Rotorua, New Zealand
This is a tourist town with a lot of things to do and see.
The main attraction is the thermal activity and Maori culture.
Rotorua is a must see to complete the New Zealand experience. To travel between Rotorua and Taupo is approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Te Puia - (formerly known as Whakawherawhera - Whaka for short)
This is the tourist spot you must visit. The area is full of boiling mud pools, geysers, rocks of all colors from the sulfur and of course Maori carvings and buildings. It really is something everyone should see. It will take about an hour or so to wander through. There is a new culture center currently that was constructed in 2007 that promises to be a very special place. Maori concerts are offered free here during the day and the concert party are excellent.
These are always an attraction in Rotorua. This is also a must see event. This usually includes a "hangi", a traditional Maori feast, where they do cook the food in the hot steam next to the hotel. You can go outside and see them pull the baskets of food up from the steam before serving. The food features items you are used to eating with nothing strange and is really delicious. The only unique food may be the "kumura" which is a cross between a regular potato and a sweet potato. The call it a sweet potato but it is not orange like you are used to and is more of a yellow color. This is then followed by the Maori concert.
This is a tourist attraction. It is all about trout. Beautiful gardens and the trout breeding program. Trout are raised here and then released into the lakes. Strolling through the gardens is lovely. You can see a live Kiwi here in the kiwi exhibit. Nice teas rooms are available as well.
Definitely a tourist spot BUT go there. I have been many times and I still go back. This is all about sheep and so well done. They introduce you to all the different types of sheep and it is amazing how much you can learn about the different breeds. Then a sheep shearer shears a sheep right in front of you it is amazing how fast they do it. The sheep dogs jump all over the sheep's backs. It is quite entertaining. There is a really good gift shop here that has good products and good prices. I have seen better bargains here and more selection than any where else.
Taupo is a lovely lake. Lots of ferns, and world famous trout fishing. Many people fall in love with Taupo. No odor like Rotorua from the sulfur. The lush green rolling hills with the lake as the focal point makes this a truly beautiful and scenic area. Great food, restaurants and specialty inns abound.
Since the 1920's, the Huka Lodge has been rated one of the world's best. This is located in this general area at the top of Huka Falls. This is a world class property, very expensive but everyone that stays there says it is worth it. The rate includes wines, and a five course dinner.