Rotorua is one of New Zealand's most famous tourist attractions of all time. Not only famous for their hot mud springs, hot water beaches and volcanic geysers, Rotorua is also the birthplace of the new trend of Zorbing.
Zorbing is ridiculously fun, rolling down a hill in a giant, cushioned PVC ball. Nothing says back sprain like that, does it?
Zorbing was created in the 1960's, developed in the 1990's, and has spread to far off lands like England, Australia, Chile and Argentina. You strap yourself into a huge, inflated PVC sphere and roll down a hill. Sounds simple, but is also unbelievably fun. You can also try the hydro- zorb version, where you're not strapped down, but float on water in another ball held in the core of the outer ball. It's kind of like rolling downhill on a waterslide.
But on why you're really here, the hot mud springs and smelly geysers. Rotorua is a geothermal delight. What does that mean? It means, volcanic activity beneath the lakes and springs in this town boil the water below the surface until it gets so hot, it erupts and bursts out hot water and steam. Rotorua is also well known for hot mud springs, so rich in nutrients, tourists swim in the pools for therapy.
It smells horrible, but the therapeutic properties of the mud can rival the most expensive of spa treatments. Similarly, Rotorua has heaps of beaches with water hot like a relaxing bath to cure your traveling ails. This town is also home to countless lakes, more lakes than the Lake District in England!
What is now Lake Rotorua was actually the main volcano that began the geothermal activity, after it last erupted and collapsed.
You can find mud pools at Kuirau Park, a variety of geysers and pools at Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland and hot springs at Hell's Gate. You can find so many places to see geysers, not just the few above, and there are also loads of spas, museums and gardens to visit. A great spa to indulge in a body wrap is the Polynesian Spa on Hinemoa Street, and the Government Gardens are worth a look if you have free time.
Rotorua is a great place for mountain cycling if you like things more extreme. It's known as the 'Disneyland of mountain biking' for its bike trails out at Whakarewarewa Forest, or 'Redwoods'.
In case it looks familiar, Rotorua was also featured in the music video, Gratitude by the Beastie Boys.