It is no secret Rotorua has an abundance of activities for both visitors and locals to get stuck into and enjoy. Here are some Rotorua gems you may not have been to yet or heard about through the grapevine. Summer is the perfect time to check them out.
1) Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cafe
There is something purely magical about Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cafe.
Boarding the ferry and crossing the river to the geothermal area seems scenic enough, but that's just the beginning.
It is a world of geysers, hot springs, mud pools, silica terraces and native bush walks.
Orakei Korako boasts the most active geysers of any geothermal park in New Zealand.
It's a beautiful way to get some good walking exercise and a highlight for me was marvelling at the Ruatapu Cave.
Afterwards, you can have a rest and enjoy some food and drink at the cafe.
This vibrant, natural gem in the Hidden Valley lies in the Taupō Volcanic Zone between Taupo and Rotorua. Orakei Korako is a 25-minute drive from Taupō and 45 from Rotorua.
Adults are $39, kids $15.
2) Secret Spot Hot Tubs Rotorua
The Secret Spot is becoming less and less of a secret as time goes on, but it is always highly recommended by locals.
Its 12 tubs are secluded and set outside among the tree ferns, with optional umbrellas over the tub.
A magical night-time soak can also be taken among the native bush, lit up by lanterns.
They also have a service where you can press a button and they bring you a drink to enjoy in the tub, presented in a flax kete.
It is the perfect way to relax this summer, whether that be enjoying time with whānau, chilling out with friends or spending some quality time with a special someone.
After your serene soak you can continue to enjoy the scenery while having food and drink.
Secret Spot is open between 9am and 10pm in the Waipa Valley, at the Whakarewarewa Forest Mountain Biking carpark.
3) Centennial Park
Tucked in among suburban life on the slopes of Tihiotonga is the peaceful Centennial Park.
The idea behind the development was to provide an area of land for people to dedicate trees for family members or local dignitaries.
You can take a stroll or run through the park, which offers a decent workout thanks to the rolling land and a number of walkways.
You may be joined by the sheep from the farmland the park is found on.
An outdoors afternoon can be made of it, with the park also featuring a barbecue, toilet, picnic tables, Maple Grove and Peace Memorial.
Centennial Park was formerly known as the Rotorua Tree Trust.
4) Okareka Walkway
Lake Okareka is one of the smaller Rotorua lakes and is situated in a picturesque setting of hills, native forest and farmland.
The walkway starts from a Rotorua Lakes Council lakeside reserve on Acacia Rd, where a parking area is provided, and continues for about 2.5km around the shore to the outlet.
The return walk of about an hour and a half features native vegetation, farmland, beach, lake and wetland scenery, expansive views and wildlife.
5) Te Ara Ahi Cycleway
Stretching between Rotorua and Waikite Valley, this cycle trail links five significant geothermal parks – Whakarewarewa, Te Puia, Waimangu, Wai-O-Tapu and Waikite Valley Thermal Springs – each with its own unique natural wonders.
It is a wonderful way to reach these major attractions, while also helping to burn off all those festive treats.
Te Ara Ahi is also rich in Māori culture and offers a chance to see other notable sights such as Lake Okaro wetland, Rainbow Mountain, and the world-class Redwoods Mountain Bike Park.
6) Butcher's Pool
Butcher's Pool is one way you can sneak in a free soak to relax.
Pack your togs, a picnic and head to this pool for a morning or afternoon away from the bustle.
This free hot mineral pool is located on Broadlands Rd, 1.8km south of Reporoa Village. The entrance is sign posted from Broadlands Rd.
The mineral water is piped directly from an adjacent spring.
7) Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre
Those who are nature-lovers will enjoy spreading their wings into the world of New Zealand's birds of prey.
See New Zealand birds of prey up close and enjoy a flight display, showcasing these beautiful creatures in action.
The centre was established in Rotorua in 2002 and is committed to the conservation of the threatened 'Karearea' New Zealand falcon.
8) Rainbow Mountain Walk
The Rainbow Mountain walk is great for those who only have a morning or afternoon free as it doesn't take too long.
Reporter David Beck said they were up and down in a couple of hours.
There are some steeper sections near the top which are enough to get the heart rate going, but the walk's nice, clear paths and steps make it suitable for most people but leave the dog at home.
The view from the top is more than worth the effort too.
Mt Tarawera, Lakes Tarawera, Rotomahana and Rerewhakaaitu, the Paeroa Ranges, Urewera Ranges and Kaimanawa Forest are all visible on a good clear day.
9) St Faith's Anglican Church
If you head along to the Māori village of Ōhinemutu, make sure you don't skip a chance to learn more about St Faith's Anglican Church and see its beautiful interior and exterior.
Set on the edge of Lake Rotorua, this beautiful Heritage New Zealand listed church is open for viewing from 10am until noon Monday to Saturday for a small cost. It also has Sunday services.
A church has stood on this site at Ōhinemutu since 1885.
The first St Faith's was called Te Hahi o Te Whakapono - The Church of the Faith and the second dedicated on the same site in 1914 was called St Faith's Anglican Church.
10) Hannahs Bay Reserve
This reserve is situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua just behind Rotorua Airport and is surrounded by the revitalising kahikatea forest.
The beach is commonly used for swimming, windsurfing and has easy access for water skiing and jet-skis.
It's a great place to walk the dog as they can be off-lead in many places.
Take a walk through the wetlands while you are there.