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A north island of New Zealand. You can find Mountain Biking, the large number of lakes and rivers. You can do lot of fun activity. The place is 194 km away from Auckland. From Auckland, travel time is 3 hours.

The small, unexciting town of Rotorua is one of the most popular travel destinations on New Zealand’s North Island. The reason: Rotorua is located in the middle of one of the most famous and largest geothermal areas in the world. The earth is bubbling and steaming everywhere and the smell of sulfur is omnipresent in Rotorua. Personally, we were less impressed with the city of Rotorua than with the surrounding area. Rotorua is ideal for one or the other excursion. Some of the most famous sights on New Zealand’s North Island are easily accessible from Rotorua.

 An overview of the geothermal area We spontaneously associate Rotorua with one thing: sulfur! Or rather the smell of sulfur. Sometimes you can smell it more, sometimes less, but somehow it’s always in the air. And of course not without reason: Rotorua is located in an area with pronounced geothermal activity. Geysers, hot springs & mud pots: If you have never been to a real thermal area before, you will be pretty excited. The whole thing is not only an extremely colorful, but also an odor-intensive spectacle. There are several thermal parks around Rotorua, in which a multitude of different geothermal highlights are located in a small space. How many days should I plan for Rotorua?

We ourselves stayed three nights in Rotorua and found this period ideal. So we had two full days, each of which we used for a day trip. However, there was still enough time to explore the center of Rotorua a little. Travel guides for New Zealand, We have already tested several travel guides for New Zealand ourselves. Our personal favorite is the Stefan Loose New Zealand Travel Guide. As used by Stefan Loose, the travel guide is well researched and has great tips ready. For us it offers the best price-performance ratio.

Sights & highlights around Rotorua Hobbiton: Out and about in the Shire Let’s start with an absolute classic in the area around Rotorua: the location of the Hobbit scenes from Lord of the Rings. That’s right, the world-famous film set can be visited. Yes, the price for the tour is damn high, yes of course it’s touristy there! These are things that you have to be prepared for, that is clear, but still: We were pretty enthusiastic. It is simply impressive to be in the place where the famous film scenes were shot. Whenever we see a Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit film, we are delighted and fondly remember our trip there.

The filming location is visited as part of a 2-hour guided tour. These start at the so-called “Shire’s Rest”, which is about an hour’s drive from Rotorua. During the tour you will see, among other things, the hobbit houses, which, however – small spoilers – are unfurnished. The interior shots were shot in the studio. The tour ends in the Green Dragon, where you get another drink (included in the price).  The most famous thermal park around Rotorua.No less touristy, but also gigantic in terms of landscape, is the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, which is about half an hour’s drive from the center of Rotorua. It is a huge area with geothermal activity. The area is littered with brightly colored lakes, bubbling mud pools and steaming waters, and the entrance ticket (32.5 NZD) also entitles you to visit Lady Knox Geyser, which is artificially erupted every day at 10:15 a.m.

 Dozens of tourists gather there who do not want to miss this spectacle. But we don’t even need to talk, we sat right in the middle of it. We continue to the real highlight, the circular route through the geothermal area. We chose the longest route, which takes about 1.5 hours and takes you across the entire area. A highlight is definitely the Champagne Pool, which is particularly noticeable because of the strong orange color and the smell that prevails there, but the rest of the, sometimes very colorful, area is also very impressive. On the way back by car you can stop at the Mud-pool, a mud pool, which is a little out of the way and lives up to its name.Link to the official website: Wai-O-Tapu Center of Rotorua As already mentioned: The town of Rotorua itself is rather unexciting. Its center is gone within a few hours. 

Lake Rotorua is especially worth seeing. There is a promenade here that we found very nice. You can also get a boat here. Rent a kayak and take it across the lake. We noticed that very few people were on the streets. We don’t know why that was. The weather was a bit rainy, but that can’t be the only reason. In general, we remember Rotorua itself rather extinct, even though we were traveling in the middle of the high season. Hotel tip for Rotorua. We can recommend the Quest Rotorua for overnight stays. This modern apartment hotel is very centrally located. From the hotel, for example, you can easily reach Lake Rotorua in 15 minutes on foot. There are also many nice cafes and restaurants around the hotel. The spacious rooms are comfortably furnished with everything you might need. There is even a small kitchen and its own washing machine. The beds are also very comfortable.

Our conclusion: further tips or testimonials? A nice pace to visit if you loge geography, natural activity and fun. For sure, you will live inside nature.

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