Rotorua is a town on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. Rotorua is well-known for geothermal activity. There are a number of geysers, notably the Pohutu geyser at Whakarewarewa, and hot mud pools located in the city, which owe their presence to the Rotorua caldera. Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotorua’s tourist appeal. Geysers and bubbling mud-pools, hot thermal springs and the Buried Village – so named after it was buried by the 1886 Mt. Tarawera eruption – are within easy reach of the city.
Rotorua is nicknamed Sulphur City, because of the aforementioned thermal activity. The sulphur gives off an odor unique to Rotorua that adds to the visitor experience. In fact it’s funny because it is nearly unbearable to breathe without gasping for air as it smells like someone let off a stinkbomb throughout the city. We basically walked around a lot of the time with our faces buried in our shirts trying to avoid the odor. It made eating difficult with that smell constantly creeping into your senses.
Rotorua is also home to many outdoor activities and even an indoor climbing wall, botanical gardens and interesting historic architecture. Known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800s, there are many spas including a huge Polynesian spa that we went to in town that was really great and relaxing with tons of different temperature geothermal soaking pools and of course Polynesian style massages.
I am glad that I was in Rotorua but I wouldn’t go there unless you are prepared for the smell and I certainly wouldn’t spend more than a day or two there as you might pass out. It tends to make you a bit nauseous but it is a cool place to see and worth a look.