Outdoor Activities in Rotorua
One of the most beautiful and naturally varied places in the country, Rotorua’s natural environment has so
much to offer. Enjoy the pristine native bush and lakes district as you walk a myriad of tracks either guided
or unguided, and experience some of New Zealand’s most unique wildlife at the wildlife parks. The more
adventurous can go sky-diving, white water rafting, jet boating, wind-surfing, take scenic plane and
helicopter trips, or go trout fishing amongst the network of rivers in the area.
Rotorua has a number of places where you can picnic beside streams containing trout and where you can view
all kinds of wildlife. Rainbow Springs is one such place. There you can feed enormous rainbow trout and
view kiwis and 15 other beautiful species of native birds. Come face to face with one of the oldest
land-dwelling species in the world, the Tuatara. Another is Paradise Valley Springs, which has bush walks,
trout and eels, native wildlife and a pride of lions which you can see fed, and cubs you can feed.
Walking and Hiking
There are lots of places for going on bush walks and tramps around Rotorua, from gentle park areas to rugged
terrain. For the more recreational hiker, there are a number of walks, picnic areas and swimming areas on
and around Whakarewarewa reserve. There are many tour operators who will
take you on rain-forest treks, and several places will drive you to the top of Mount Tarawera where you can
explore the area.
Tongariro National Park is New Zealand's best known national park, and has many
striking qualities. The park is one of New Zealand's two World Heritage sites, and is considered by UNESCO to
be of "outstanding universal value". The park showcases the volcanic peaks of Tongariro, Ngaurahoe and Ruapehu
(there are 7 main volcanoes in the park.) At 2797 metres, Ruapehu is the tallest mountain in the North Island.
There is a well established system of huts and tracks in the area, as well as some short tracks for nature
walks and picnics. The crater lake at the top of Mount Ruapehu is especially worth the climb. It forms a large,
hot water lake that lets off steam (quite violently at times). If you are not a super-tramper you can take the
ski lifts on the Whakapapa ski field up as far as they'll go and then trek up to the top from there. In the
winter you can carry your skis up and then ski down across some really beautiful mountainside. The crater lake
is breathtaking, especially in the winter.
Jet-boating on the Waikato river is awesome. The Huka Jet is a 45 minute drive from Rotorua. They provide some
exhilarating rides on the river near Huka Falls. There are also a ton of places
you can go white water rafting around Rotorua, and the rivers are of sufficiently different grades to cater to
all levels of experience.
You can fish many of the Rotorua district's lakes and rivers. Lake Rotorua has the largest wild population of
trout than any other lake in the world per acre. Don't forget to end your day with a trip to one of the
geothermal areas to relax in the hot mineral springs.
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