Rotorua is a city on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand, and Rotorua District is the encompassing local authority area. The city has a population of 55,600, the district 68,000. It is 60 km south of Tauranga, 105 km south-east of Hamilton and 82 km north-east of Taupo. The District is divided between the Bay of Plenty (61.52 percent of its land area) and the Waikato (38.48 percent) Regions. Rotorua's suburbs are Ngongotaha, Fairy Springs, Selwyn Heights, Kawaha Point, Western Heights, Pukehangi, Pleasant Heights, Mangakakahi, Sunnybrook, Pomare, Utuhina, Ohinemutu, Koutu, Hillcrest, Matipo Heights, Glenholme, Fordlands, Springfield, Rotorua West, Fenton Park, Whakarewarewa, Waipa Village, Tihiotonga, Ngapuna, Lynmore, Te Ngae, Owhata, Hannahs Bay, Holdens Bay and Rotokawa.
Rotorua is well-known for geothermal activity. There are a number of geysers, notably the Pohutu geyser at Whakarewarewa, and hot mud pools located in the city, which owe their presence to the Rotorua caldera.
Rotorua won the "New Zealand's Most Beautiful City Award" in 2002 and 2006.
Rotorua is connected to the north by State Highway 5, to the east by State Highway 33, to the west by State Highway 30, and to the south by State Highway 5. Increasingly though travellers to Tauranga are selecting the newly commissioned State Highway 36 via Ngongotaha, Kaharoa and Pyes Pa.
Rotorua Regional Airport provides daily flights to Auckland Airport and Wellington International Airport via turbo-prop services and Christchurch International Airport using turbo-props and a daily jet service. Plans are afoot to increase the runway length to allow trans-Tasman flights.
Rotorua is also connected to the rail network with a branch line from Putaruru to the north, currently disused.
Rotorua is also home to the largest tertiary institute outside of the university centres, Waiariki Institute of Technology
Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotorua's tourist appeal. Geysers and bubbling mud-pools, hot thermal springs and the Buried Village (Te Wairoa) - so named after it was buried by the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption - are within easy reach of the city.
Kuirau Park, to the west end of the central city, is also remarkable - hot bubbling mud pools dot the park, lending a surreal air to the setting. Visitors can soak their feet in hot pools.
Rotorua is nicknamed Sulphur City, because of the aforementioned thermal activity. The sulphur gives off an odour unique to Rotorua that adds to the visitor experience.
The especially pungent smell in the central-east 'Te Ngae' area is due to the dense sulphur deposits located next to the southern boundary of the Government Gardens, in the area known as 'Sulphur Point'.
With 17 lakes, the Rotorua region is an aquatic paradise. Fishing, waterskiing, swimming and other water activities are popular in summer. The lakes are also great event venues; Rotorua hosted the 2007 World Waterski Championships. Lake Rotorua is also used as a departure and landing point for float planes.