Mary Gray, one of Rotorua's 800 new residents, may have moved to the city for a job but has stayed because of the variety, learning opportunities and the "great work-life balance".

Born and raised in Dunedin, the 24-year-old moved to the Bay of Plenty for a role at QE Health, her first job after completing physiotherapy studies at Otago University.

She is also an accomplished triathlete and mountain biker, and won the Winter MTB Series Women's Long Course title in Rotorua this year.

"I can continue training and doing lots of cool races while starting my physio career, which is a lot harder in other cities I think. Plus, I enjoyed working the previous summer here as a mountain bike guide at Planet Bike.


"I love the forest, the lakes, the fact that traffic doesn't take up lots of your time ... I can get to work in 10 minutes and then to the forest within a five-minute ride from home."

She said Rotorua's running, biking and multisport events were not the only drawcard.

"The night market is one of the best parts ... It [Rotorua] is really central so it is a good place to be to explore the North Island, and it is a bit warmer than Dunedin most of the time."

She said she had experienced some downsides to Rotorua, including car thefts, and fewer social events for young people than in university cities like Dunedin.