Rotorua Thermal Wonderland

Rotorua is situated in the central North Island of New Zealand in the midst of a remarkable area of geothermal activity. Hot mud pools, steam vents, sulphur terraces and natural springs punctuate the landscape making for unique views from the air... and careful landings.

The city of 68,000 stands on the edge of Lake Rotorua, 300 metres above sea level. The temperate climate and varied landscape make the area a perfect playground for a wide variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, mountain biking, bush walks, swimming, water skiing, sailing, golf ,  hang gliding and paragliding. Popular coastal resorts are within an hour's drive from the city.

Paeroa Launch
Late February usually brings warm settled weather with moderate to light winds and gentle thermals. Launch areas are smooth grassy slopes often used by local paragliding schools. You can enjoy days of flying summer thermals over green pastures and then finish with the evening soaking away in a hot thermal spring.

A "must see" for pilots visiting New Zealand is our first and only bird of prey centre in Paradise Valley only 10 mins from Rotorua. Wingspan trust cares for sick, injured and orphaned raptors and provides a unique opportunity to view the native Karearea (Falcon), Kahu,( Harrier) and Ruru ( Morepork).

As an area of tremendous significance to the Maori people, Rotorua has also emerged as an important cultural centre. The Arawa people of Rotorua were New Zealand's first visitor guides, leading the way to the natural wonders of the region that have been part of their home for more than 600 years. Today, opportunities to come face to face with the descendants of these people abound in Rotorua. For more information about Rotorua visit the official Rotorua site, see


Rotorua has everything from camp grounds to 5 star hotels. For the pgopen we are recommending Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park which offers the best location, spacious grounds, free hot pools, a range of cabins, self contained flats, unlimited camping areas and an on site cafe/restaurant. Just mention the PGOpen when you book to get a 10% discount. Bookings for cabins may fill early as this is a busy time of year.

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Wayne Rohrs,
Aug 13, 2013, 9:49 PM