The hottest town in New Zealand is "exploding" with hot spots for tourists. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
You don't have to pack your thermal underwear on a trip to Rotorua, New Zealand. This "smoking hot" town is full of geothermal activity, geysers, mineral-rich mud and hot springs. Located along the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua sits in the bubbling core of the country’s North Island.
The name Rotorua is a Maori word meaning "second lake," although there are 17 in the region. The largest, Lake Rotorua, is formed from the crater of a large volcano that last erupted about 240,000 years ago.
Some call the town "Rotten-rua" because of the stink of sulphur permeating the air. It's a can't-miss destination for tourists who are on the spa and wellness trail, whether looking to soak in natural pools or in a tourist complex such as Polynesian Spa.
For a little bit more activity of the volcanic kind, 30 miles out to sea across the Bay of Plenty is New Zealand's most active volcano and perhaps the world's most accessible. Captain Cook christened it "White Island," for the constant white cloud pumping out. This "submarine" volcano is like an iceberg, with only the tip visible and much more below the surface.
Scheduled boats can take hours to get there, while float planes and helicopters can whisk you away from your hotel in a thrilling 40-minute flight, as I experienced as a guest of New Zealand tourism.
The helicopter lands at the rim of the crater where a pilot/guide carefully leads visitors around the hot spots. All visitors have to wear gas masks and hard hats, because the volcano has been especially active this year.
For more information, visit www.rotoruanz.com.