At the core of New Zealand’s North Island is one of the most active geothermal locations on Earth. Two breathtakingly lakes, Rotorua and Taupo, lie quietly at the scene of huge volcanic activity, producing Rotorua’s famous hot springs and the country’s largest lake.
Lake Taupo is a still and majestic expanse of blue-green water fringed by little beaches, coves and Maori rock carvings. For all its tranquillity, it came to being with a serious bang – it formed after an earth-shattering volcano eruption that was said to have turned the heavens blood-red. Fortunately, this was a good 300,000 years ago, and New Zealand was left with one of the world’s most beautiful thermal regions.
It’s paradise for sailing and a popular location for white-water rafting, jet boating and trout fishing. Take a gentle cruise out to Mine Bay, the scene of ancient Maori carvings, or head out into the surrounding dense forest on a nature walk through the lush wilderness.
One of the world’s premier geothermal hotspots lies on the steaming, hazy shores of Lake Rotorua. Christened ‘Sacred Waters’ by Maoris, Rotorua is a concentrated area of 30 metre geysers, bubbling hot springs and boiling mud pools. The searing volcanic landscape produced wonders like the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and the famous therapeutic qualities of hot mineral springs are handily provided in the local luxury spas.
Rotorua’s population is over a third Maori, and today is a fantastic place to experience Maori traditions and join in with music and dance at local hangi evenings. The area’s unique habitat makes it rich in diverse wildlife worth exploring at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, and you can catch a boat out to Mokaoia Island’s bird sanctuary, which has its own hot pools to soak in.
Experience one of New Zealand’s most unusual and fascinating regions with a tailor made luxury tour from Lightfoot. Experts in their field, the team are on hand to give you advice on accommodation and design a unique tour using concierge style service.