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Rotorua Travel Guide - Sights to See
Rotorua is 3 hours by train from Auckland, and a little longer by bus. You will know when you arrive. That pungent smell of sulphur will greet you. All tours leave from the Travel Center.

1/2 day city tour: This tour gets you out of the city quickly... visiting the Government Gardens, the Maori suburb of Ohinemutu, Rainbow and Fairy Springs for a survey of the fern forest, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, and an escorted tour of the Whaka Thermal Reserve.

The Government Gardens: A city park, alive with steaming pools and beautiful gardens.

Ohinemutu: A 1/2 mile stroll north of Rotorua along the lake... the dwelling place of the Ngati-Whakaue. They live in ordinary houses, heated by natural steam and do their cooking in the boiling pools in their backyards. St. Faith's Anglican Church, from 1910 is here... a world of rich, deep colors, swirling and minutely detailed carvings.

Maori Arts and Crafts Institute: Here you can see the young Maori's learning the traditional carving techniques, and other crafts, from their skilled elders. Located at the entrance to the Whaka Reserve. Hours 8-5.

Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve: Across from the Maori Arts Institute. Walk along the paths and there are posted signs for a self-guided tour. You'll first go into a Maori Village, a cemetery, and finally into the reserve of gushing geysers, silica terraces, boiling streams, mud pools, and the dramatic Pohutu, a geyser erupting to a height of 60 feet. Be sure and have someone pronounce the name of the reserve for you... and don't laugh.

A Maori concert: Concerts are presented nightly at the Maori Culture Theatre, 18 Eruera Street... 8 PM, and at the Tamatekapua Meeting House, and at various hotels. The participants are local amateurs who contribute mainly for fun.

A thermal bath: All homes and businesses in Rotorua are heated by the natural hot water. Your hotel will probably have available a thermal bath. The water will be very hot... and have a sulphur smell to it. Very relaxing and highly recommended.

Full day Waimangu tour: A 42 mile tour, including a 3 mile walk... mostly downhill, through the multi-hued steaming grounds of Waimangu Valley. The bus heads south skirting Earthquake Flat and Crater Lake... visits Waimangu Geyser, Frying Pan Lake... and then you hike with a guide along Mount Tarawera to board a launch on Lake Rotomahana, which brings you close to the Steaming Cliffs. Disembark here and hike to Lake Tarawera. A coach meets you here and drives to the buried village of Te Wairoa. Nearby, the foaming Wairoa Falls drop in 3 tiers from 150 feet. Drive back to the city along a scenic route.

Waitomo: These caves are on the way to Rotorua... famous for glow-worm grottoes.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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