If you have a few hours to spare in Rotorua and want to do more than just discover the geothermal wonderland, why not fly over the area. I would never have suspected this landscape and it gives you a great perspective once back on the ground! Below is my experience on a Rotorua floatplane, with photos.
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Why fly over Rotorua ?
Yes the area does not offer the mountains of South Island, but it is still worth it to fly over.
I recommend booking either an helicopter tour and a floatplane tour from Rotorua in order to see the surprising landscape with the many lakes.
It allows you to see how the volcanic valleys are niched in the forested areas.
Volcanic Air Safari - Booking a Rotorua Floatplane of Helicopter Tour
Since Rotorua has a large lake, it is quite easy to take off with a float plane.
The tour starts right in the heart of town...
There are several options to choose from from a short tour to a flight to White Island
See the Rotorua floatplane options
First: I selected this tour myself while I was in Rotorua and paid fully for the activity.
- I did the 30 min Mount Tarawera /Waimangu Thermal Valley – “Eruption trail tour” with Volcanic Air Safair
- Equipment / Plane: all seem to be in very good condition.
- Pilot: We had to drift for a long time before we were able to take off. The flight was a bit bumpy but the landing was really smooth!
- Location: it is very simple to find. The building is on the waterfront next to the big floatplanes
- Info: like all flight tours they need a minimum number of passengers to run the tour, and takeoff will depend on weather conditions
But if you'd rather fly in an helicopter rather than a floatplane, this is also possible.
Check out the options
Rotorua floatplane - the Otter and Take off
Here are some pictures of the floatplane I flew it.
It was my very first time on such a plane. It was a bit scary but well worth it.
First the plane has to drift in the lake to find the right position versus the wind for take off.
For us it tool a very very long time. All I could do was look at the water
But we finally took off!!!!
Flying over the many lakes around Rotorua
Who knew there were so many lakes in the area? I had my front head stuck to the window of the floatplane the whole time. The sights and colors were mesmerizing.
Below is the Waimangu Volcanic Valley:
Flying above Mount Tarawera
During this short flight we also flew over the volcano that erupted in 1886 and created mount Tarawera.
The crevasse was very impressive et very red. However I wish I had flown over a more traditional circular volcanic crater.
The reason behind Rotorua's smell
The sulphure creates a very bad smell in the city of Rotorua, from the plane it was really clear where the smell was coming from:
Want to see more of NEW ZEALAND?
Discover more things to do with planning information and photos in my online New Zealand Travel Guide.
Would you fly in a floatplane?
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