Rotorua is a thermal city in the centre of New Zealand's North Island. The city is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua which was formed from the craters of extinct volcanoes.
Polynesian Spa is nestled upon the picturesque shores of Lake Rotorua. The second largest lake in the North Island of New Zealand, Lake Rotorua lies within a volcanic caldera, formed by the collapse of a volcano’s magma chamber during its last major eruption (around 240,000 years ago!).
Lake Rotorua is fed by a number of local tributaries, including a number of thermal streams and rivers well stocked with trout. At an average depth of 10 metres (33 feet), Lake Rotorua is popular with anglers.
There is one island in Lake Rotorua, called Mokoia Island. Mokoia Island is a native bird sanctuary and home to the romantic Maori legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai.
Thermal History and Properties
Rotorua is located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, and has a geothermal history which has formed the volcanoes, hot springs, and thermal activity which can be found in this area. Click here to learn more about Rotorua's geothermal history, volcanic activity, and geothermal properties.
There is a Maori legend on how an early Maori explorer climbed one of the central area’s mountains. At its snowy peak, he nearly died – so he called on the gods to give him fire. The fire gods travelled underwater across the Pacific to bring the explorer volcanic and thermal fire, leaving it in every place they surfaced.
To the indigenous people – the Maori, the geothermal area is spiritually significant. The Maori people consider themselves guardians of the resource. Every one of the hot mineral springs that bubble up in Rotorua is known and named by Maori.
The geothermal resource itself is known as “Waiariki”, itself a term of high honour. It means literally “water of the gods” although it is interpreted as “hot spring”. These waters are also regarded by Maori as treasures – again there’s a word for it “Taonga”.
Polynesian Spa is located in central Rotorua overlooking Lake Rotorua. Polynesian Spa houses different mineral pools filled with acidic or alkaline water that flows from the two mineral hot springs of the area. Take a dip at Polynesian Spa to experience the unique geothermal properties of this area.
Rotorua enjoys a pleasant climate; plenty of sun shine in summer with crisp, clear days in winter. Rotorua averages more than 2000 sunshine hours and just over 140cm of rain annually.
- Summer (Dec – Feb): Daytime 21 – 29ºC
- Autumn (Mar – May): Daytime 15 – 26ºC
- Winter (Jun – Aug): Daytime 9 – 16ºC
- Spring (Sep – Nov): Daytime 13 – 21ºC
To find out what the weather is like in Rotorua right now, visit the New Zealand MetService website.
Things to Do in Rotorua
There are so many things to do in Rotoura - you could stay a week and not become bored!
Rotorua activities include luging at Skyline for fun with the family, or immersing yourself in Maori culture at Te Puia. Travel the North Island on the Thermal Explorer Highway from Auckland through to Hawke's Bay to take in sights, sounds and culture of New Zealand.