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Visit Rotorua

Nau mai, haere mai. welcome..

Immerse yourself in Māori culture and manaakitanga (caring and hospitality) as manuhiri (visitors) have been doing here in Rotorua for nearly two centuries. 

Explore otherworldly geothermal parks, experience world-class spa and wellness therapies, and wander through the beautiful Whakarewarewa Forest . 

Rotorua is home to 18 lakes . It is also a haven for mountain bikers of all levels who travel from around the world to experience the 200km network of gold-level trails .

Enjoy thrilling adventures , create family memories , and explore the many great walking tracks . Relax and refuel at award-winning cafés and restaurants appealing to all tastes and budgets. Choose from a wide range of accommodation  options, from 5-star hotel and luxury lodges to bespoke glamping.

Welcome to Rotorua, we’ll look after you – the way we always have.

Māori Culture

Lakes & rivers, spa & wellness, cycling & mountain biking, have we got a deal for you .

Make your holiday planning easier. Pre-purchase your activities and accommodation here. 

Experience Rotorua

Winter's here! Find comfort in your favourite foods

Winter's here! Find comfort in your favourite foods

This winter, meet some of Rotorua’s warmest people

This winter, meet some of Rotorua’s warmest people

5 ways that make Rotorua New Zealand’s warmest place in winter

5 ways that make Rotorua New Zealand’s warmest place in winter

6 great ways to enjoy a Matawiki this Matariki in Rotorua

6 great ways to enjoy a Matawiki this Matariki in Rotorua

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Helpful tips

Here's a few useful links to help with planning your trip to Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Best things to do in the North Island
  • Best things to do in the South Island
  • Other Islands
  • Best ways to travel around
  • Calculate travel times and distances

Top 10 things to do in Rotorua

With magical geysers, adrenaline-pumping activities and Māori culture, Rotorua really packs a punch.

1. Wing your way to geothermal wonders

Mount Tarawera

Mount Tarawera, Rotorua

By Volcanic Air

Explore Rotorua's geothermal valleys from the air with Volcanic Air and step foot onto the summit of Mount Tarawera or view the Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave. You can enjoy a scenic floatplane flight over Lake Rotoiti and experience a water landing then soak in the secluded hot pools usually only accessible by boat or a five-hour walk.

2. Get your adrenaline pumping

Share the fear with friends on our 40 metre giant swoop swing, Rotorua NZ

Velocity Valley Swoop, Rotorua

By Velocity Valley Rotorua

Head to Velocity Valley for a day of jam-packed family adventure. Here you can ride a BMX bike into a huge airbag, try a reverse bungy, Swoop from 40 metres in the air or race your mates on the Shweeb Racer, the only pedal-powered  monorail track in the world. Zip through the water at a speed of 100 kilometres on the Agrojet or try the  Xtreme Freefall - it's like skydiving without the plane. 

3. Explore Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Take in the beautiful views at Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Waimangu Volcanic Valley , New Zealand

By Miles Holden

Enjoy an up-close-and-personal experience of the geothermal wonderland at Waimangu Volcanic Valley . Explore the valley with a self-guided eco-tour along crater walkways and a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana - the home of the Pink and White Terraces. Kayak your way around the lake and weave your way through Steaming Cliffs on a guided tour.   

4. Raft down a seven metre high waterfall

Rafting, Kaitiaki Adventures

Rafting, Kaitiaki Adventures, Rotorua

The Kaituna River meanders its way through the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty regions and is home to Tutea Falls, a thundering seven metres high waterfall.  Kaitiaki Adventures can take you over the edge during their Grade 4 or 5 white water rafting trips. No rafting experience is needed - just a sense of adventure and a change of clothes. 

5. Feel the warm embrace of Māori culture

Where manuhiri (guests) become whānau (family)

Te Puia, Rotorua, Rotorua

By Matt Crawford

Gain insight into Māori culture and the myths and legends of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley at Te Puia.  Here you can witness Pōhutu Geyser explode hot water into the air, and see students create traditional carved masterpieces at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, then top off the day with a hearty  hāngī .  

6. Zipline through a 119-year-old forest

Ziplining in Rotorua

Ziplining in Rotorua, Rotorua

By Rotorua Canopy Tours

Zipline your way around  prehistoric native forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours and weave your way through the trees as you walk across 20 metre high suspension bridges. If you're wondering what to do at night, head to  Redwoods Treewalk  and step into a  captivating world of colour and light on the Redwoods Nightlights tour. This is an experience the whole family will enjoy. 

7. Mountain bike the Whakarewarewa Forest

Whakarewarewa Forest, known simply as 'The Redwoods', is a mountain biking mecca.

Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua

By Destination Rotorua

The network of nearly 200 kilometres of purpose-built mountain biking trails in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest is world-famous and received Gold Status by the International Mountain Biking Association. They have also been voted the best mountain biking in the Southern Hemisphere by Red Bull. Let the team at Mountain Bike Rotorua (opens in new window) take care of all of the logistics and get ready for some epic riding. 

8. Race downhill on the luge

Family fun on the Luge

Family fun at Skyline Rotorua, Rotorua

By Skyline Rotorua

Strap on a helmet and feel the rush of a speedy downhill ride in your own luge at Skyline Rotorua . Start slow on the beginners scenic track through the Redwoods Forest, and work your way up to the more challenging intermediate and advanced tracks. Enjoy the views as the chair lift takes you back to the top, take the whole family or race your mates to the bottom. 

9. Indulge in a therapeutic hot pool or mud bath

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa, Rotorua

By Polynesian Spa

Settle into the lakeside setting at Polynesian Spa  and soak in the mineral spring hot pools that can  relieve aches and pains and nourish the skin.  Or cleanse your mind and body with the ancient practice of lathering geothermal mud over the body, followed by a soak in the sulphur spa at Hell's Gate .  

10. Become a human bubble

Go Zorbing in Rotorua

Zorbing, Rotorua

By Zorb Rotorua

Have you ever imagined rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball? Tick it off your bucket list and head to ZORB Rotorua , the only place to zorb in New Zealand. Choose from four thrilling tracks - go straight down the hill, tackle the six corners on the Sidewinder Track, swing and drop your way down on the Big Drop Track or take on the extreme Mega Track, the steepest in the world! 

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21 Awesome Places to Visit in Rotorua ♨️ [2024]

Nz pocket guide is 10 years old. thank you for trusting us with your trip for over a decade, the top tourist attractions in rotorua, new zealand.

Never underestimate Rotorua . There’s so much to do in this “little town” on the North Island that you will also leave wanting more. Although Rotorua is famous for being a hotbed for geothermal activity, as well as having a rich Māori culture, there are so many adrenaline, wildlife and nature experiences to be had as well. For this reason, we have tried to pack more than 20 awesome places to visit in Rotorua in this list, but even then, there’s always more to do …

We’ve picked out some of the highlights of Rotorua, whether your bag is geothermal parks, experiencing the Māori culture, seeing native wildlife, walking around stunning lakes or on top of volcanoes. It’s all here in this list of places to visit in Rotorua.

1. Wai-O-Tapu

The first tourist attraction in Rotorua on our list is Wai-O-Tapu . Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity so let’s not waste any time getting onto it. Wai-O-Tapu is the place you need to go to if you want to see the orange steamy pools of the “Champagne Pool” or the vibrant green “Devil’s Bath”. There are over 20 different geothermal features to be wowed by throughout the park so is a good couple of hours spent.

Location: Along State Highway 5 about 53 km (33 mi) from Rotorua. Turn down Wai-O-Tapu Road for 1 km (0.6 mi).

2. Hamurana Springs

Next on our list of the best Rotorua tourist attractions is Hamurana Springs . A cool natural feature of the Rotorua area is this crystal-clear spring. Take a 15-minute walk to get to the springs with decking viewpoints looking over the springs. Admission is around NZ$20 per adult, making it one of the 15 Cheap Things to Do in Rotorua .

Location: 17 km (10.5 mi) out of Rotura. Follow State Highway 36 to Hamurana. It’s near the golf course.

3. Lake Tarawera

With waterfalls, natural hot pools and not to mention stunning lake and volcano scenery, Lake Tarawera is an awesome day trip or overnight trip from Rotorua. While there are options to go with activity providers on the lake, an alternative is to hike the Tarawera Trail from Te Wairoa for five hours to Hot Water Beach where you can bathe in some natural hot pools and stay the night in the campsite. Return water taxis are available. Find out more on the DOC website .

Location: Te Wairoa is a 15-minute drive out of Rotorua down Tarawera Road.

4. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

You are spoiled for choice with hot pools in Rotorua, between free natural pools and the luxurious Polynesian Spa (see point #15). However, the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools is a little off the beaten track making it one of the fun places to visit in Rotorua. Plus, it’s more affordable and features a geothermal walk to see the source of the natural hot springs. Compare Waikite to other hot pools across the country in the 10 Best Hot Pools in New Zealand .

Location: 30 minutes from Rotorua. Take State Highway 5 and turn down Waikite Valley Road at Waiotapu.

5. Skyline Rotorua

The top of the Skyline Gondola has many things to do from giant swings to the seriously fun Luge . Keen mountain bikers can also try out the downhill trails from the top of the gondola. Skyline Rotorua can also be accessed by city bus, making it an easy tourist attraction in Rotorua to visit if you don’t have your own vehicle.

Location: 178 Fairy Springs Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

6. Velocity Valley

For a place to visit in Rotorua with some insanely fun stuff, check out Velocity Valley . Choose from jet boating, bungy jumping, freefalling, Shweebing and giant swinging in this adventure park that runs on a ticket system – a bit like an extreme funfair. Find out more about Velocity Valley on Viator  and Klook .

Location: 1335 Paradise Valley Road, approximately 9 km (6 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

7. Te Pā Tū (Formerly Tamaki Maori Village)

Experiencing the Māori culture is probably one of the most popular attractions in Rotorua. Rotorua is rich in Māori culture and there are many cultural attractions to experience the Māori culture for yourself. One of those ways is having a tour of Te Pā Tū complete with traditional Māori games, crafts and cultural performances and finishing off with a hāngī  meal buffet . Check out Te Pā Tū on Viator and Klook . Plus, see how this Māori experience compares to the 10 Best Maori Tours in New Zealand .

Location: Te Pā Tū provides transport from 1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua city centre. Alternatively, drive yourself about 15 minutes along State Highway 5 from Rotorua.

