At the southern end of Lake Rotorua lies Sulphur Bay, a mystifying geothermal wetland that the Rotorua region is famous for. This is an active and constantly changing landscape with sinter terraces, sulphur and silica flats, and active mud pools and steam vents. The milky colour of the water is the result of suspended sulphur particles. Although not a good source of food, the warmth and proximity to other feeding grounds and its wildlife refuge status makes this a safe haven for over 60 different bird species including banded dotterel/pohowera, NZ dabchick/weweia, scaup/pāpango, three gull species and pied stilt/poaka.
Active geothermal area, specialised plants suited to the harsh conditions.
Information panels explain some of the rich history and features of the area
Southern end of Lake Rotorua.
The wetland is easily accessible from the central city area in Rotorua.
Bird and Wildlife Watching
Take your binoculars - over 60 species of birds can be found here including banded dotterel/pohowera, NZ dabchick/weweia, scaup/pāpango, three gull species and pied stilt/poaka.
Mountain Biking and Cycling
You are permitted to cycle the section of track from the Lake Plaza Hotel to Puarenga Stream.
Tracks and Walks
A walkway starts at Motutara Point on the Rotorua lakefront following along the lake edge behind the Government Gardens, past the Polynesian Pools and through the geothermal area. You can access this walkway from many points, walking as little or as much of it as you like. The section from the Lake Plaza Hotel to Puarenga Stream is known as Te Arikiroa and is a dual-use walk and cycleway. You must however keep to the tracks. This is a dangerous and fragile environment.
Other Places to Visit
Waimangu and Waiotapu Geothermal Reserves - featuring walkways, guided tours, and gift shops (entry fee applies).
Lake Okaro - a small lake with a 1.8 km walkway.
Lake Okareka - a walk through a restored wetland filtering farm runoff that takes you to a bird hide on the lake shore.
Plan & Prepare
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.