• Pohutu Guyser – Rotorua
  • Maori Warrior – Rotorua


Volcanic activity has formed and reformed the landscape. From the moment you enter Rotorua, you know you are somewhere like nowhere else….

Volcanic History

Within the District itself, most attractions are based around its two greatest assets – geothermal features and the lakes. Both are directly attributable to continuing volcanic activity, which has formed and reformed the landscape. At around 300 metres above sea level, the District is located on the Volcanic Plateau which encompasses most of the Central North Island. The geological record shows that there has been ceaseless activity in this area for millennia, ranging from minor hot springs through to huge prehistoric ignimbritic flows which smothered the entire landscape. The most ‘recent’ eruptions were the Taupo eruption of around 1800 years ago and the Tarawera eruption of 1886.

Geothermal Wonders

From the moment you enter Rotorua, you know you are somewhere like nowhere else. Lazy drifts of steam are emitted from cracks, crevices and culverts in parks, gardens, pathways and even residential streets. These constant steam drifts, together with the distinctive scent of sulphur, let you know you are in Rotorua, New Zealand – the centre of an active thermal area.

Just minutes from city centre, you will see geysers of hissing, steaming, scalding water roar from deep within the earth’s crust and hurl spray 100ft into the air. Pools of bubbling mud pop and belch like pots of porridge.

Towering volcanoes, now dormant, are unmistakeable reminders of the land’s turbulent past. Over time many volcanic caldera (a basin formed when the earth slumps following the emptying of a magma chamber during volcanic activity) have formed a chain of sparkling lakes teeming with trophy trout.

The Eleven Lakes

Eleven major lakes sparkle in the landscape around Rotorua. The city of Rotorua nestles on the shore of the largest, Lake Rotorua. Their shapes have been formed and altered by cataclysmic volcanic activity in times past. Many are steeped in Maori legend and history – you’ll hear stories of phantom canoes seen gliding in the mist, and of lovers who swam the lakes to secretly meet upon their shores. The lakes are ringed by forest and farmland, but most are easily accessible to visitors. Gaze across tranquil waters that fill the crater bowls of extinct volcanoes. Cruise, kayak, ski or sail on their shimmering surface. Fish for trophy-winning trout in the lakes and the streams that feed them. Or ride the wild rapids and waterfalls along some of the more turbulent stretches. Whatever your pleasure, Rotorua’s stunning natural setting offers endless possibilities for relaxation, fun and adventure in, on and around our waterways.

Here in Rotorua, you’ll delight in our bounty of lakes, rivers and crystal springs.