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Rotorua is literally packed with amazing attractions, activities and incredible things to do! With adrenaline pumping activities and stunning natural attractions, Rotorua is an am...More
Rotorua is literally packed with amazing attractions, activities and incredible things to do! With adrenaline pumping activities and stunning natural attractions, Rotorua is an amazing place to visit. Rotorua is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture with hot springs, boiling mud pools, spouting geysers, warm geothermal springs and silica terraces explore. Rotorua’s geothermal activity is one of NZ’s top attractions, but Rotorua is filled with plenty of other excellent activities and things to do. Visit Mitai or Tamaki Maori villages, Explore Wai-o-tapu Thermal Valley, experience Maori culture at Te Puia and visit Hell's Gate for a natural mud bath! There are beautiful thermal spa facilities, healing mineral pools, rejuvinating spa therapies and even soaking in a thermal stream or pool lined with natural bush.
Other activities and things to do in Rotorua are river rafting, jet boating, fly-fishing, Rotorua Luge, and wildlife parks for the kids. There are fun things like Mountain biking in Rotorua’s Redwood Forest, experience the excitement and exhilaration of a Jet Boat Tour on Lake Rotorua, or guided fly-fishing trips and exhilarating activities such as rafting the mighty Kaituna River with its 7m waterfall, an amphibious sightseeing and history tour on a paddle steamer. There is the Zorb and Agrodome agricultural show and many wildlife parks for the kids. Rotorua is rich in Maori culture and is home to the ‘Te Arawa’ people that settled here some 600 years ago who offer the visitor the opportunity to experience authentic traditional Maori villages, such as the Buried Village, Whakarewarewa, Mitai and Tamaki Maori Village. There are attractions offering the experience an evening cultural show where stories of myths and legends are told through dance, song and storytelling along with a tasty ‘hangi feast’ where the food is cooked in the steaming ground.
Best attractions and things to do in Rotorua
1. Hells Gate Geothermal attraction
One of the best things to do in Rotorua is to visit Hells Gate. Steeped In Māori Myth And Legend, this Is New Zealand's Most Unique Geothermal attraction. If you want to experience bubbling mud, then Hell’s Gate is the a great activity for all the family. Hell's Gate, Rotorua, Is New Zealand's Most Active Geothermal Reserve and Mud Spa where you watch the geothermal wonders or bubbling mud and other geothermal features and you can also relax in a mud spa bath to rejuvenate your skin. There are also options to try a Hangi – a traditional Maori meal.
2. Raft the mighty Kaituna River!
For adventure seekers in Rotorua this is an amazing activity being the largest commercially rafting waterfall in the world! Journeying through native bush, over 14 awesome rapids and 3 waterfalls including world-renowned 7 metre Tutea Falls. This attraction includes a Kiwi guide, is blended with touches of Maori culture and includes both white water rafting is also a suitable thing to do for first timers.
3. Rotorua Canopy Tours Ziplining Forest Adventure
For an extra fun activity through a stunning New Zealand native bush attraction, try ziplining in Rotorua! Journey deep into ancient native forest in small groups, of up to 10 people. Experience New Zealand like it once was from the top of the forest canopy. There are kiwi guides that are highly trained to keep you safe, make you smile, teach you amazing things and create memories that last you a lifetime. Perfect thing to do for all ages over 6 years old
4. Cycling and Mountain Biking
Rotorua is a world-famous for mountain biking making this one of the best activities here with world-renowned networks of mountain bike trails. Whakarewarewa Forest, aka “the Redwoods Forest” is a fantastic attraction and contains nearly 200 kilometres of expertly built trails making this a fantastic thing to do being crafted to suit everyone, from absolute beginners through to extreme downhill competitors, and for any age and fitness level. Other top destinations for mountain bikers are Rainbow Mountain, Moerangi Track, Western Okataina Walkway, the Timber Trail and Whirinaki Forest Trails. If you’re a cycling enthusiast, riding Te Ara Ahi Thermal by Bike is a great option and it takes you past geothermal areas, beautiful lakes and forests, and significant historical and cultural sites.
5. Hike Mount Tarawera
Take an amazing walk on Mt Tarawera. Mt Tarawera in Rotorua famously had a huge eruption in 1886, destroying the legendary Pink and White Terraces and the villages and landscape around it. Walking on this vibrant red volcano with Guided Volcanic Crater Hike is a great way to embrace the landscape and history of this place and is an awesome short alternative to the landscape you would experience on the Tongariro Crossing. This fully guided walking experience shows the unique landscape and history of the area with unmatched scenic vistas and 360 panoramic views. This activity is ideal for all ages
6. Scenic Cruise on Lake Rotorua
A relaxing and peaceful thing to do is to take the Lakeland Queen heritage styled vessel that operates on the beautiful Lake Rotorua. It is the only one of its kind in New Zealand and the gentle pace of its paddle provides a relaxing cruise, perfect for exploring the areas geothermal features, natural wonders and stunning views. There are breakfast, lunch and dinner options as well as coffee and wine cruises. For bookings click on the Scenic Cruise on Lake Rotorua trip below.
