If we had to pick one place in New Zealand to win the Ms. Photogenic award, Rotorua would be it. From out of this world geothermal wonders to majestic forests, hidden gems and inner-city delights – it’s all here for the taking.
Instagrammable, indescribable. These are Rotorua’s top spots for those envy-worthy photo ops that will have you questioning whether or not it’s all real or just fantasy? And don’t forget to say cheese!
1. Redwoods Treewalk
Extraordinary by day, magical by night, the Redwoods Treewalk located in the iconic Whakarewarewa Forest makes it easy to look like you’ve got some serious photography skills. Suspended high above the forest floor, this naturally stunning setting lets you discover one of New Zealand’s oldest exotic forests in a whole new light. This one-of-a-kind treewalk experience will set you on a photography frenzy so make sure you take the time to put the camera away to be still, be present and forest bathe like you mean it.
2. Whakarewarewa Village
Brimming with heritage and history, Whakarewarewa is New Zealand’s only living Māori village. You can spend hours here exploring the home and legacy of the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people, who have been sharing their unique way of life with visitors from all around the world for over two hundred years. Explore at your own pace or with a guided tour – you’ll be amazed to see families going about their everyday lives here, amidst the geothermal vents, boiling hot pools and bubbling mud.
3. Kerosene Creek
A once very hidden gem has become quite a popular spot to enjoy some free geothermal hot springs and waterfall in the most Instagram ready, natural setting. Located just off of the Thermal Explorer Highway between Taupō and Rotorua, this hot spot (pun intended) is even more spectacular in misty, moody conditions.
4. Okere Falls Track
Lots of oohs and ahhs here to be had along the Okere Falls Track. Located 21 kms from Rotorua, Okere Falls Track is an easy walk, 1.2 km walk (one-way) that takes you through stunning bush along the pristine Kaituna River. With a series of mesmerising waterfalls, including the legendary Tutea Falls – the highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world, there are plenty of photo opportunities to be had here. Make sure you take some time to cheer on the white-water rafters chasing those waterfalls!
5. Kuirau Park
This is not your ordinary city park. Located in downtown Rotorua, Kuirau Park is a bustling, hissing, boiling sensation of geothermal activity in the centre of town and absolutely free to visit. With its twisty, wooden boardwalk to stroll along, it’s a particularly alluring place to be especially during sunset. When you’re sure you’ve got the perfect shot, head down to the free foot baths for a relaxing, therapeutic soak. Bliss!
6. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Waimangu Volcanic Valley will require your full, undivided attention. With spectacular volcanic craters, hot water springs geothermal features and brilliantly coloured micro biology, come prepared with lots of extra memory in your camera with a fully charged battery. Located 25 kilometres south of Rotorua, Waimangu (Māori for black water) is the youngest volcanic system in the world. This system was formed after the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Make sure you take the boat cruise around Lake Rotomahana to see the site of the former Eight Wonder of the World: The Pink and White Terraces. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is a phenomenon to behold – no filters necessary.
7. Rotorua Museum at Government Gardens
One of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand, no visit to Rotorua would be complete without a tour of Government Gardens to view the iconic Rotorua Museum. Although currently closed for earthquake strengthening, you’ll still be able to get the prized shot of this grand Elizabethan-style building with its fascinating past from the heart of the beautifully manicured grounds.