The region was the birthplace of New Zealand tourism in the 1800s, when people flocked here from around the world to see the amazing Pink and White Terraces - vast, naturally formed silica terraces that cascaded into a volcanic lake. The Te Arawa people were their local guides. The terraces were destroyed in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption, but Rotorua's fame as a fascinating travel destination continued to grow. Today Maori guides can often be seen at the city's iconic attractions, following in the footsteps of their ancestors.
When explaining the appeal of their region, the people of Rotorua like to talk of five spirits. You can feel the spirit of the earth, as it rumbles beneath your feet and escapes, hissing, through fumaroles and geysers. You can witness the spirit of Maori culture, with authentic village and performance experiences. With a soak in a natural hot spring or a relaxing massage, you can rejuvenate your spirit. Or free your spirit with outdoor adventures - trout fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, swimming, hiking and mountain biking. And if it's excitement you crave, you can challenge your spirit with adrenalin-charged extreme activities such as sky-diving, jet boating and zorbing.
Apart from its surprising crater, mountain and lake landscape, Rotorua is memorable for striking Tudor-style architecture and beautiful public parks. The farmland around city is some of the most fertile in New Zealand. Watching a sheep show or staying on a working farm is a great way to get a different view of the region.