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Known for its sweeping beaches, the Bay of Plenty earns its name well, with the area having a wonderful selection of sights and scenery.
Geysers and bubbling mud pools
Rotorua is located in one of the most geothermally active areas of New Zealand with geysers and bubbling mud pools. Don’t worry about the smell of rotten eggs – it’s only naturally occurring hydrogen sulphide and you soon get used to it!
White Island, one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes, is located 48km out in the Bay of Plenty and currently has an alert rating of 1, meaning that it is constantly active and steaming. You will view hissing fumaroles, spluttering mud pots and pink lava bombs. You will also be able to venture right up to the main crater’s edge to peer down into the steaming and bubbling crater lake.
Te Puia is one of the premier Maori culture centres in New Zealand, one which is enhanced by its steaming vents and gushing geothermal waters.
Whakarewarewa in Rotorua is a living Maori village. The Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao people have shared their heritage with visitors from all over the world for more than 200 years.
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
Sancuary Mountain dubs itself “a mainland ecological island”. Surrounded by the world’s largest pest proof fence, it’s an ancient forest and haven for New Zealand’s native wildlife and plants.
Based around an hour away from Rotorua, the eco sanctuary is 3,400 hectares in total (which is enormous considering 1 hectare is the size of a rugby pitch). It has a variety of hikes and bush walks available, with guided tours on offer as well. Look and listen for tui, kereru, kaka, saddleback and whitehead to name a few. Amongst the flora and fauna are ancient rata and rimu trees, giant weta and kokopu (native fish) as well as many rare varieties of fungi.
You can climb the canopy tower for amazing views of the forest or visit the Tautari wetland with its boardwalk and viewing platform, or even take a guided night walk.