and enter a 1901 Tudor-style church set amidst steaming geothermal vents at the edge of Lake Rotorua.
Okere Falls Scenic Reserve
Explore forest walks that lead to a series of beautiful waterfalls, the Tutea Caves and Hinemoa's Steps.
At Huka Falls you can witness the phenomenon of natural hydro power - more than 220, 000 litres of water per second.
Rainbow Mountain tracks
Explore an active geothermal mountain with coloured rocks and native plants that are unique to geothermal environments. Climb to the summit for a huge view of this fascinating part of the world.
Cultural Attractions (13),
Cycling/Mountain Biking (4),
Scenic Flights (1)
Kayaking – Fresh Water (7),
Sky Diving (4),