Sunday, 15 January 2017

Rotorua Holiday Destination since 1870

Rotorua Spa City c1870

Excerpt from : Auckland Star, Volume I, Issue 295, 20 December 1870

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh visited Rotorua on "December 15th - Started from Ohinemutu at 10.00am for Lake Tarawera, visiting the hot springs at Whakarewarewa en route..." he went on to visit the Pink & White Terraces, the Geyser Ngatapu and mud springs of Rotokanapu. 
On this visit H.R.H. camped at Ohinemutu, with his personal guard of the Native Contingent, under Captain Gascoigne. He also stayed with the Rev. S Spencer at Lake Tarawera.

By 1872 the accommodations at Ohinemutu had improved somewhat : 

Advert from the Bay of Plenty Times : Volume I, Issue 24, 23 November 1872.

It seems paddocking and alcohol were are major draw card for the hotels, the first hotel of Ohinemutu clearly thought so..., there was at the time no other hotels to choose from and tourists had to take what they could get, this would have included aristocracy such as  "Lord D'Arcy Osborne and two others of the haughty aristocracy... and others too numerous to mention" BPT 10.11.1875. 

In 1884 the tourist statistics for the season stood at 1,250 and takings for the region stood at £15,400

After the 1886 Tarawera Eruption, tourism suffered, but only for a short duration!. It seems one month after the eruption Captain Way was happy to guide people to the volcano (Bay of Plenty Times 10.7.1886) and by 1887 it was reported in the Auckland Star that "not withstanding the destruction of the Pink & White Terraces, more tourists passed through Napier for the Hot Lakes this season than ever before..." 

This Postcard was donated to the Rotorua District Library, 2013.

In 1891 Thos. Cook & Sons, tourist agents arrived to make arrangements for an office in Rotorua.


For more interesting facts and information about our fair city you can read the following books :

The Founding Years in Rotorua, a history of events to 1900 by Don Stafford at 993.423z STA
A history of Rotorua : a brief survey of the settlement of Rotorua by Enid Tapsell at 993.423z TAP
Tarawera: the volcanic eruption of 10 June 1886 by R.F. Keam at 993.423z KEA