Rotorua named NZ's top travel destination by New York Times

NZ 11/01/2018

Rotorua has been named one of the world's top travel destinations by none other than The New York Times.

The newspaper has published its annual 52 Places to Go list for 2018, which includes an eclectic range of exotic locales, from Lithuania to China's Silk Road to Disney Springs, Florida.

Rotorua is listed as number 45, and is the only New Zealand destination to make the cut.

"Come for the mud baths, stay for the beauty", reads the accompanying description of the city. The Redwood Treewalk is mentioned as one of Rotorua's star attractions, as is the Mudtopia festival, which launched in December 2017.

Bruce Thomasen, co-founder and director of the Treewalk, said the international recognition is "great for New Zealand and it is great for Rotorua".

"The iconic local beauty of the Redwood forest, just five minutes from town, combined with the award-winning designer Trubridge lights has proven to be a perfect formula," he said. 

"During the day time, the experience is about nature; at night it becomes magical."

Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the inclusion of the city on such a prestigious list reinforces its world-class reputation.

"This will open the eyes of a new sector of travellers who may not have previously considered Rotorua as a destination."

This is the 13th year The New York Times has published the 52 Places list. Hundreds of submissions from regular contributors to the newspaper were edited down to the finalised 52. 

New Orleans was the number one destination on the list, with Colombia and Basilicata, Italy, coming in at second and third place.