82 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.
You’ll follow the edge of Lake Rotorua, which is actually a large crater filled with water. At Okere Falls Scenic Reserve you can walk to see the hydroelectric power station. The road climbs up and over the Mamaku Range, then it’s easy driving to Paengaroa, a town known for its honey products. Te Puke makes an interesting stop – it has turned its kiwifruit industry into visitor entertainment.
The Bay of Plenty beachy lifestyle becomes obvious as you near the prosperous city of Tauranga, which sprawls along the edge of an attractive harbour. There’s a well developed café culture and boat charters are available to take you big game fishing, snorkelling or dolphin watching. Nearby Mt Maunganui is a destination for surfing and beach walking.
Te Puna Quarry Park
A dedicated band of volunteers have created a botanical beauty spot on the site of an old quarry.
The Elms Mission House
If you're in Tauranga on a Sunday or public holiday, you can walk through the historic Elms Mission House.
Mountain bike, run or hike on purpose-built trails in a century-old experimental forest with more than 170 different tree species.
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.
Walk through the forest to Kaiate Falls, where water tumbles down a ravine in a series of cascades.
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.
Tuhua (Mayor Island)
Mayor Island is the summit of a volcano rising from the sea floor. It's both a wildlife and marine reserve.
Motiti Island is a place to get away from it all. Catch some fish, dive the wreck or just flop on a beach.
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.
Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park
The Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is a living museum of botanical history with 300 kilometres of tracks to explore.
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.
Bay of Plenty
Scenic Flights (3)
Arts & Crafts (2),
Cultural Attractions (13),
Off Road Driving Adventure (2)