Rotorua and the surrounding region has a multi-cultural population of approximately 70,000 people. The city of Rotorua is situated on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua , the surrounding district includes a number of rural and lakeside communities.
Rotorua is an international tourism icon, and the birthplace of tourism in New Zealand and is renowned as the heartland of Maori culture.
There are 16 lakes in the Rotorua region, many of which are packed with rainbow and brown trout and able to be fished on. All of the lakes have been formed from the craters of extinct volcanoes, and are a popular attraction for many water-based activities. Upon entering Rotorua you know you are somewhere quite different. From the sneaky threads of steam finding unlikely escape routes in parks, pathways and streets or the distinct scent of sulphur wafting through geothermal hot spots, Rotorua offers an impressive and unique welcome.
How to get to Rotorua
Located in the central North Island, Rotorua is well connected to the rest of New Zealand, through a network of air and road links. The city is a leisurely three-hour drive from Auckland (234km) and is on the Thermal Explorer Highway, a well signposted touring route. It is a 5-6-hour drive from Wellington (457km). Rotorua Airport is one of the busiest domestic terminals in the country, offering services to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown as well as 2 flights a week from Sydney on Air New Zealand.
Once you are in Rotorua you will find that there is a well-developed infrastructure and excellent public transport system which means minimal travelling time within the city. To explore the outer areas and lakes, rental cars and shuttles are the best options. Most major rental cars companies have depots in Rotorua. Shuttle and coach services leave from the i-SITE Tourism Rotorua Visitor Information and Travel Centre in Fenton Street.
What’s the weather like?
Rotorua enjoys a pleasant climate with plenty of sunshine in summer with crisp, clear days in winter. Rotorua averages more than 2000 sunshine hours and just over 140cm of rain annually.
Summer (Dec – Feb): Daytime 21 – 29ºC
Autumn (Mar – May): Daytime 15 – 26ºC
Winter (Jun – Aug): Daytime 9 – 16ºC
Spring (Sep – Nov): Daytime 13 – 21ºC
Rotorua city centre has over 250 shops to choose from, including specialty department stores, fashion stores, book shops, pharmacies, arts, crafts, and photographic outlets. Generally, city trading hours are 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday and Saturday 9am until 1pm. Many larger chain stores and some specialty stores are open 9am until 4pm on Saturday and 10am until 2pm on Sunday. Free copies of the Rotorua shopping guide and Rotorua map are available from the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre.
With more than 50 restaurants to choose from, Rotorua offers a wide range of casual and formal dining options. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Mexican, Indian, Mediterranean and European restaurants abound. Visitors to the city should also try a traditional Maori hangi.