Rotorua is a 3-hour drive (non-stop) south of Auckland, with several nice towns and villages along the way. There are two main routes: the first is via Hamilton, initially on State Highway 1, then joining State Highway 5 at Tirau. The other is via Matamata on State Highway 2 and 27, leaving SH 1 at Pokeno (50 km south of central Auckland) and rejoining it at Tirau. The Matamata route has lighter traffic and is probably more interesting for travellers, but sections of the road have the highest accident rates in NZ, so caution is needed. A third option to get amongst the rural farmland is to travel via Te Aroha and then south along old Te Aroha Road, stopping to see Wairere Falls. Be careful on the narrow windy unpainted roads.
From Wellington, follow State Highway 1 north to Taupo, then take State Highway 5. Allow 6 hours non-stop.
Rotorua also has an small airport serviced regularly by Air New Zealand who fly there from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (and onwards to Queenstown without changing); a daily Qantas jet service also links the city to Christchurch (seasonal - suspended since late 2009).
There are direct trans-tasman flights from Sydney twice a week, on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
Bus services are provided by Intercity Coach and Naked Bus . All services arrive and depart from the main tourist information centre on Fenton Street. Services can also be booked there.
Backpacker coach services tend to do pick ups from the major hostels.
Rotorua is a cyclists paradise; as well as boasting some of the best off road mountain bike tracks in the world, the city has no less than seven quality cycle stores, with six in the CBD and the Outdoorsman Headquarters on Tarawera Road. In addition several shops provide cycle hire, notably Lady Jane's ice cream parlour near the lake front.
Generally speaking cycling in Rotorua is safe; many roads have wide verges, cyclists are possibly at most risk from the many camper vans driven by tourists.
As per the advice for drivers of cars, the same routes apply; Rotorua is 300 m (985 ft) above sea level, therefore a trip to the Bay of Plenty (Tauranga, Whakatane or Papamoa will be a mainly down hill trip of between 70-100 km (44-62 mi).
Travelling north towards Waikato also will be downhill to near sea level; conversely a trip to Taupo will be an up and down affair with some challenging climbs.
587 Waimangu Road
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