Rotorua is surrounded by gorgeous lakes and forest scenery, so you’re never far from a scenic trail. One of the best walks in the region is the Tarawera Trail. At the end of this hike you can enjoy a relaxing hot soak in a geothermal pool near the edge of Lake Tarawera. There’s also the spectacular walk around Waiotapu, a colourful and surreal geothermal landscape that makes you feel like you are on another planet. Or, take a pleasant day hike to the Blue Lake Track, a quiet stroll around a bright blue lake within a volcanic crater.
The town of Rotorua is packed with unique, high quality shopping experiences. A lot of the art and handicrafts you’ll find here is inspired by Maori culture and history. For example, check out Ahu Boutique, where you can find clothing designs inspired by Maori culture. At Mountain Jade, you’ll find stunning carvings made by local artists.
Also, at many of the local shops you can buy beauty products made from the geothermal elements of the region. You can also find some excellent products made from New Zealand wool at the Agrodome’s gift shop. Plus - don’t miss the popular Saturday Flea Market where you can find delicious treats made by local artisans.
The Rotorua Museum is located within the historic bathhouses, but it is closed to the public for the foreseeable future as it did not meet earthquake safety standards. However, it still provides a range of “beyond the walls” visitor experiences including events, education programs and free guided tours of the beautiful Government Gardens. So, visitors will still be able to get an insight into the historic places, buildings and battles of Rotorua’s history.
You can also visit the “Buried Village” just a short drive outside of Rotorua. View the uncovered Maori village of Te Wairoa, which was covered in boiling mud and preserved after the 1886 volcanic eruption.
Picture of the Buried Village Museum (NZ Herald):