10 of the best creatures to see in Rotorua

10 of the best creatures to see in Rotorua

1 Baa-eautiful

A visit to New Zealand wouldn't be complete without getting up close to one of our 30 million sheep. Rotorua's leisure and wildlife parks offer a chance to do just that. See sheep dogs in action, feed a lamb and get yourself into a pair of cosy woolly socks at the Agrodome.

2 views by horseback

The city and lake of Rotorua is surrounded by hills which means there are many great spots for spectacular panoramic views and what better way to see them than by horseback. Whether you are a first-time rider or a pro, there is a horseback tour to suit you. Check out Adventure Playground and The Farmhouse for horse trekking options.

3 NZ's Dinosaur

Known as New Zealand's living dinosaur, tuataras have spiny crests along their backs made from soft, triangular folds of skin - it is the Māori translation of 'peaks on their back' that gives them the name 'tuatara'. Tuatara can live for over 100 years and it is understood their primitive body structure has changed little in the last 220 million years. Visit Rainbow Springs for your close encounter with a tuatara.

4 Black-billed Gull

The black-billed gull (tarāpuka) is the most threatened gull species in the world. They are generally found in coastal areas, except for the colony that lives around Sulphur Bay on the edge of Lake Rotorua! Tread carefully when visiting the area - the Department of Conservation says human activity around nesting sites can disturb gulls, and even cause parents to abandon their nest.

5 NZ's Threatened Falcon

One of New Zealand's most spectacular birds the New Zealand falcon, or kārearea, is capable of flying at speeds over 100 km/h and catching prey larger than itself! A visit to Wingspan will teach you about the ancient art of falconry - using trained birds of prey to hunt. Visitors will be impressed by the falcon's display of fast flight, steep climbs and stoops. You may even have chance to let the falcon hold on to your hand.

6 A worm that's not a worm

There are several spots around Rotorua that offer spectacular viewing of glow worms (not actually a worm but a fungus gnat) in their natural habitat. Take a guided tour with Waimarino Glow Worm Kayaking to the glow worm caves on Lake Rotoiti.

7 Rainbow Trout

Hamurana Springs  is a popular walking area for both locals and visitors. The track takes you through a lovely and peaceful redwood grove running alongside the Hamurana Stream. In summer the stream is home to rainbow trout who prefer the cool temperature of the spring water.

8 Hello Kiwi

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter have welcomed over 1500 kiwi chicks to their hatchery since their involvement with kiwi conservation began in 1995. The Encounter features the only open-to-view kiwi hatchery in New Zealand and one group of visitors were lucky enough to witness the arrival of the 88th kiwi chick for the 2016/17 season.

9 kaharoa Kokako

The Kaharoa Conservation Area is just north of Rotorua. Take the Tauranga Direct Road onto Kaharoa Road and then left into Kapukapu Road. The Kokako Track begins a short 15-minute walk further along the road. Pack a breakfast picnic and head out early to catch the dawn chorus.

10 alpaca your bags and see you in rotorua!

Suri Alpacas are prized for their long and silky fibre. Their inquisitive nature, intriguing faces and calming presence make super cute pets. Suri produce a rare beautiful fibre unlike that from any other animal and they are super soft to cuddle. Visit Surico Alpaca just north of Ngongotaha.