Another extremely popular Rotorua tourist attraction is Te Puia . Te Puia brings everything Rotorua is famous for together with a geothermal park featuring the impressive Pohutu Geyser , as well as cultural performances inside a marae. Watch an example of the powerful powhiri, a Māori welcoming ceremony. Walk around the geothermal hot pools and bubbling mud. Also, see an example of a traditional Māori village.

Location: 20 Hemo Road, Rotorua. Drive, walk or take the bus from Rotorua city centre.

9. Motion Entertainment

Your rainy-day saviour in Rotorua has to be Motion Entertainment . If you’re travelling with a group of mates or family, then battle it out on the bowling alley, at the mini golf, on the 4D shooting missions, in escape rooms, laser tag arena and more! Be aware, when the weather does not play ball, Motion Entertainment becomes one of the most popular attractions in Rotorua. See more rainy day attractions in the 15 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day .

Location: 346 Te Ngae Road, Lynmore, approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

10. Kerosene Creek

For some free natural hot springs and one of the most popular places to visit in Rotorua, check out Kerosene Creek about 30 minutes out of the city. Relax in the naturally-heated stream and waterfall in the creek. For more natural hot pools, check out 5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua .

Location: 28 km (17 mi) south of Rotorua. Take State Highway 5, then travel about 2 km (1.2 mi) down Old Walotapu Road, just before you reach the little village of Waiotapu. There will likely be other vehicles parked there.

What is there to say about Zorb ? Get inside a giant inflatable hamster ball and roll down a hill! It’s simple yet incredibly fun as you jump into the ball with a little bit of water and experience the feeling of chaos as you roll down the hill. Warning: once is never enough. As an activity that you can do with a partner or a friend, we also list this in the 20 Most Romantic Things to Do in Rotorua .

Location: 525 Ngongotaha Road, Fairy Springs, approximately 6 km (4 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

12. Hell’s Gate

One of the best attractions in Rotorua is Hell’s Gate . If you love bubbling mud, then this is your place! Not only can you watch bubbling mud and other geothermal features, but you can also relax in a mud spa bath to rejuvenate your skin. Book your entry to Hell’s Gate on Viator ,  Klook or whatever you prefer!

Location: 351 State Highway 30, Tikitere, approximately 16 km (10 mi) or 20 minutes drive from Rotorua city centre.

13. Wingspan

The National Bird of Prey Centre is an incredible opportunity to get up close to New Zealand’s smallest and only owl, the morepork or “ ruru” . Also, check out the flight of a New Zealand falcon every afternoon at 2 pm. Other birds of prey species are also seen at this rehabilitation centre.

Location: Paradise Valley Road, approximately 8.5 km (5 mi) from Rotorua town centre.

14. Kuirau Park

Next is a FREE and super-accessible Rotorua tourist attraction, Kuirau Park ! The free geothermal park right in the centre of Rotorua features steamy lakes, pools and bubbling mud. You can even bathe your feet in hot foot baths. Check out more attractions like this in the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Rotorua .

Location: Kuirau Street, Rotorua city centre.

15. Polynesian Spa

Another place to visit right in the centre of Rotorua is the Polynesian Spa . Relax in a huge complex of pools, whether you choose the luxury option or the main pools. Either way, you have a wide range of temperatures, minerals and views to enjoy. Check out Polynesian Spa on Klook or  KKday for more information. Plus, see more indulgences like this in the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Rotorua .

Location: 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua city centre.

16. National Kiwi Hatchery

If you are travelling with kids, then the National Kiwi Hatchery will be one of your favourite tourist attractions in Rotorua. Visit the kiwi house to learn about the breeding programs used to boost the populations of kiwi. If you’re lucky, you might even see a kiwi chick. Find out more about the National Kiwi Hatchery on Viator or Klook .  Plus, check out more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids .

Location: 192 Fairy Springs Road (next to Skyline Rotorua), approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

17. Mt Tarawera

A mesmerising place to visit in Rotorua is Mt Tarawera . Did you know you can actually walk on Mt Tarawera? Mt Tarawera famously had a huge eruption in 1886, destroying the landscape and villages around it. Walking on this vibrant red volcano with Kaitiaki Adventures is a great way to embrace the landscape and history of this place. Plus, it’s an awesome short alternative to the landscape you would experience on the Tongariro Crossing .

Location: Transfers are available from Rotorua accommodations.

18. Orakei Korako

Explore a little further off the beaten track towards Taupo and you’ll find the geothermal park of Orakei Korako . A boat service provides access across the Waikato River to the geothermal park full of silica terraces, geysers, colours, pools, caves and steamy stuff. For more geothermal attractions, check out the   10 Best Geothermal Parks in Rotorua & New Zealand .

Location: Orakei Korako Road. On State Highway 5 at Mihi, turn down Tutukau Road then onto Orakei Korako Road. This attraction is approximately 67 km (42 mi) from Rotorua.

19. Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

Walking tracks, biking tracks, treetop trails, even hot pools … There are many ways to enjoy the Redwoods in Rotorua. Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest can either be enjoyed as a free activity , or you can hire a bike (see hires with Mountain Bike Rotorua )  or buy tickets to the Redwoods Treewalk with 21 suspension bridges up high in the forest. For a special perspective, come at night to see the light displays in the trees. This is also a great option for places to visit in Rotorua if you don’t have a car as you can take a city bus there.

Location: Long Mile Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

20. Lake Rotoiti

The neighbouring lake to Lake Rotorua, Lake Rotoiti is a world of its own. The scenic lake hides all sorts of wonders between glowworm caves and natural hot pools. Kayaking tours with River Rats Raft Kayak , stand-up paddleboard excursions with Paddle Board Rotorua (more info on Viator and Klook ) and even cruising with Pure Cruise are all marvellous ways to explore the lake. However, the big canoe tour with Waimarino Group offers a unique way to paddle on the lake’s tranquil waters while listening to Māori legends and history.

Location: State Highway 30 and 33, Rotorua. See the links above for meeting points.

21. Hobbiton

Less than an hour’s drive from Rotorua is The Lord of the Rings movie attraction that’s on every nerd’s bucket list! Take a tour of where Middle-earth adventures begin at the Hobbiton Movie Set . The 1 hr 30 mins to 2-hour tour takes you to iconic locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies, including The Mill, The Green Dragon Inn and tens of Hobbit Holes! Check out reviews and book tickets to Hobbiton on Viator or  Klook . Guided tours from Rotorua to Hobbiton and back are available with   GreatSights .

Location: 501 Buckland Road, Matamata , approximately 69 km (43 mi) from Rotorua.

More About Rotorua

That’s it for the best places to visit in Rotorua but by no means is the end of our Rotorua travel tips! Check out the following guides for more travel inspiration:

  • 50 Best Things to Do in Rotorua
  • The Best Day Trips from Rotorua
  • 10 Free Natural Attractions in Rotorua
  • 20 Best Walks in Rotorua
  • 10 Best Bike Trails in Rotorua
  • The Complete Travel Guide to Rotorua

Finally, if you found this guide useful then you might find planning the rest of your trip super easy with the  North Island in Two Weeks: New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary and  North Island in One Week: New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary .

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

  • Tourism New Zealand (General travel advice - Updated [2024])
  • Department of Conservation (Tracks, hikes, campsites and more - Updated [2024])
  • AdventureSmart (Know before you go - Update [2024])
  • Tiaki Promise (Care for people place and culture - Updated [2024])
  • NZ Māori Tourism (Official Māori Tourism platform - Updated [2024])
  • Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Road and transport tips - Updated [2024])
  • DriveSafe (Road safety - Updated [2024])
  • Council websites and freedom camping maps (Local travel advice region by region - Updated [2024])
  • Safe Travel (NZ travel advisories - Updated [2024])
  • Tourism Export Council New Zealand (Tourism trade association - Updated [2024])
  • TIA (Independent tourism association - Updated [2024])
  • Rotorua NZ (Regional tourism website)
  • Rotorua Lakes Council (Local council website)

Our editorial standards : At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rotorua

Written by Jess Lee Updated Dec 25, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Lively Rotorua is the epicenter for viewing New Zealand's volcanic landscapes of seething, steaming geysers and mud pools. The low-slung town is full of geothermal activity (you'll notice the smell as soon as you arrive), which has created a moonscape of wildly-colored silica terraces and bubbling ponds on Rotorua's doorstep.

The surrounding region is dotted with lakes and large tracts of native forest that make a wonderful contrast to the stark and violent landscapes of the geothermal areas.

The town is also renowned as a center for Maori culture and is one of the best places in the country to see traditional Maori performances and delve into the history and heritage of the local tribes.

Rotorua is also an excellent base for visiting two of New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions: the glowworm caves of Waitomo and the perfectly preserved movie set of Hobbiton , left over from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Check out details of these and other things to do with our list of the top attractions in Rotorua.

1. Waimangu Volcanic Valley

2. rotorua museum, 3. te wairoa, 4. wai-o-tapu, 5. whakarewarewa: a maori village, 7. hells gate geothermal park, 8. waitomo glowworm caves, 9. hobbiton, 10. kaituna river white water rafting, 11. mount ngongotaha scenic reserve, 12. agrodome, 13. mokoia island, 14. kaharoa conservation area, 15. tarawera trail, 16. whirinaki forest park, where to stay in rotorua for sightseeing, map of tourist attractions in rotorua.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Rotorua is the heart of New Zealand's geothermal attractions, and Waimangu Volcanic Valley is one of the most popular places to see the seething mud and steaming silica terraces. A series of walkways allow visitors to view the smoke-filled craters and bizarre acid-yellow and lime-green terraces safely. The inferno crater is a highlight, with its huge geyser billowing into action.

The trail meanders all the way to the shore of Lake Rotomahana, where boat trips are offered to view more geothermal features. For history fans, the 45-minute boat loop is a must-do, as the cruise takes you across the site of the famed pink and white terraces (once called the eighth wonder of the world and similar to the travertines of Pamukkale in Turkey), which were destroyed when Mount Tarawera erupted in 1886.

Address: 587 Waimangu Road, Rotorua

Official site:

Rotorua Museum

Amid the tranquil Government Gardens, which lie on the shores of Lake Rotorua, is the ornate Tudor-style Old Bath House building that now contains the Rotorua Museum. Inside, a series of permanent exhibitions tell the story of Rotorua's cultural history, from its pre-European era to the present.

