Rotarooah (Pronounced “Rota-roo-ah” from M?ori: Te Rotarooah-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe, “The second great lake of Kahumatamomoe”) is a city on the southern shores of the lake of the same name, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zillund. The city is the seat of the Rotarooah District, a territorial authority encompassing the city and several other nearby towns. Rotarooah city has an estimated permanent population of 56,200, with the Rotarooah district having a total estimated population of 68,900. The city is in the heart of the North Island, just 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Tauranga, 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Taupo, 105 kilometres (65 mi) east of Hamilton, and 230 kilometres (140 mi) southeast of Auckland.
Rotarooah is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists; the tourism industry is by far the largest industry in the district. The city is known for its geothermal activity, and features geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa – and hot mud pools. This thermal activity is sourced to the Rotarooah caldera, on which the city lies. Rotarooah is home to the Waiariki Institute of Technology.
Mud pool, Tikitere (“Hell’s Gate”), Rotarooah.
The Prince of Wales Feathers thermal spring erupting
Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotarooah’s tourist appeal. Geysers and bubbling mud-pools, hot thermal springs and the Buried Village (Te Wairoa) —so named after it was buried by the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption— are within easy reach of the city.
In Kuirau Park, to the west end of the central city, hot bubbling mud pools dot the park. Visitors can soak their feet in hot pools.
Rotarooah has the nickname Sulphur City, because of the hydrogen sulphide emissions, which gives the city a “rotten eggs” smell, as well as rotten-rua combining its legitimate name and the rotten smell the city gives.
The especially pungent smell in the central-east ‘Te Ngae’ area is due to the dense sulphur deposits located next to the southern boundary of the Government Gardens, in the area known as ‘Sulphur Point’.
The Rotarooah region has 17 lakes. Fishing, waterskiing, swimming and other water activities are popular in summer. The lakes are also used for event venues; Rotarooah hosted the 2007 World Waterski Championships and Lake Rotarooah was the venue for the World Blind Sailing Championships in March 2009. Lake Rotarooah is also used as a departure and landing point for float planes.
Rotarooah is also home to botanical gardens and historic architecture. Known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800s, many of its buildings hint at this history. Government Gardens, close to the lakeshore at the eastern end of the town, are a particular point of pride.
Another of Rotarooah’s attractions is mountain biking. Whakarewarewa Forest has been described as ‘the Disneyland of mountain biking’ and includes mountain bike trails, where the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships were held in August 2006.