Rotorua: A backpacker’s playground in New Zealand (Travelogue)
Rotorua (New Zealand), Nov 18 (IANS) If you are an adventure freak, this city — located on New Zealand’s North Island — should be at the top of your wish list. It is home to activities like Luge, OGO (Outdoor Gravity Orb) or the Agroventure, as well as the highest commercially-rafted waterfall in the world. Not to miss is Skyswing — all of which give a chance to discover moments that make for great memories.
Rotorua is the lifestyle destination of choice for professional couples, families and people who have a passion for life and the outdoors. It is like a playground in New Zealand and attracts millions of visitors, including Indians, year after year.
“Year over year figures (year ending September 2016), we have had an incredible number of Indian visitors making the most of Rotorua attractions,” Patrick Dault, Manager, International Trade, Destination Rotorua, told IANS.
“As I extrapolate data, I can confirm that we have seen a 47.1 per cent increase in attractions and activities visits versus 2015, resulting in an additional 15,000 activity visits in Rotorua from Indian visitors,” Dault added.
India as a market is important because of many reasons, he said.
“For us, the Indian market is a priority. This tourist is very important as it allows to tap into that clientele which is seeking more of these experiences, perhaps that they can’t experience in India because of its geographical structure or maybe as people there are more busy in their lifestyle,” Dault said.
Skyline Rotorua, a high point of the place, is the original site of the Luge and now the Skyswing, Zoom Zipline, Adrenalin Park, iNZspired Boutique, StratosFARE restaurant and Volcanic Hills Winery. A must-visit to feel an adrenaline rush.
A ride down one of Skyline’s Luge tracks will be thrilling. With three different track options and over 5 km of track to ride, riders have full control, over the three-wheel, gravity-based luge carts.
You can even try out the three-seated Skyswing. It is hoisted 50 metres high above Skyline Rotorua, with the release in your hands. It’s on you to make the drop! Swing at 150 kph out over the breathtaking view of Lake Rotorua and beyond — and feel the rush.
“We have very stringent health and safety audits. We give you a chance to face your ultimate fear and we take care of your safety as we have audited and tested every activity 100 to 500 times,” Dault said.
As a place, Rotorua offers an amalgamation of natural beauty with forests, lakes and geothermal activity. It also throws up a chance to sample traditional Maori culture — making it a wholesome experience as a tourist in North Island.
The climate is pleasant: Plenty of sunshine over the summer months and crisp, clear days in winter.
One of the things that strikes most newcomers (other than the distinctive sulphur smell that is noticeable for the first day or two), is the high quality of both private and public gardens and the standard of maintenance of most homes and other buildings.
This is one reason why the number of days spent here by Indian travellers is increasing.
“The average length of stay in Routura is pushing to three-plus nights, which is very unique because what they are finding here is different from South Island. I think it’s a bit more tropical and accessible in terms of weather.
“It’s also about the unique products — for instance, we have luge here that is biggest in the world. The same thing is for rafting and bungy jumping. We have jet boating in a lake,” he said, adding that targeting the Indian youth is a big market for the place.
“The youth are the bag-packer market, which is an emerging market in India. Soon after finishing universities, they want to experience such activities. We see the German, French, Italian markets and now we are seeing Indians here too,” Dault told IANS.
However, it was not so a few years ago.
“Let’s be honest — traditionally, it has been said that Indians like adventure, but they don’t like walking. But these pre-conceptions are completely out now. They love walking, they are adventurous and some of them come for wine and food touring,” he said.
All in all, Rotorua can capture your heart and give you thrills and chills to remember.
(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Tourism New Zealand. Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)