During college, I was incredibly fortunate to be working my way towards a major with a study abroad requirement; International Security & Conflict Resolution. In the inaugural year of that requirement a group study abroad opportunity took a small number of us to New Zealand. Little did I know at the time how special this country would become to me - I now like to refer to it as "my spirit country."
I learned so much during the trip, both on the academic side about different systems of governance and about my own personal travel style. For instance, while in Rotorua we were graciously hosted at the Apumoana Marae for a few nights. Where I learned that I just don't do well sleeping in public spaces. Particularly those with twenty or so others - included heavy snorers. As I've gotten older I've developed some coping mechanisms for similar situations (Bose headphones will get me through anything) but I've purposefully avoided ever booking a bed in a hostel for this reason.
My sleeping issues aside, there were a couple of things about Rotorua that I loved; the beautiful carvings at Te Puia Arts & Crafts Institute and the Apumoana Marae as well as the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley - which is like a piece of artwork itself with all the different natural pigments.
And just for the record, you might hear things about the smell of Rotorua - it's the sulfur from the all the thermal activity in the area but it's really not that bad at all. Don't let those stories steer you away from a visit.