The well-collated Nga Pumanawa o Te Arawa gallery focuses on the history of the Te Arawa Maori Tribe, while the rooftop terrace (with stunning panoramas across the lake) and basement of the museum provide a look at the building's 1908 origins, when it was a famed spa resort.

Fascinating ethnology exhibits span the people of the Pacific, and other galleries spotlight the social history of Rotorua and the natural surroundings.

Address: Government Gardens, Oruawhata Drive, Rotorua

Official site:

Te Wairoa

Established in 1852 by a Christian missionary, Te Wairoa was envisioned as a model Maori village, which could also cater to the many foreign visitors arriving to see the famed pink and white terraces nearby. The village, though, was to have a short history. On June 10, 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted followed by Lake Rotomahana exploding, covering Te Wairoa with a layer of mud up to two meters thick.

Although most villagers were able to escape, 17 lives were lost. Archaeological excavations here began in the 1930s, and the site now reveals the floorplans of the original buildings.

The on-site museum displays items recovered from the site during the excavations and also contains a detailed geological exhibit of the pink and white terraces, which now lie under Lake Rotomahana. A pretty walking trail leads from the archaeological site through native bush to Wairere Falls .

Address: 1180 Tarawera Road, Rotorua 3076

Official site:


More geothermal oddities await at Wai-O-Tapu, home to the Lady Knox geyser, which erupts at 10.15am every morning with water shooting up to 20 meters in the air. This colorful area brims with volcanic activity, with bubbling mud pools formed by a collapsed mud-volcano, water pools tinted fluorescent green, and steaming terraces in shades of bright yellow and lurid orange all creating a surreal and otherworldly landscape.

A series of walkways throughout the Wai-O-Tapu park allows you to traverse the area for good views of all the volcanic sights. Be sure to spend a little time in the visitor center. In addition to its detailed information regarding the attraction, there's also a shop and café on site.

A great way to ensure you get to see the very best of the attraction is via a Rotorua Eco Thermal small group tour. These fun morning excursions are led by professional guides and include the highlights of the hot springs and geothermal formations, including the Lady Knox Geyser.

Address: 201 Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua 3073

Official site:

Whakarewarewa: A Maori Village

Amid the steam vents and hot pools of the Whakarewarewa geothermal area of Rotorua is the Maori village of Whakarewarewa. Here, the Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao tribes welcome visitors to experience the culture and heritage of the Maori people.

Hourly guided tours of the village include a performance of the Haka and other traditional Maori songs by the Te Pakira cultural group and a look at how the local residents use geothermal energy for cooking and heating.

Those wanting to delve deeper into the rich culture of New Zealand's indigenous people can stay overnight in the village Marae (meeting house). Want to stay a little longer? The facility also boasts a campsite.

Address: 17 Tryon Street, Rotorua

Official site:

Te Puia

Home to Rotorua's Pohutu Geyser, Te Puia has plenty of geothermal marvels to explore. Located on the outskirts of the town center, Pohutu Geyser is the Southern Hemisphere's largest geyser and sprays water up to 30 meters in the air in eruptions that can last for days on end (one eruption lasted for 250 days). However, these days, eruptions are more likely to last a few minutes.

Nearby is another active geyser, Te Tohu , which also has regular, although smaller, eruptions.

As well as all the geyser action, there are steaming alkaline springs in the area, which the Maori use for cooking, and bubbling mud pools.

When the geothermal sightseeing has finished, the Te Puia park has a kiwi house, where you can see New Zealand's rare and nocturnal national bird up close. It's also home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you can watch masters and students working on traditional wood and bone carvings and learn about the preservation of Maori artistry.

Address: Hemo Road, Tihiotonga, Rotorua 3040

Official site:

Hells Gate Geothermal Park

Set amid 50 acres of steaming, boiling geothermal activity-and boasting the Southern Hemisphere's hottest waterfall and some of the most active and violently bubbling hot mud you'll ever see-Hells Gate Geothermal Park certainly lives up to its name.

The Kakahi Falls were once used for bathing by Maori warriors, with the plummeting water cascading over the rocks at a steady 40 degrees Celsius, while the aptly named Inferno area is a steamy vision of pools and bubbling mud that heats up to 100 degrees Celsius.

A little less hot, and much less violent, are the neighboring Hells Gate spa facilities, where you can chill out in geothermal mud baths and sulfurous hot springs.

Address: State Highway 30 Tikitere, Rotorua 3010

Official site:

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are one of New Zealand's most popular sights, and for good reason. This deep limestone cave system, littered with huge stalactites, is home to hundreds of thousands of glowworms (Arachnocampa Luminosa) who illuminate the rock ceilings and walls in a spectacular display of twinkling, tiny spotlights. Boat tours (every half hour) head 250 meters into the subterranean passages of these cathedral-like caverns to witness the phenomenon.

As well as the main caves, the Waitomo area has several surrounding caves for more underground adventures. Both Ruakuri Cave and Aranui Cave can be accessed on foot and allow you to observe the weird limestone formations and stalactites and stalagmites up close, while Ruakuri Cave is also the setting for black water rafting tours deep into the caverns.

Address: 39 Waitomo Village Road, Otorohanga; 139 kilometers west of Rotorua

Official site:


Fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Hobbit films will want to make a beeline to the small town of Matamata for a pilgrimage to the film set of Hobbiton. The entire village created for the movies directed by Peter Jackson is set on the private Alexander Farm. It has been faithfully preserved by the owners, who now guide tours to the site for movie buffs seeking to revel in a slice of Middle-Earth.

With the troglodyte houses of The Shire sitting snuggled into the hillside and the mill and inn standing amid rolling lush green countryside, it truly feels as if you've stepped into Tolkien's fantasy world. Regular themed events and festivals are also held here (check the website for details).

Address: 501 Buckland Road, Matamata; 67 kilometers northwest of Rotorua

Official site:

Rafters descending Tutea Falls on the Kaituna River

One of the most popular adventures in Rotorua, Kaituna River White Water Rafting is a must-do when visiting this area of outstanding natural beauty.

Fast and furious rapids are the order of the day, and during your three-hour white water trip, you'll be left breathless not just by the pace of the action, but also the jaw-dropping scenery of the canyons and rain forest you pass through. A highlight is the plummet over Tutea Falls, a near vertical drop into the pool below (yes, you'll get wet!). Cliff-diving is also included for those up to it.

While no experience is necessary-these tours are led by professionals-some age restrictions apply. Equipment such as wetsuits, helmets, floating devices, and boots are included with your tour package. Hotel pickup and drop-off is also included.

Mount Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve

This thickly forest-clad reserve on the volcanic cone of the 757-meter-tall Mount Ngongotaha has two excellent and easy walking trails right on the edge of Rotorua.

The Nature Walk offers a short, three-kilometer stroll through native bush, with many information boards highlighting the native fauna along the way.

The Jubilee Trail is a tougher walk and heads up to the summit on a five-kilometer hike thoroughly enclosed by the tall trees and ferns with their incredible array of green hues. A full loop can be walked by taking Mountain Road down from the summit where you'll get amazing panoramas over Lake Rotorua all the way.

Address: Western Heights, Rotorua 3015

Sheep breeds at the Agrodome

Traveling with kids? Then the Agrodome in Ngongotaha is a must-visit. This 350-acre working farm features plenty of things to do for families, including a popular farm show featuring 19 sheep breeds, shearing demonstrations, sheep dog trials, and a chance to feed the lambs or milk a cow. Interacting with these furry creatures is all part of the fun, especially in the farmyard nursery where you can see (and pet) newborns.

Tractor tours are also included with admission, along with a look at the on-site woolen mill. Tickets for the Agrodome Sheep Show and Farm Tour can be purchased in advance.

Address: 141 Western Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua 3010

Official site:

Mokoia Island

The sacred island of Mokoia is an important wildlife sanctuary for some of New Zealand's rare and endangered birdlife. For the local Te Arawa Maori tribe, this island sitting on Lake Rotorua is steeped in ancient myths and is the setting for the Maori love story of star-crossed lovers Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

Guided tours of the island include opportunities to spot indigenous bird species such as kiwi, kokako, and saddleback and to delve into Maori culture, as local guides explain the deep significance of the island for the Maori people and also demonstrate how the Maori use the native flora for medicinal and cooking purposes.

Kokako Bird

The kokako is one of New Zealand's most endangered birds, and fewer than 1,400 are thought to still live on the North Island. The Kaharoa Conservation Area is one of the best places to hear their distinctive birdsong and spot them.

The easy 1.2-kilometer Kaharoa Kokako Track (also known as Hollow's Track) is a must for nature lovers and bird-watchers who want to try to get a glimpse of the kokako in its natural habitat. The forest here, full of huge king ferns and totara trees, is also home to plenty of easily seen native birds, including tuis and bellbirds.

Address: Kapukapu Road, 36 kilometers north of Rotorua

Tarawera Trail

The Tarawera Trail traverses the hilly shoreline of Lake Tarawera for 15 kilometers for panoramic views across the myriad greens of the countryside and the shimmering lake. Backpackers can set up camp at a designated camping ground along the trail, but it's also an excellent day hike to experience the rolling landscape of the lake areas around Rotorua.

The trail ends at Te Rata Bay (also known as Hot Water Beach), where a natural hot spring flows into the lake, and hikers can soak their feet in the hot water. A handy lake water taxi travels to and from the bay for walkers to hop on when they've finished.

Location: Lake Tarawera, 15 kilometers south of Rotorua

Whirinaki Forest Park

The native podocarp forest in this conservation area has made this one of the North Island's most well-loved national parks and a beacon for hikers, campers, and mountain bikers. Whirinaki Forest Park covers 55,000 hectares of biodiverse New Zealand temperate rainforest with a dense undergrowth of ferns and a high canopy of rimu, kahikatea, and totara trees.

The trail network here is excellent, allowing everything from a short afternoon amble to multi-day treks. For travelers with more time, the Whirinaki Trail offers a chance to savor the full gamut of the scenery here on a two-to-five-day trek.

