Rotorua was named one of the top 10 trending destinations in the world by the global tourism giant Booking.com.
This is a huge honour, and even more special as no other New Zealand destination has ever been on this list.
Here are some of the reasons we think we made this list and how they can be part of how you can have the best summer ever. In keeping with a top 10 theme, we’ve paired the lyrics of some popular songs, to get you humming along.
"Every 1’s a winner baby, that's the truth..."
Rotorua has won the most tourism awards of any destination in New Zealand over the last three years. From Polynesian Spa winning three at the World Luxury Spa Awards, Te Pā Tū winning two at the New Zealand Tourism Awards, to Rotorua Canopy Tours winning Best Nature Experience in the World from Tripadvisor, and Pullman Rotorua winning Best Regional Hotel at the H&M awards, Rotorua-based tourism businesses have been raising the bar at every turn.
"Good morning, good morning..."
This year, in a first for New Zealand, Good Morning America was filmed live from Te Puia, taking the iconic Māori cultural and geothermal location and Rotorua into the homes of more than 3 million Americans. GMA is the most popular morning show in the USA, filmed live in New York City every weekday. This live coverage showcased our beautiful Māori culture, the mystique of our geothermal features, and, of course, the humour and grace of our local people. What better way to greet the day for our American whānau than with a welcoming waiata all the way from Rotorua, Aotearoa?
"Papa's got a brand new bag..."
Papa might have a brand new bag, but Rotorua’s got some brand new activities! This year Velocity Valley launched the new ride Vertigo. This ultimate adrenaline rush will see you hanging 43m above the earth in a specially designed harness before you’re dropped – sans any type of attachment – to a safety net below. This will be the longest four seconds of your life.
If you really want to step it up, there is the brand new $60m luxury Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa. Offering an unmatched relaxation experience in an architecturally award-winning facility, the Southern Hemisphere has nothing to match this phenomenal spa and rejuvenation experience.
"Take it to the limit, one more time..."
While Rotorua has lots of amazing new things to do, we also saw lots of our experiences reinvest in their businesses, upgrading their facilities and allowing them to take their businesses to new limits. Skyline Rotorua (pictured at top) invested more than $6 million in new luge tracks, taking them from spectacular to indescribable. They have also made the tracks longer, faster and safer. We have also seen family favourite Redwoods Treewalk adding new features such as the world's first walk-through David Trubridge sculpture, and increasing the features of their popular night lights experience.
"When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie..."
Okay, so we don't have any new pizza restaurants, but we do have some amazing eateries that are really pushing the Rotorua dining experience towards the stars. Poco Tapas & Wine, located on Arawa Street, is in the vanguard of Rotorua eateries gaining international and national attention. With sexy and fun décor and a tapas menu that is both characterful and flavourful, this hotspot has made the list of the top 100 restaurants in New Zealand. Also on Arawa Street, we have The Fainting Goat, offering an upmarket casual dining experience. The Fainting Goat has made a name for itself with its hearty platters and phenomenal cocktails.
On the edge of town is the legendary Okere Falls Store. This local favourite has previously won the best toasted sandwich in New Zealand and has an eclectic menu, paired with possibly the region's most extensive craft beer collection. The Store is located in the heart of whitewater rafting country, across from the world-famous Kaituna Awa, and is the perfect spot to refuel after an adventurous river mission.
This list is by no means exhaustive; there are so many more amazing experiences, eateries and accommodation options to enjoy in Rotorua which no doubt helped get our small New Zealand region into the big leagues.
Use this list as a starting point for your planning and to delve deeper into the awesome possibilities that Rotorua offers in creating your best summer ever.
Who sang it?1. Every 1’s a Winner: Hot Chocolate
2. Good Morning: Max Frost
3. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag: James Brown
4. Take It to the Limit: The Eagles
5. That’s Amore: Dean Martin