The Ultimate Guide to Mokoia Island, Rotorua and Mt Tarawera

WelcometoRotorua, one of the most visited places onNewZealand’s North Island. It’s an area of immense natural beauty, with nature walks, geothermal activity, luxury spas, and lotsofMāori cultures to be explored.

The town of Rotorua is very small, although there’s everything you could want in the line of bars, cafes, shops and restaurants, which makes it a good base from which to explore the surrounding region. The real magic of Rotorua is in the surrounding area and its unique geographic and geological forms.

Explore the Lakes

There are 14 lakes surrounding the Rotorua region, many of which are historically significant in Māori culture. Jump aboard the Lakeland Queen, a traditional paddle steamer, and explore historic Lake Rotorua. The heritage styled vessel is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Its gentle pace makes for an utterly relaxing trip, perfect for exploring the area’s geothermal features, natural wonders and stunning landscape.

Mokoia Island

Mokoia Island is the sacred island of the Te Arawa people. The island, which is located in the middle of Lake Rotorua, is an iconic landmark, steeped in cultural history, dating back centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans.

If you want to learn about Mokoia’s tribal history, Wai Ora Experiences offers a series of brilliant visitor experiences, including guided tours, bird watching, and indigenous food tasting.

Enjoy a guided native bush walk and learn about the local flora and fauna. Then, take a soak in Hinemoa’s Pool and learn about Maori legends like the famous love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai, New Zealand’s equivalent to Romeo and Juliet.

The island is also a sanctuary for many of New Zealand’s endangered wildlife. Visitors can arrange to plant a native tree on the island to commemorate their visit and help restore lost habitat.

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

In 1886, when Mt Tarawera erupted, it claimed the lives of 153 people and in its wake left the entire village of Te Wairoa under a cloak of heavy volcanic ash. These days, travellers have the opportunity to tour the deserted site and learn about the history of the settlement before and after the eruption. Admission is 30 NZD for adults, with discounts available for families and children.

Hike Mt Tarawera

After learning about the catastrophic events of the 1886 eruption, why not hike to the summit of Mt Tarawera, the volcano that was responsible for devastating eruption. Nowadays, a hike to the top of the dormant volcano offers visitors spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Please note that the land surrounding the mountain officially belongs to the local Māori tribe, which means visitors need to book a local guide from Kaitiaki Adventures.