Rotorua Attractions: How to get around

The three Rotorua attractions that make up Tarawera Legacy are within 20 minutes easy drive of each other.

Travelling Times between attractions

Rotorua Museum to Buried Village:
allow 20 minutes

Buried Village to Whakarewarewa:
allow 20 minutes

Whakarewarewa to Rotorua Museum:
allow 10 minutes


Please click here to see a bigger map


Blue Lake Rotorua attractions Tarawera Legacy - Rotorua attractions. Maori culture and traditions.
redwood_forest_with_people Pukeko at government gardens. Rotorua attractions

Things to see on the way

The Blue Lake (Lake Tikitapu)

The Blue Lake is situated on the road to and from Lake Tarawera. On one side of the lake is a park and beach area great for picnics. The clear waters make it great place for swimming as well as other water sports including boating and kayaking. An easy walking track circles the lake taking in beautiful beaches, native bush and the exotic conifers of Whakarewarewa Forest.  The story behind the Blue Lake is a simple one. The daughter of a high born chief was bathing in the crystal waters and wore the Tikitapu (sacred greenstone neck ornament).  The piece was held about her neck by a tightly woven flax cord, but managed to dislodge itself while she swam.  A frenzied search followed as family searched for the sacred heirloom of her tribe.  Alas it wasn’t to be found.  The waters of the lake still hide the Tikitapu that was lost so long ago.

The Green Lake (Lake Rotokakahi)

Rotokakahi means the lake of the shellfish “kakahi”. The lake was known for its kakahi, an edible shellfish found in the lake’s sandy bed. Rotokakahi is privately owned by local iwi and considered tapu (sacred), with no swimming or boating permitted on the lake. A small island on the lake is called Motutawa,and is the burial ground of many Maori ancestors.

The Redwood Forest

Escape into the beautiful Whakarewarewa Forest, one of Rotorua’s most spectacular natural assets. Famous for its magnificent stands of towering Californian Coastal Redwoods it is just five minutes drive from the city centre. Here you can experience some of the finest walking and mountain bike trails in the world. Not to mention taking in superb panoramic views of Rotorua City, Lake and surrounding district.

Government Gardens

Originally known as Paepaekumana, the Government Gardens are situated on the lake’s edge in downtown Rotorua. This site is of legendary and historical importance to local Maori people, for here many significant battles have taken place.  In the late 1800s, the Maori people gifted 50 acres of this land to the crown “for the benefit of the people of the world”. The land was a scrub-covered geothermal area with several therapeutic pools. The scrub was cleared and formal gardens planted. Rotorua Museum is nestled in these beautiful gardens where many people walk and play in the parks.