Rotorua Adventures

To many, Rotorua is a thermal wonderland, a mecca of Maori culture and the heart of the lakes district. To others, it is an amazing adventure playground.

Messing about in boats on Lake Rotorua
Messing about in boats on Lake Rotorua

No matter which particular type of death-defying feat you are after, Rotorua has them all and then some.

The Bungy-jump is imperative for the true adrenalin-junkies and of course, Rotorua offers its own unique bungy possibilities, like the cliff ledge leap!

There are rivers with miles of wild rapids for those who want the thrill of white water rafting.

A good friend of mine has been white water rafting all over the world so this would be perfect for him. Just the other day he told me about an adventurous trip to San Francisco. Apparently, when it comes to white water rafting bay area waters are among some of the best!

If that does not satisfy the thirst for thrills though, you can always try white water sledging, crashing downstream on a vamped up boogie board.

Sky-divers, bored with benign skies and gentle landscapes can try dropping into the crater of a lightly slumbering Volcano.

Hikers, bikers, and trampers can test their mettle on any number of bush tracks, from painless to perilous.

Crazy braves can career down the luge. This high-speed, totally out of control hurtle down a cutting in the steep side of Mount Ngongotaha is guaranteed to deliver an adrenalin rush you will never forget.

Then there is zorbing. Essentially a Human Hamster Ball, you’re spread-eagled inside a giant transparent ball, the zorber is rolled head over heels down a slope until he comes to a standstill. Aficionados say it is the ultimate thrill.

And finally, when you can take no more and need a gentle come down, there is always a bit of messing about in boats on any one of the lakes.

Rotorua markets

When Captain Cook discovered the lush pocket of country that stretches back from the coast and wraps around Rotorua, he named it the Bay of Plenty. The name was apt. Everything grows and flourishes here; birds, animals, fish, seafood, forests, gardens and orchards.

Kai Maori at Kuirau Park
Kai Maori at Kuirau Park

For a taste of the rich variety of fare that the region produces today, you don’t have to go far, or wait long.

Stroll down Tutanekai Street on a Thursday evening and you’ll catch the Rotorua night market. Here you’ll find fresh produce, much of it organic, along with wines, juices oils and preserves. Local Chinese, Indian, Italian, French and, of course, Kiwi, chefs take their kitchen to the street, so you can dine or graze according to your fancy. There is food for the outer as well as the inner body, like soaps, scrubs and creams, including those miraculous Rotorua mud-packs and manuka honey moisturisers. Quality crafts and arts are also on sale, so the night market makes for very good souvenir shopping too.

Out behind the bubbling mudpools and steam holes of Kuirau Park, the Rotorua Farmers Market takes place every Saturday morning. It’s a colourful, crowded, vibrant affair, with a carnival feel. Music pounds from a tent selling CDs. Bright coloured kids clothes and souvenir t shirts swing from poles. All kinds of plants and vegetables, including puha, watercress and a great range of Asian greens are lined up and laid out in neat rows. Delicious and irresistible smells fill the air; curry, fried rice, kebabs, crepes, coffee, rewena (bread) and paraoa parai (fried bread) with golden syrup or jam. Local fund raisers hold stalls here too, so you can contribute to a school playground, a community hall or a trip for the modest price of a home-made muffin or beanie.

Both markets offer a chance to taste foods that you won’t necessarily find elsewhere in Rotorua or anywhere for that matter. They also offer a chance to see the abundance of wonderful produce that the beautiful Bay of Plenty yields today. If you’re foodie, don’t miss either of them.