Location: Whirinaki Forest, 91 kilometers south of Rotorua

Rotorua offers a variety of great accommodation options for travelers, many of them located close to top tourist attractions, such as the many geothermal features that dot the area. To help you find the most suitable accommodations, we've gathered together a few of our favorites:

  • Luxury Hotels : The Regent of Rotorua adds a splash of luxury to your hotel experience and features classy rooms and suites in a beautiful setting close to downtown Rotorua, along with a restaurant, natural mineral pool, and spa services. Ratcheting the luxury stakes up a notch, the five-star Peppers on the Point - Lake Rotorua is set in a 1930s mansion and comes with larger suites with balconies, sundecks, and private hot tubs, along with a lovely lounge and relaxing gardens. The five-star Koura Lodge is also posh, with B&B-style accommodations featuring separate sitting rooms, along with high-end amenities such as a sauna and private jetty.
  • Mid-Range Hotels : Novotel Rotorua Lakeside is a quality mid-range hotel offering guests great views over Lake Rotorua, a mix of standard hotel rooms and suites, a casual restaurant, a heated indoor pool, and a great breakfast buffet. Another good choice is the Holiday Inn Rotorua , popular for its proximity to Whakarewarewa Maori Village, shuttle service, restaurant, and outdoor heated pool. At the higher end of this price category, Quest Rotorua Central is a great choice and offers apartment-style accommodations, in-room breakfasts, and an on-site shop.
  • Budget Hotels : YHA Rotorua is a popular hostel for backpackers, close to public transit, and features mixed dorm-style rooms, lockers, a shared kitchen plus dining rooms and BBQs. Rotorua Hideaway Lodge is another affordable option, featuring motel-style rooms along with larger apartments (some with kitchens), and a playground for the kids. Also worth a look is BK's Rotorua Motor Lodge , a popular choice for its proximity to attractions, as well as its larger suites with kitchenettes.

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Natural Wonders : New Zealand boasts more than its fair share of natural splendor. Highlights for visitors looking for incredible scenery include Fiordland National Park , popular for its majestic mountains, deep fiords, and outdoor adventures. Also worth including on your New Zealand itinerary, the Westland Region is where you'll find the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. If you're looking for a great base from which to explore New Zealand's top natural wonders, consider a stay in lovely Queenstown , a lakeside destination that's referred to as the country's "adventure capital."


City Stays & Urban Getaways : Auckland is the country's largest city and, as such, has pretty much everything you need for the perfect New Zealand vacation: museums and art galleries, great family attractions, and plenty of shopping and dining experiences. The country's capital, Wellington , is also worth visiting and can also serve as a good base for hiking adventures. Even smaller, the town of Napier offers numerous examples of Art Deco architecture, most of it dating from the 1930s.


New Zealand Vacation Ideas : Those wanting to explore the country's colonial past can do so in Dunedin , popular for its rich Scottish heritage. The town of Taupo also features a variety of historic sites, including a number focusing on the Maori culture. Finally, be sure to consider adding the beautiful Bay of Islands to your New Zealand travel itinerary, especially if you're interested in marine animal experiences, such as whale watching.

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32 Awesome Things to Do in Rotorua, New Zealand

  • 1 May 2023 28 April 2023

Geothermal activity, Maori culture, and the pungent smell of rotten eggs — Rotorua is without a doubt one of the best places to visit on New Zealand’s North Island.

If you’re interested in adrenaline-packed activities, Rotorua has you covered. You’ll find ziplines, scenic flights, and the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall just minutes away from the city centre. Nature lovers won’t be bored, either — hot pools, natural springs, bubbling geysers, and native forest are some of the main attractions.

Besides the beautiful scenery, the city of Rotorua is one of the top places to experience Māori culture in Aotearoa. Taking a guided tour through a living village is a great way to learn about the traditions and customs of the indigenous population.

Here are 32 of the absolute best things to do in Rotorua!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. When you purchase through links on my site, I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you!).

Sulphur Point

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Here are my top recommendations for the best things to do in Rotorua that you definitely shouldn’t miss!

Things to do in Rotorua

This guide to the best things to do in Rotorua is split up by category:

  • Geothermal activities : Anything bubbly, steamy, or explosive
  • Things to do for nature lovers : Hikes and natural attractions
  • Relaxing and pampering : Spas and hot pools
  • Food and culture : Maori villages, food tours, places to eat
  • Bucket list activities : Adrenaline activities and unique things to do

At the end of this post, I’ve also listed a few of the best places to travel if you’re looking for a day trip from Rotorua. These places are all located within a few hours of the Rotorua region, and would make awesome places to visit in and of themselves as well!

How to use this map : Click “View larger map” in the top right corner. From there, you can view each location and save your favorites to your own Google Maps lists!

Geothermal attractions in Rotorua

Wai-o-tapu thermal wonderland.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a mega popular geothermal attraction in Rotorua. It’s a large, sprawling area known for its unique and brightly colored features, including hot springs, bubbling mud pools, geysers, and volcanic craters.

One of the most famous features of the park is the Champagne Pool, which is a large, steaming hot spring with a bright orange and green rim. Other highlights include the Devil’s Bath, a bright green pool of acidic water, and the Lady Knox Geyser, which erupts once a day at 10:15 am.

Wai-O-Tapu is definitely a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in natural phenomena. Walking through the geothermal park is so much fun and a great activity for the whole family!

Things to do in Rotorua: Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland

Te Puia Valley

Located just south of Rotorua’s city center, Te Puia is a geothermal valley and Maori cultural center. The valley showcases Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural wonders and rich cultural heritage in an interesting and accessible way.

One of the main attractions in Te Puia is the Pohutu Geyser, which is one of the largest active geysers in the Southern Hemisphere. You can watch the geyser erupt several times a day, with each eruption reaching heights of up to 30 m (100 ft)!

Besides geothermal activity, Te Puia is also home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. There, you can watch master carvers and weavers at work and purchase traditional Maori crafts.

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park is the best way to experience Rotorua’s geothermal activity on a budget — entrance to the park and its bubbling mud pools is completely free!

The mud pools are natural pools of mud that are formed by the interaction of hot water and underground minerals. They bubble, churn, release steam, and emit a distinctive sulfur (rotten egg) smell. Awesome!

My personal favorite part of the park is the natural bath where you can soak your feet and legs in warm water. The foot bath was definitely a welcome sight after days of nonstop rain and cold weather.

Things to do in Rotorua: Kuirau Park Mud Pools

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Another one of Rotorua’s popular geothermal attractions, Waimangu Volcanic Valley was created in 1886 by the eruption of Mount Tarawera. The eruption destroyed nearby villages and formed several new geothermal features in the area.

One of the coolest attractions at Waimangu is Frying Pan Lake, the world’s largest hot spring. Other points of interest include Inferno Crater, which is a boiling lake of acid water, and the Cathedral Rocks, which are colorful mineral deposits.

Sulphur Point is a peninsula on the southern edge of Lake Rotorua with hot pools and mud pools. You can walk along the boardwalks and observe the geothermal activity up close and personal.

Like Kuirau Park, Sulphur Point is a completely free activity in Rotorua!

Because of the area’s dangerous features and lack of barriers, I probably wouldn’t recommend Sulphur Point for anyone traveling with young children. Some of the walkways are narrow and it seems like it would be easy to fall in if you aren’t paying attention!

Sulphur Point, North Island New Zealand

Things to do in Rotorua for nature lovers

See some glow worms.

Seeing glow worms is an absolute must on any New Zealand itinerary.

These little insects (that are actually fungus gnats, not worms!) glow blue using bioluminescence. Their sticky, shimmering strands dangle from the walls of caves and other sheltered environments to attract and catch their prey.

This guided stand-up paddle board tour takes you into caves and rock formations on Lake Rotorua, while this nighttime bush walk helps you spot glow worms in native forest.

Go mountain biking

With over 350 km (217 mi) of mountain bike trails, Rotorua is a world-class destination for those looking to go off-road cycling.

The Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest and the Skyline Rotorua MTB Park are two of the top places in the city for downhill mountain biking. You’ll find plenty of different trail networks and routes to choose from.

Hike Okere Falls

Located off of the northern edge of Lake Rotoiti, the Okere Falls Track is an easy short walk with stunning waterfalls and beautiful natural surroundings.

The track is 2.4 km (1.5 mi) long and takes about an hour round-trip. Along the way, you’ll hear the sounds of native birds, walk through lush forest, and marvel at the power of the Kaituna River. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to watch rafters and kayakers shoot down some of the waterfalls!

The Okere Falls Track is another great (and free!) place to see glow worms as well. You’ll have to venture into a dank and spooky cave, but seeing the glow worms up close is more than worth it.

Things to do in Rotorua: Okere Falls

Take a guided horse trek

One of the most fantastic things to do in Rotorua if you love nature is to explore the New Zealand countryside on horseback.

These guided horse treks head into the foothills of Mt Ngongotaha, cross through native bush, and get amazing views over Lake Rotorua. It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced riders and would be a great activity for the whole family.

Lake Okareka Reserve and Walkway

Lake Okareka Reserve and Walkway is a scenic area popular with nature lovers, hikers, and bird watchers alike. It’s one of the best places in Rotorua to enjoy lush greenery and wildlife, completely free!

There are a variety of walking tracks at Lake Okareka to choose from. The tracks vary in length and difficulty, catering to both beginner and experienced hikers.

One of the highlights of the reserve is the native birdlife. The area is home to tons of different species of birds, including tui, bellbirds, and kereru (New Zealand pigeon).

Kayak Lake Rotoiti

Getting out on the water is another fun way to experience all of the natural beauty Rotorua has to offer. The neighboring Lake Rotoiti is a bit smaller, but just as scenic.

This evening kayak tour takes you out on Lake Rotoiti and gives you the chance to see natural hot pools and glow worm caves that are only accessible by boat.

Tarawera Falls

Tarawera Falls is a stunning 65 m (213 ft) tall waterfall near Rotorua with a rich history.

It’s believed that the falls were named after a Maori chief, Tarawera, who was buried in the area. The waterfall was also an important landmark for early Maori settlers who used it as a navigational point!

The Tarawera Falls Track is 1.4 km (0.8 mi) long and takes about 30 minutes there and back.

To visit Tarawera Falls, you’ll need to purchase an access permit. They cost $10 NZD and can be purchased from the Kawerau i-SITE Visitor Centre .

Things to do in Rotorua: Tarawera Falls

Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve

Located just south of Rotorua, Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve is a great area for hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts. There are a number of trails to choose from, each with panoramic views of the Waimangu Valley and Lake Rotomahana.

One of the most popular hiking trails is the Maunga Kakaramea Summit Track . This challenging day hike is 6 km (3.7 mi) long and takes about 2-3 hours roundtrip to complete.