7. River sledging!
The most exhilarating white water activity with Rotorua's original Sledging Company. This activity is the most intimate way to experience the Kaituna River. Based on the Okere section of the Kaituna River this mixes the amazing scenery of the river with a Grade 5, 14 Rapids, 3 waterfall rafting experience – including the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall, the 7m Tutea Falls. This white water sledging activity has a minimum age of 13 years and takes around 3 hours 30 minutes. There is something for everyone on this excursion. Beautiful Native Scenery attractions, play holes and awesome rapids
Free Attractions and Things to do in Rotorua
1. Redwoods Forest
The Redwood Forest is an excellent attraction with many things to do including walking, running and mountain biking The stunning scenery provides the most amazing backdrop for family photos and selfies. A great option for places to visit in Rotorua if you don’t have a car as you can take a city bus there. A fun thing to do is to go at night to see the light displays in the trees.
2. Fishing Activities
Fishing is an excellent thing to do in Rotorua as the Rotorua Lakes District is known as a fisher’s paradise attraction for anyone keen to fish for a prize rainbow or brown trout from one of 13 fishable lakes, and several rivers and streams. Some of the biggest wild fresh fish can be found in Rotorua's streams and rivers.
Play Golf in Rotorua
Take advantage of the great range of golf course attractions in and around Rotorua that suit all levels. The Rotorua Golf Club is ranked as one of the top courses in the North Island. Springfield golf club is set in park-like surroundings with many tree-lined fairways and strategically placed greens. Lakeview Golf Club with its stunning views over Lake Rotorua make it a pleasure to play and Rotorua’s Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary is the first of its kind in New Zealand offering a unique environment where golf and the natural habitat work in harmony.
4. Government Gardens
Government Gardens is one of Rotorua’s historic landmarks and one of Rotorua’s top tourism destinations. This is a stunning attraction is situated along the edge of Lake Rotorua and just minutes from the city centre. A walk through Government Gardens takes you to see many free attractions including ancient bubbling geothermal pools, sculptures, traditional and modern Māori-inspired art, and beautifully manicured grounds for lots of fun activities such as bowls, croquet, petanque and golf. There are some historically significant buildings here including a Tudor-Style Bath House, built onsite and opened in 1908 which now houses the Rotorua Museum and Art Gallery, The Blue Baths with ornate Mediterranean-style public swimming house which was the first of its kind in the world to allow both men and women bathe in the same pool. Also there is the Klamath Falls Rose Gardens where roses are in bloom from mid-November to June, Te Runanga Tearooms built in 1903 as a tea pavilion, a band rotunda built in 1900 and various other buildings of historic interest.
5. Centennial Park
Centennial Park offers 20 beautiful, grassy, tree-dotted hectares of rolling hills and deep gullies. A top attraction here is the Peace Memorial and Maple Grove where in early spring, thousands of native tui flock here when the trees are in flower. Sheep are the eco-friendly grounds keepers here, so be sure to close any gates you go through.
6. Kuirau Geothermal Public Park
Check out the natural boiling, bubbling and steaming geothermal action throughout Kuirau Park, New Zealand’s only geothermal public park. It's free to visit and located within an easy walk from the city centre, just off Pukuatua and Ranolf streets. There are lots of attractions and things to do here with several walkways through Kuirau Park to see the crater lake, mud pools, hot springs, and a free thermal foot bath, all set in a beautifully manicured setting dotted with flower beds and native flora.
7. Visit Boyes Beach and Park
One of the largest beaches on Rotorua’s neighbouring Lake Ōkareka and a great attraction during the warmer months. There are heaps of things to do here including swimming, fishing and picnicking. There is a picnic area with barbecues, children's playground. A fun thing to do is to take the walkway which passes two local jumping rocks.
8. Hemo Gorge Trail - Te Ara Ahi
Hemo Gorge Trail is two-way, Grade 2 shared trail for cyclists and walkers that is part of the Te Ara Ahi cycleway and continues to Rainbow Mountain. There are seats along the way offer spots to rest and take in the environment. The trail is 1.5km from the Te Puia carpark to the Waipa car park
9. Hike to Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi
A great activity for hikers is to hike to view both of these beautiful lakes. This hiking track starts near Redwood Forest and at the hike’s highest point, you will be able to see both lakes and witness their clear blue and green water colour difference in shade. Location: 9km (6 miles) southeast of Rotorua, along Te Ngae Road then along Tarawera Road at the roundabout.
10. Wai-O-Tapu Boardwalk
This is a great free attraction for the family being a short track along the “Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland” Located near Rainbow Mountain, this is the ideal short stop between Rotorua and Taupo. The platform elevates above the mud pool to offer another perspective of a pool of bubbling mud and lots of geothermal steam!