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Outdoor Activities in Rotorua

Due to its status as a major tourist stop, Rotorua has lots of organized recreational activities. You can go sky-diving, white water rafting, hiking, wind-surfing, take scenic plane and helicopter trips, go trout fishing and take any one of a number of organized tours.

Trout Pools &
Wildlife Areas

Rotorua has a number of places where you can picnic beside streams containing trout and where you can view all kinds of wildlife. Fairy Springs is one such place. There you can feed enormous rainbow trout and view kiwis and other native birds. 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. Rainbow Springs (see photo) has much the same as the others, along with tuataras and a wider range of wildlife.

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. Gerald Cubitt and Les Molloy, the authors of Wild New Zealand, write that 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
We have it on good authority that jet-boating on the Waikato river is awesome. The Huka jet people are 45 minutes by car from Rotorua. Apparently they provide some exhilarating rides on the river near Huka falls. There are several other companies that will also fire you at impossible speeds all over the Waikato. Even if you don't take a jet boat ride, Huka falls is worth a visit, as are the nearby Aratiatia Rapids.

There are 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. Don't forget a trip to the thermal park where the lovely warm water will soothed your aching bones. We don't have any pictures of the river or these activities at present, but as soon as we do well add them here.

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