Along the way, you’ll see a volcanic crater lake, geothermal vents, and steam coming out of the ground. On a sunny day, the reserve’s rainbow-like colors are are particularly vibrant!

National Kiwi Hatchery

If interacting with adorable baby flightless birds sounds like a good time, the National Kiwi Hatchery is the place for you!

The National Kiwi Hatchery is a conservation facility whose primary goal is to help protect and increase the population of kiwi birds, which are endemic to New Zealand and considered a national icon.

There, a team of dedicated conservationists and wildlife experts work to breed kiwi birds in captivity and release them back into the wild.

You can take a guided tour of the facility to learn about the kiwi breeding and hatching process, and see the adorable kiwi chicks up close.

Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre

The Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre is a unique and educational attraction in Rotorua’s Ngongotaha Valley. It’s dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of native bird of prey species, like New Zealand falcons and Morepork owls.

The centre gives you the chance to get up close and personal with these magnificent birds. On a tour, you’ll be able to learn about the birds and see them in their natural habitats.

To visit the Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre, you’ll need to make an advance booking by calling 07 357 4469 or emailing [email protected] . Tickets cost $30 per adult and $15 per child (ages 5-15).

Redwoods Treewalk is located in the northern end of the Whakarewarewa Forest, one of the oldest introduced forests in New Zealand. This eco-tourism experience gives you the opportunity to walk amongst the treetops and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding forest.

The 700 m (0.4 mi) long treewalk consists of a series of walkways and suspension bridges that are designed to be both eco-friendly and visually stunning. They range in height from 9-20 m (30-66 ft), giving you a bird’s eye view of the forest and treetops.

If you’d prefer to experience the magic of the forest from ground level, there are also a number of trails you can explore in the area for free. The towering redwoods and the sounds of native birds create a really relaxing peaceful environment.

Things to do in Rotorua: Rotorua Treewalk

At sunset, the Redwoods Treewalk transforms into a magical and otherworldly experience. The walkways are illuminated with eco-friendly lights and dozens of handmade lanterns glow between the trees.

We loved our nighttime experience at Redwoods Treewalk — there’s something super special about being able to explore the forest after dark. I’d recommend starting your walk around sunset. That way, you’ll see everything as it starts to light up!

Tickets to the treewalk cost $39 per adult and $24 per child (ages 5-15). There are also family packages and annual passes available to save a bit of money.

Things to do in Rotorua: Redwoods Treewalk at night

Relaxing things to do in Rotorua

Hell’s gate geothermal reserve and mud spa.

Hell’s Gate is one of the most popular relaxing attractions in Rotorua. Part geothermal reserve, part day spa, it features boiling hot pools, steaming fumaroles, and erupting geysers.

Like other geothermal activities in the city, the reserve offers guided tours where you can learn about the natural features and the cultural significance of the area to the local Maori people.

In addition to the geothermal features, Hell’s Gate also has a spa where you can soak in warm mud baths, which are believed to have therapeutic properties for the skin and joints. The reserve sources the mineral-rich mud from a nearby geothermal pool.

Tickets to Hell’s Gate can include just the geothermal reserve , just the mud bath and spa , or a combination of the two .

Polynesian Spa

Located on the shores of the lake, Polynesian Spa is a relaxing and family-friendly thing to do in Rotorua. They offer alkaline and acidic mineral hot pools, a cold plunge pool, and an indoor relaxation lounge. Family pools and private pools are also available.

In addition to the hot pools, the Polynesian Spa also offers a variety of spa treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps. The spa’s signature treatment is the Aix massage, which involves a therapist using water and massage techniques to relax and rejuvenate the body.

Secret Spot Hot Tubs

If you’re looking for a more private and luxurious experience, soaking in a Secret Spot Hot Tub could be the perfect activity for you!

Secret Spot is a secluded oasis of hot tubs nestled in a peaceful forest setting. Each tub is made from natural materials and is filled with fresh, untreated water from a nearby spring.

During your 45-minute soak, you can enjoy the relaxing sounds of the forest and have drinks delivered to you at the push of a button. On weekends, Secret Spot often has live music playing near the communal bar area.

For those looking to soak in Rotorua’s geothermal pools on a budget, look no further than Kerosene Creek. This free attraction can reach up to 37°C (98°F), making it a warm and inviting spot for a dip.

Kerosene Creek is a small stream that runs through a forested area and is fed by a natural hot spring. The creek is surrounded by lush vegetation and has several small waterfalls and pools to relax in.

Kerosene Creek is located about 25 minutes south of Rotorua’s city center. It’s important to note that there are no facilities or amenities provided — make sure to bring a towel and some snacks!

Things to do in Rotorua: Niki at Kerosene Creek, North Island New Zealand

Food & culture in Rotorua

Rotorua museum.

Originally built in 1908 as a bath house, the Rotorua Museum showcases the history and culture of the Rotorua region.

Inside the museum, you can explore exhibitions on Maori culture, the region’s geothermal activity, and the history of Rotorua. You can also explore the gardens and the historic grounds of the museum, which include the Government Gardens, an early 20th century park.

The Rotorua Museum is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the region. Its stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings make it a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in New Zealand’s cultural heritage.

Note : The museum is currently closed for earthquake-related renovations. It’s expected to open back up towards the end of 2025.

Visit a Maori village

Visiting a traditional Maori village is an excellent way to learn about and experience Maori culture firsthand.

Each village typically offers a guided tour, cultural performances, and hands-on experiences that showcase traditional Maori customs, such as weaving, carving, and haka dancing. You can also learn about the history and significance of Maori art, music, and storytelling.

In addition to cultural experiences, many Maori villages also offer the opportunity to sample traditional Maori cuisine, which often includes dishes cooked in an earth oven (known as a hangi ).

There are several authentic Maori villages you can visit in Rotorua. Here are a few of the best:

  • Whakarewarewa Living Village : Offers village tours and self-guided geothermal trails
  • Mitai Maori Village : Bush walks to a glow worm cave and an earth-cooked hangi buffet
  • Te Pa Tu : Previously known as Tamaki Maori Village, offers cultural performances and a 4-course Maori fusion feast

Things to do in Rotorua: Te Pa Tu Maori Village

Visit a jade carving studio

Jade, also known as greenstone or pounamu , is a highly prized stone in Maori culture and is considered a taonga (treasure).

Jade carving involves the skillful shaping and polishing of the stone to create intricate and meaningful designs. These designs often represent important aspects of Maori culture and spirituality, such as ancestral figures, natural elements, and spiritual symbols.

Many jade carvers in Rotorua offer guided tours of their workshops, where you can learn about the significance of jade in Maori culture and watch skilled artisans at work.

One of the most popular workshops in Rotorua is Mountain Jade . They offer daily tours that include a piece of New Zealand pounamu to take home. Tickets cost $35 for children and adults.

Check out the Rotorua Night Market

The Rotorua Night Market is a weekly outdoor market that takes place every Thursday night. It offers a wide range of food, drinks, and artisanal products for sale.

The market is located in the heart of the city center and features over 60 stalls selling everything from street food to handmade crafts. You can sample a variety of international cuisines, as well as classic New Zealand favorites like fish and chips and meat pies.

In addition to the food, the market also features live music and entertainment. There are performances from local musicians and street performers, as well as interactive art installations and activities for children.

Eat Streat food court is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after a full day of exploring the best things to do in Rotorua.

The restaurants and cafes in Eat Streat offer a wide range of international cuisines, including Italian, Japanese, Indian, and Thai. There are also several bars and pubs with craft beer and cocktails for a post-dinner drink.

Eat Streat’s overhead canopy provides shelter from the elements, making it a convenient place to have dinner when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Things to do in Rotorua: Eat Streat food court

Bucket list Rotorua activities

What is Zorbing, you may ask? It’s basically rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable plastic ball — very hamster-like if you ask me.

Rotorua is the only place in New Zealand where you can participate in this weird activity!

ZORB Rotorua offers three different track options, including the straight track, the zig-zag track, and the drop track. You can also choose between a normal ride and a wet ride, where they fill your ball with warm water (kind of like a slip ‘n slide).

Zipline through Rotorua Forest

Cruising down a zipline (or flying fox ) through native forest is both an exhilarating and a surprisingly peaceful activity.

You’ll fly over the forest canopy, switch between several zipline cables, and cross a few hanging swing bridges. The guides also teach you about how the company is protecting the country’s local flora and fauna!

Rotorua Canopy Tours offers two different tours to choose from. The Original 3-hour Canopy Tour is 600 m (0.4 mi) long, while the Ultimate 3.5-hour Canopy Tour is double the length at 1,200 m (0.8 mi) long!

Raft the Kaituna River…

Rafting the Kaituna River is one of the most thrilling adventures you can have in Rotorua. The Kaituna River is famous for Tutea Falls, which at 7 m (23 ft) high, is the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world!

One of the main differences between normal rafting and white water rafting is the level of difficulty. White water rafting is considered a more challenging activity that requires a higher level of skill and physical fitness. Normal rafting, on the other hand, is more relaxed and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

For the most part, rafting the Kaituna River is an example of white water rafting. You’ll need to navigate through challenging rapids, waves, and waterfalls. It’s both thrilling and physically demanding, since you need to paddle, maneuver the raft, and work together as a team.

…or try white water sledging

If white water rafting is a bit too intense for you, try white water sledging instead!

White water sledging, also known as riverboarding, is when you maneuver through rapids while lying on a super buoyant sled. It’s typically less strenuous than white water rafting and can be more manageable for water sport beginners.

The tour below takes you down the Kaituna River and through the Kahikatea Forest, and there’s a big emphasis on enjoying the native scenery around you.

Take a scenic flight

Taking a scenic flight is one of the most epic things to do in New Zealand as a whole, and Rotorua in particular is an awesome place to do it!

Volcanic Air is a local tourism company that offers both helicopter and floatplane flights. You’ll soar around the region, getting the most unbelievable views of Rotorua’s geothermal valleys, craters, and lakes.

There are a few different flight packages to choose from. Some even include landing on Mount Tarawara, a volcano with a scenic lake and hot springs!

Head to Velocity Valley

Want to experience some real adrenaline-pumping action? Velocity Valley is an adventure park with heaps of different activities to get your heart racing.

