The heartland of New Zealand's geo-thermal activity and a centre for Maori culture, Rotorua town is situated on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua. Throughout the area steamy mineral lakes, bursting geysers and bubbling mud pools release a pungent smell as hydrogen gas pours out of countless bores and ground fissures.
In the Government Gardens you find the Polynesian Spa, where a bathhouse was built in 1886 - people have been swearing by the health-giving properties ever since. Rotorua Bath House, an architectural icon of Edwardian elegance, now houses a museum that portrays the mythology, history and geology of the area.
The surrounding countryside offers a heady mix of pristine lakes, tumbling rivers and crystal springs. Rotorua has a large Maori population, whose cultural activities are among the most interesting and accessible in all of New Zealand.
Rotorua is the heartland of New Zealand Maori culture and visitors have the opportunity to experience the warm spirit of Te Maori. Although most of the Maori population live in the urban areas, there are about 35 marae (meeting grounds) in the Rotorua district. You may be lucky enough to stay as a guest on a marae - an unforgettable experience. Or you could catch a Maori cultural performance, where stories are relayed through beautiful songs and dance. You can also indulge in a traditional hangi feast - the food is cooked below the ground in earthen ovens.
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 totally unwind by choosing from a selection of therapeutic spa and massage therapies.