In their Agroventures theme park, you can choose from a high-powered jet boat, a zero-gravity freefall, or a “Shweeb Race” (a suspended monorail line). Of course, there’s also the classic 43 m (141 ft) high bungee jump.

Like the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown, Skyline Rotorua offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding areas.

The main attraction is the gondola ride, which takes you on a scenic journey to the top of Mount Ngongotaha. At the top, there are a variety of adrenaline-packed activities to participate in, like the Skyline Luge and the Sky Swing.

Other activities at Skyline Rotorua include ziplining, mountain biking, and hiking.

Things to do in Rotorua: Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland

Best day trips from Rotorua

Taking a guided tour of Hobbiton in Matamata is one of the best things to do when visiting New Zealand’s North Island.

The Hobbiton set includes 44 hobbit holes, a tavern, a mill, and the famous party tree featured in the Lord of the Rings films. It’s all located on a gorgeous 1,250 acre sheep farm in the rolling hills of the Waikato region.

This is such a fantastic activity for all ages, even if you haven’t seen a single LOTR film. (Fun fact: About 30% of visitors to Hobbiton haven’t!)

To get to Hobbiton from Rotorua, you can either take a half-day tour from Rotorua (includes transportation to and from) or drive yourself. The drive takes about 1 hour each way.

Make sure to book your Hobbiton tour in advance — they do sell out!

Things to do in Rotorua: Hobbiton, Matamata New Zealand

Located just an hour’s drive south of Rotorua, Taupo is an excellent place to visit on a day trip.

There are tons of things to do in Taupo, like visiting the powerful Huka Falls , soaking in geothermal hot springs, or taking a boat tour to see the impressive Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay.

You can also hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the most spectacular day hikes in the country.

Tauranga is a lovely coastal city in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty region that’s known for its stunning beaches and variety of outdoor activities. It’s located just 1 hour north of Rotorua by car.

In Tauranga, you can hike up to the summit of Mount Maunganui, swim with dolphins , explore McLaren Falls Park, and take a harbour sightseeing cruise .

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can even opt for a skydive over Mount Maunganui !

Tauranga, New Zealand

Whakatane is a small but charming town on the Pacific Ocean that’s known for its its beautiful beaches and rich Maori culture. The town is a 1 hour and 15 minute drive away from Rotorua.

There, you can lounge on Ohope Beach, take a hike in the Ohiwa Harbour, or visit the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, a conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the kiwi population.

One of the most popular things to do in Whakatane is take a scenic flight over White Island . You’ll get impressive views of the island’s volcanic landscapes and coastline. (If you’re interested in learning about the volcano’s 2018 euroption, The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari is an excellent documentary on Netflix!)

The Blue Spring is a stunning natural attraction located in the town of Putaruru, about a 40-minute drive from Rotorua.

To reach the spring, you’ll need to walk the Te Waihou Walkway , a popular hiking trail that winds through lush native bush and along the banks of the Waihou River.

The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all ages and fitness levels, with several viewing platforms and picnic areas along the way. The walk to the Blue Spring is about 4.7 km (2.9 mi) each way and takes about 1.5-2 hours to complete.

Things to do in Rotorua: Blue Spring Putaruru, North Island New Zealand

Rotorua FAQ

How long should i spend in rotorua.

To experience a few of Rotorua’s main tourist attractions and activities, I’d recommend spending at least two to three days in the city. This gives you enough time to explore the geothermal wonders, immerse yourself in Maori history and culture, try adventure activities, and relax in the natural hot springs.

If you have more time, though, you’ll be able to discover some hidden gems, like Rainbow Springs Nature Park, Hamurana Springs, the National Kiwi Hatchery, and various hiking and mountain biking trails.

How do I spend a day in Rotorua?

If you only have one day in Rotorua, you can still experience a few of the city’s top attractions!

Start your day by visiting Te Puia, where you can see geysers and learn about Maori culture. Next, head south to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland to admire the colorful pools and unique rock formations.

In the afternoon, you can either try some adventure activities or relax at one of the many hot springs. End your day with a Maori cultural performance and a traditional hangi feast.

What is Rotorua known for?

Rotorua is known for its geothermal wonders, such as geysers, hot springs, volcanic craters, and mud pools. These are the result of the city’s location in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, a geothermal area in New Zealand’s North Island. Because of this, the city is also a renowned spa destination!

The city is also famous for its rich Maori culture. If you plan a visit to one of the living villages, you can learn about traditions, arts, and attend cultural performances.

Like Queenstown on the South Island, Rotorua also offers a wide range of adventure activities, such as ziplining, luging, and white water rafting.

Although having a car in Rotorua is definitely the most convenient option for getting around, it’s not totally essential.

The city has a relatively decent public transport system, including buses and shuttles, which connect the main attractions and accommodation areas. Rotorua is also New Zealand’s number one cycling destination — you’ll find dedicated bike lanes and cycle friendly areas throughout the city.

If you book a guided tour to popular sites like geothermal parks and Maori villages, many tour operators will offer transportation from the city center. Some activities, such as Skyline Gondola and the Polynesian Spa, provide their own transport to and from the venue.

Niki at Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, North Island New Zealand

Where to stay in Rotorua

There’s so much to do in Rotorua, so you’ll definitely want to find accommodation that’s close to all of the major attractions. Although the city is pretty compact and walkable, I’d recommend staying nearing the lake for the most comfortable experience.

Budget | Rock Solid Backpackers — Part hostel, part climbing gym, Rock Solid Backpackers is a budget-friendly option in Rotorua’s city center. It’s located within walking distance of a lot of must-do activities, like Eat Streat, Suphur Point, and the Polynesian Spa.

Mid-range | Capri on Fenton — With a private hot tub and a stellar location near town, Capri on Fenton is a great choice for couples and families looking for a comfortable stay. Some apartments include a full kitchen as well, helping you travel New Zealand on a budget .

Bougie | On the Point – Lake Rotorua — On the Point is about as luxurious as you can get in Rotorua. Spacious rooms, spa tubs, and fine dining in their on-site restaurant will make your stay super memorable. Plus, you get views over Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island!

How to get to Rotorua

Rotorua is centrally located, making it really accessible to reach from elsewhere on the North Island. You’re never more than an hour or two away from the beach or another interesting city, which also makes Rotorua a great place to base yourself when exploring the surrounding area.

Driving times from:

  • Auckland : 3 hours
  • Hamilton : 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves : 2 hours
  • Wellington : 6 hours 30 minutes

Air New Zealand offers nonstop flights to Rotorua Regional Airport (ROT) from Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch . From those cities, you can then connect on to other cities in New Zealand , Australia, and beyond.

The airport is located on the eastern side of Lake Rotorua, the second largest lake on New Zealand’s North Island. To get to the city from the airport, you can either take a taxi, bus ( Bay Bus Route 10 ), or airport shuttle .

Book a flight to Rotorua

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland, North Island New Zealand

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Best Attractions in Rotorua

Local recommendations from our my guide rotorua team.

There's so much to see and do in Rotorua, it's sometimes hard to plan your day. From geothermal wonders and river adventures, to popular family parks, you'll never be stuck for choice when it comes to Rotorua attractions.  

Many Rotorua attractions are centred around the area's geothermal and Maori history. Nature fans will find wildlife parks at Rainbow Springs and Paradise Valley. There's a great maze attraction, also in Paradise Valley, and a Bird of Prey centre that allows you to get up close and personal with eagles, ospreys and kestrels. Try the Skyline Rotorua, for some great mountain views and other activities. Rotorua also has plenty of tours, trekking, river adventure and cruising, but the emphasis is obviously on all the geothermal activity in the area – the reason most people come here.  

Book Top Experiences and Tours in Rotorua:

White island & whale island 1-hour volcano scenic flight, rotorua: guided zipline adventure tour with photos, mitai maori village: cultural experience and dinner buffet, okere falls: zipline over waterfalls experience, from tauranga: skydive over mount maunganui.

Whakarewarewa - The Living Maori Village

Whakarewarewa - The Living Maori Village

The iwi (tribe) has been welcoming visitors to the village since the 1800s showing them their way of life and the natural geothermal wonders that surround the area.  The village is set amongst natural hot pools and thermal springs and geysers all of which can be seen during a visit.

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa, New Zealand’s original geothermal bathing experience, offers therapeutic hot springs, wellness activities, and unique spa therapy treatments

Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath and Spa

Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath and Spa

More than just a place of myth and legend, this land has the power to heal and excite anyone who meets it, just as it has done for centuries.  Come and discover New Zealand's most unique geothermal experience.

Rotorua Canopy Tours

Rotorua Canopy Tours

Rotorua Canopy Tours will take you on a thrilling experience through prehistoric native forest.  Explore the canopy as you fly across a network of ziplines, swing bridges, cliff-walks, tree top platforms and more.

FlexiTours NZ

FlexiTours NZ

Explore Rotorua in style with FlexiTours NZ's small group tours...

3D Trick Art Gallery

3D Trick Art Gallery

3D Trick Art is the only 3D Art Gallery in New Zealand and will blow your mind.  The immersive gallery features a range of images that at first glance look two dimensional but with some clever positioning (helped by markers on the floor) become 3D images that visitors can be part of.

Rail Cruising

Rail Cruising

See a scenic part of Rotorua travelling along railway lines in a 'RailCruiser', your very own powered 4-seat, self-drive vehicle.  

Redwoods Treewalk

Redwoods Treewalk

The Redwoods Treewalk is a 553 metre walkway through towering Redwood trees. A series of 23 suspension bridges connect between 22 majestic 115-year-old Redwood trees.......

Mamaku Blue Experience

Mamaku Blue Experience

Mamaku Blue is a blueberry farm, orchard and Cafe, supplying New Zealand's finest fresh and frozen blueberries.

Volcanic Hills Winery Tasting Room

Volcanic Hills Winery Tasting Room

Take a ride to the top of the Skyline Gondola and enjoy a wine tasting with a magnificent view overlooking Lake Rotorua.  Or, just relax with a glass of wine and something to eat.

Hamurana Springs

Hamurana Springs

Originally a tribal settlement,  Hamurana Springs is a beautiful place to enjoy a walk by the crystal clear waters and stunning redwood grove.

Velocity Valley

Velocity Valley

High adrenaline action adventures in Rotorua. Bungy, body-flying, Shweeb and more, at the world-famous Velocity Valley adventure park. 

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Book Experiences in Rotorua

Mitai Maori Village: Cultural Experience and Dinner Buffet

Visit a traditional Maori village and learn more about their customs and rituals at an amazing cultural experience, including a tasty hangi feast and dessert.

White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

Take flight for a truly unique adventure to White Island, one of the world's few accessible live volcanoes. Enjoy a fun, awe-inspiring experience with easy conversation and lots of laughs as you admire incredible views and learn the history of the island.

Rotorua: Guided Zipline Adventure Tour with Photos

Explore the canopies of New Zealand's forests on this exciting guided zipline adventure. Cross swing bridges and fly through the air. See unique wildlife including geckos, birds, and blue mushrooms.

From Tauranga: Skydive over Mount Maunganui

Skydive over Maunganui and the beautiful Bay of Plenty.

Okere Falls: Zipline over Waterfalls Experience

Soar Over Waterfalls, fly through trees, and be enlightened by local guides during this Māori culture-infused Zipline experience that will have all ages and abilities fizzing.

Waiotapu: Thermal Park and Lady Knox Geyser Entry Ticket

Waiotapu: Thermal Park and Lady Knox Geyser Entry Ticket

Explore the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal wonderland with this entry ticket. Witness the Lady Knox Geyser erupt and enjoy all-day access to one of New Zealand’s most popular geothermal parks.

Rotorua: Agrodome Farm Tour with Show and Produce Tasting

Rotorua: Agrodome Farm Tour with Show and Produce Tasting

Enjoy a day out at the Agrodome Farm in Rotorua and tour a 350-acre farm on an all-terrain vehicle. See adorable baby animals, taste local products, and watch a fun farm show.

Rotorua City and Lakes Duck Tour

Rotorua City and Lakes Duck Tour

Discover Rotorua's stunning lakes district. Ride on land and in the water on New Zealand's only genuine World War II landing craft. Take in the sights of Rotorua without leaving your seat!

Rotorua: Guided Horseback Riding Day Trip on Mt. Ngongotaha

Rotorua: Guided Horseback Riding Day Trip on Mt. Ngongotaha

Cross rolling farmland while enjoying spectacular views of Lake Rotorua and the surrounding countryside as you ride a horse up Mt. Ngongotaha on this guided day trip from Rotorua.

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Things to do in rotorua. activities, attractions & places to visit.

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Best bits, the only guide you need for a great holiday

Discover a wealth of things to do in Rotorua. The earth’s energy is on full display. Lakes and forests invite you to zipline through forests and luge down mountain summits. Rotorua has adventure nailed. Rotorua attractions are showcased by extraordinary lunar landscapes where volcanic activity offers visitors a chance to experience nature at its most raw, to indulge in a mineralised mud bath or soak in the geothermal hot springs that abound in Rotorua. The ultimate holiday destination offers visitors a choice of accommodation from budget camping to luxury hotels pampering to your every want. Year round the temperate climate ensures Rotorua will not disappoint. Rotorua is living the dream, world class in every way.

Rotorua thermal pools, New Zealand


Year-round, geothermal energy is sure to keep the toes warm in winter. Peak season is summer yet there is something magical about warm mist rising from the cool Lake Taupo as you soak away the cares of the world at the Polynesian Spa. You can’t beat nature when it’s on full display. Which is every day of the year in Rotorua.


Rotorua Weather Forecast and Observations

Summers are consistently warm with an average temperature in the mid 20’s. Occasionally it has reached 29c. The winters are brisk with a nip in the air dropping down to an average of 12c. The peak season is summer however year around Rotorua has plenty of delicious warm hot springs to soak away the chill.


Hotel, motel, holiday parks and campsites

Car hire, and campervans

Activities and tours


  • Maori crafted by locals expressing tightly held values and sharing their stories
  • Heritage Rotorua with over a century of experience welcoming visitors
  • Original geothermal landscapes offering an array of sensory attractions from massage, spa treatments or simply relaxing in warm natural mineral water
  • Geothermal lunar landscapes shaped by the earth’s core from molten rock pools, boiling vents gushing steam & powerful heated geysers

Maori carvings in Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand


  • Zipline adventure adds bounce to any holiday. Mount Ngongotaha is floating beneath your zipline as you are suspended in the air. Soar and experience the thrill of flying.
  • Luge is a part go-kart, part toboggan and totally fun, you are in charge as you ride the bends and get going
  • What’s not to love about being swept off your feet in a gondola up over Rotorua’s Skyview, a definite must-do adventure
  • Kayak to quiet hot water beaches and explore Lake Rotorua and surrounding areas either self-guided or on a guided tour, your preference on a must-do water adventure

Rotorua champagne pool at Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park landscape

Geothermal hot pools, landscapes

The fog of Rotorua, Kuirau park, New Zealand

Kuirau park

Kakahi Falls, Hells Gate geothermal park, Rotorua, North island of New Zealand

Hell's gate

Lime pool, heavily mineralised, Sulphur Bay boardwalk, Rotorua

Sulphur Bay

Pohutu Geyser, Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, Rotorua, New Zealand


Polynesian pools @Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

Kerosene creek nature hot water pool with waterfall, New Zealand

Kerosene creek

Lake Tarawera view from jetty across lake to autumn colors and surrounding tree clad hills, New Zealand

Lake Tarawera Te Rata Bay (Hot water beach)

Hot Springs Algae, and Emerald Terrace, Orakei Korako, Rotorua, New Zealand

Orakei Korako (The place of Adorning)


Waikite Valley thermal pools

Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

Lake Rotomahana & Waimangu Volcanic Valley


Lake Rotoiti - Manupirua Hot springs

Rotorua massages, spa treatment, hot pools.

Geothermal therapy, soaking in mineral-dense water, slathering on glorious warm sulfur-infused mud, or indulging in a spa treatment is in Rotorua for the picking. The products are the original natural thing, have no chemicals, are sustainable and have been tested on people for hundreds of years.

Rotorua is the place for massage and skin treatment.  Polynesian Spa exemplifies the culture of hospitality imbued in resort Rotorua. From the nineteenth century, the original spa was located at Government House grounds. Today Rotorua offers a chance to indulge in Hell’s gate mud packs where lathering the body in mineralised mud is part and parcel of the experience to a gentle exfoliating massage under the warm jets of mineral water.

Young woman having a spa in outdoors hot pool in Rotorua, New Zealand.

You’re worth it, indulge. Rotorua is the ultimate thermal waters destination. From natural warm springs bubbling up beside the lake, warm waterfalls cascading over you to floating in a hot stream as the Waikato River passes by, there is plenty of choice for the visitor. From free public spaces to luxurious thermal spas your budget and inclination is catered for. Take the plunge into the warm embrace that is Rotorua.

Read more about Rotorua hot pools .


Rotorua offers visitors a powerful contemporary experience narrated entertainingly and, most importantly, accompanied by a fabulous hangi (meal steamed in an earthen oven). A hangi is an original Maori feast, not to be missed by locals and visitors alike. Earth tones, black, charcoal, and burnt orange have imbued Rotorua architecture with a building landscape that is uniquely Polynesian / Maori in tenor.

  • Outstanding Rotorua Museum with its interactive exhibits
  • Pompeii of the Pacific, New Zealand’s Buried Village is a testament to the Smith Family
  • Te Puia gallery and studios showcasing Maori creative spirit
  • Hot glass studio, Amokura Glass is a perfect special moment destination for a gift
  • The Arts Village where contemporary art and New Zealand fusion art between the aesthetic and indigenous meet in a cooperative setting
  • Rozcraft a pioneer in NZ made souvenirs factory shop is where fluffy woolly sheep wait patiently
  • Portico a potpourri of carefully selected gift items showcasing NZ arts and crafts

Maori hangi food preparation, New Zealand


Tamaki Maori Village captures the pre-European experience in a lively informative contemporary style where guests are invited to actively participate in the storytelling. There are shuttles from Rotorua to the Tamaki Maori Village located approximately 30 minutes from the town centre.

Te Puia is the heart of arts and crafts with teachers, narrators and students willingly illustrating age-old skills in carving, jewellery making and traditional weaving skills. It is a fascinating insight into a traditional craft continuing to attract visitors and locals.

Read more about Te Puia experience.


Heritage Rotorua colour palette is earth tones, black, charcoal and burnt orange. The striking balance of earthy / black hues has imbued Rotorua architecture with a building landscape that is uniquely Polynesian / Maori in tenor.

Government House with its tudor facade and local architectural influences set in the sweeping grounds of a park is timeless.

Heritage Rotorua Ohinemutu Heritage Village & St Faiths Church. The people who lived in the village have called this place home for hundreds of years. The village surroundings are framed by the St Faith’s church and cemetery facing the lake and the Tamatekapua meeting house or Tunohopu Marae with its striking doorway. The meeting house is a stunning example of Maori building style.

Read more about Ohinemutu, Rotorua Village & St Faiths Church, trip guide: Best Bits .

Rotorua visitor information centre elaborate Tudor style building, Rotorua, New Zealand


New Zealand’s Pompeii is the buried village of Te Wairoa. The 1886 eruption killed over 120 people and destroyed entire villages. Te Wairoa buried village is now a heritage archeological site describing the volcanic eruption and the vanished glory of the pink and white terraces.

Read more about Rotorua Buried Village, the story of the Tarawera eruption: Best Bits .


Unearth, one of New Zealand’s memorable visitor experiences, Whakarewarewa: New Zealand’s Iconic Living Maori Village In Rotorua . Find out what it is like to live amidst geothermal energy. It asks the residents what happens when the bubbling hot water appears in the backyard Whakarewarewa village is New Zealand’s oldest continuous Māori tourism attraction, predating the world-famous Pink & White Terraces. Visitors feel invited into personal spaces where authenticity creates a hallmark moment. Listen to local guides and enjoy.

Read more about Whakarewarewa .

A maori marae (meeting house and meeting ground), Rotorua, New Zealand


While the iconic Rotorua Museum, located in Government House remains closed due to the earthquake strengthening there a number of private galleries to visit.

Read more about where to go and what to see .

The Bathhouse, one of attractive landmark of Rotorua city, New Zealand. The another name of bathhouse is Rotorua museum.


Adventure tourism galore, water and rapids, water rafting, zip-lining through native forests and mountain biking on designed tracks.

Rotorua Rafting Kaituna Cascades, Rotorua, New Zealand

Whararewarewa Redwood Forest canopy walks and tours


Mountain Biking

A Redwood tree top walk in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Adrenaline tours

Mt Tarawera @Volcanic air

Mt Tarawera Summit Heli-tours

Rotorua walks.

From the short free walks around Sulphur Bay and Kuirau Park to the memorising Te Puia Geothermal Park the earth’s thin crust and the boiling, super heated energy is on full glorious display. Year round, every day Rotorua impresses visitors with extraordinary lunar landscapes, cascading waterfalls and streams where boiling mineralised water creates pink, yellow and white surfaces and boiling mud lets off burps and gloops as it coats the sides of mud pools. The stunted vegetation has adapted to the harsh conditions. Rotorua is atmospheric, a fantasy underground world has come to life.

Read more about Rotorua walking trails .

Skyline Gondola Cableway, a rise of 178.5 metres, Mt Ngongotaha, Rotorua, NZ

Mt Ngongotaha Summit

Giant ferns in Whakarewarewa redwood forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest

Wooden pathway leading through boiling lake and surrounded by steam. Shot in Kuirau Park in Rotorua, New Zealand

Blue Lakes (Tikitapu)

Waimangu volcanic valley.

Okere falls rafting, New Zealand

Okere waterfalls scenic reserve

Tarawera trail (15 km).

Hamurana Spring in Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua Centennial Park – Rotorua Trees Trust

Family friendly things to do with the kids.

Family-focused entertainment and child-friendly is part and parcel of Rotorua’s cultural heritage which makes for a great visitor experience for all age groups. There are short easy walks, a chance to enjoy picking up treats at the Kuirau Park weekend market or let’s play at Polynesian Spa.



Rotorua offers romance with a dab of gloopy warm mineralised mud as an authentic touch. Adventure delivers tandem zip lining and soft romantic lighting on Redwood’s night tour is magic among the towering treetops. There are opportunities to picnic in quiet groves Rotorua is where you will laugh together.

Check out the top romantic hotels now!

The Tudor-style spa bath house in the Government Gardens in Rotorua, New Zealand


  • Lake Tarawera jetty is well known sunset location
  • The Redwoods at night with the lit lanterns as a backdrop
  • Government Gardens in spring with the tulips
  • Hells Gate slathered in mineralised mud
  • Kuirau park boardwalk with the mist swirling around yourself or get a friendly local to snap the two of you together
  • Kerosene Creek’s warm waterfall and bush setting
  • A tandem canopy zipline tour where the local guide is happy to capture the moment on your mobile

Imagine your boat journey across the stunning Lake Tarawera and the vision of misting steam comes into view. The lake is quiet without the boat traffic of Lake Rotorua. Wonder becomes part of the day trip to a peaceful bush-clad beach with natural rock pools and warm spring waters constantly bubbling up creating a magical holiday moment. Totally Tarawera offers a number of tours, with the most popular taking guests to Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach) to enjoy geothermal pools along the lake’s edge, and to a secluded natural hot pool for a relaxing soak.

Tarawera Falls with a visible rainbow in New Zealand

Lake Tarawera was dramatically altered by the seismic earthquake of 1886 Rotorua Buried Village, the story of the Tarawera eruption .

For more romantic tips check out Rotorua romantic places .

`Eat Street` shopping mall in Rotorua, New Zealand


Must-do places to grab a foodie treat is the EatStreet night market. It is a razzle-dazzle light show with great cheap food thrown into the mix. If fine dining is on the cards, consider a table where the summit of Mt Ngongotaha is part of the dining experience. Visitors are spoiled for choice where to go and what to eat. Your Instagram feed will backdrop the sights and your favourite drink.

Read more Rotorua where to eat .

Due to the impact of covid19 on the hospitality sector it is advisable to check beforehand for up to date information on opening hours.


Rotorua is a hop, skip, and jump from Taupo, one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations. The North Island central plateau offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into the underground world of caves, glowworms, and underground rivers in Waitomo. Taupo is a water sports destination.

Check out for inspiration where to go and what to do .

Thermal Park in Rotorua, New Zealand


Plenty of choices for visitors from budget to luxury.

Budget accommodation:

All Seasons Holiday Park

From motel-style units to tent pegs, the park has something for everyone. The park has an indoor spa complex, swimming pool and underfloor heating in communal bathing areas. The quirky 19 dinosaurs will be a hit with the kids.

Standard – Medium

Aura Accommodation

An ideal family accommodation option close to Eat Street and other attractions. Standard, well maintained, clean motel rooms from one bedroom through to family units.

B&B @The Redwoods

B&B @The Redwoods. Nestled among mature trees with each studio having its own private deck you will feel like a privileged guest.

Cedarwood Lakeside Motel

A great location with plenty of room for the kids to stretch their legs.

@Cedarwood Lakeside Motel & Conference Venue

Sport of Kings Motel

Excellent well maintained premises suitable for singles, couples and families. A great location off the busy main street yet within walking distance of key attractions.

@Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel, Rotorua

Prince’s Gate Hotel

A doyenne of Rotorua. A classic heritage hotel with a touch of luxury and its own geothermal mineral pools.

Solitaire Lodge

Luxury accommodation with breathtaking views of over Lake Tarawera. The ideal place for peace, quiet and pampering.

Treetops Lodge and Estate

Disconnect, reconnect in a wilderness retreat.

Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel

Glorious lake views, one acre of roses, sweeping lawns, private swimming pool and attention to detail creates a perfect romantic getaway.


Rotorua is conveniently located on major aerial road networks and is serviced by a domestic airport. There are shuttle buses from Auckland and Wellington daily.

Our editors independently visit tour operators, purchase tickets, pay for accommodation, and rate products and places. We are not paid to go on a tour or visit a place. We only make money if you decide to purchase a product through our website links. You will not pay any extra, that is guaranteed.

We promise to never accept free products from manufacturers in return for boosting their products. Our independence and reviews is funded by your purchases and affiliate commissions, at no additional cost to yourself… read more about our affiliate programme in the terms and conditions HERE .


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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Places to Visit in Rotorua

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Rotorua Places to Visit

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6 Nights Exciting New Zealand Holiday Tour of North Island

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Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Nestled on the North Island ofIsland, New Zealand, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a mesmerising geothermal attraction known for its vivid colours and landscapes. Spanning 18 square kilometres, this thermal wonderland offers visitors a chance to witness the raw power of nature in action.

Top Experiences To Do in Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Waimangu Geothermal Valley in Rotorua

Te Puia in Rotorua is a top cultural and geothermal attraction featuring the Pohutu Geyser, bubbling mud pools, and hot springs. It houses the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, preserving traditional Māori arts. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, cultural performances, and traditional hāngī meals, offering a rich blend of natural wonders and Māori heritage.

Top Experiences To Do in Te Puia

Rotorua Half Day City Tour

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotorua

Mount Tarawera

Mount Tarawera

Champagne Pool

Champagne Pool

Government Gardens

Government Gardens

Home to spas, geothermal pools, and a grand museum, the Government Gardens is one of the most-visited tourist places in Rotorua. Learn about the rich Maori culture or the brutal volcanic eruptions that rocked the region at the on-site museum.

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park

Rotorua Museum

Rotorua Museum

Buried Village Of Te Wairoa

Buried Village Of Te Wairoa

Skyline Rotorua

Skyline Rotorua

Rainbow Spring Nature Park

Rainbow Spring Nature Park

Lady Knox Geyser

Lady Knox Geyser

Lake Tarawera

Lake Tarawera

Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Redwoods - Whakarewarewa Forest is a captivating natural wonder in the heart of Rotorua, New Zealand. This iconic forest is known for its diverse recreational opportunities and towering redwood trees. It is a majestic forest where travelers can enjoy a scenic landscape with winding trails weaving through uneven terrains and lush greenery of ancient redwoods. 

Top Experiences To Do in Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Redwoods Treewalk Experience in Rotorua

Whakarewarewa The Living Maori Village

Whakarewarewa The Living Maori Village

Pohutu Geyser

Pohutu Geyser

Renowned as the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere, the Pohutu Geyser is a majestic natural wonder. It is amongst the most terrific places to visit in Rotorua and is part of Te Puia in Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. 

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Redwoods treewalk.

Redwoods Treewalk

Kerosene Creek

Kerosene Creek

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Things To Do In Rotorua

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1. Hot Springs at Te Puia

Hot Springs at Te Puia

3 km from city center 1 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

TePuia is the hub of New Zealand’s Maori culture and thermal hot springs. It covers an area of 70 hectares in the Whakarewarewa Valley, located at the edge of town in Rotorua. It houses the world-renowned Pohutu geyser, followed by hot springs, mud pots, silica formations, and much more. There are national schools of wood carving, stone and bone carving, and weaving.

2. Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

1 km from city center 2 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Polynesian Spa, nature's gift to Rotorua, is an iconic geothermal mineral bathing luxury spa retreat, having exclusive access to acidic and alkaline natural mineral springs. This Spa has 28 mineral pools in the backyard wherein the water is channelled from the two natural springs - one acidic and the other alkaline. While nourishing the skin, this dual effect relieves tired muscles and aches and pains.

3. Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

20 km from city center 3 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Waimangu Volcanic Valley, one of the youngest geothermal hot springs in New Zealand, is now becoming one of the typical tourist attractions in the country. One can enjoy a range of self-guided tours among volcanic craters, hot springs and wildlife. This attraction represents the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera and how it affected this area's people and landscape.

4. Wai-O-Tapu


27 km from city center 4 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

The geothermal wonderland, Wai-O-Tapu, is one of the fascinating sculptures created after years of volcanic activity. It is most likely the only place that perfectly showcases New Zealand’s geothermal topography. Filled with sulphur mud baths, geysers and brightly coloured pools, this place has one of the highest geothermal ratings in the world. So, for those deeply interested in seeing geothermal activity, this is just the right place for you.

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Pocket-friendly new zealand - auckland, rotorua, queenstown and more, honeymoon of your dreams in new zealand, family adventures in essential new zealand, amazing budget auckland, bay of islands, rotorua tour, relaxing new zealand with whale watching in kaikoura, 5. skyline rotorua.

Skyline Rotorua

0 km from city center 5 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

An ideal way to spend an entire day in Rotorua, the Skyline Rotorua is a cornucopia of adventure and gourmet experiences. The best part is that it is suitable for people of all ages. The views of this area of New Zealand from the Skyline Rotorua are simply majestic and stimulating.

6. Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

1 km from city center 6 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

An award-winning experience by the banks of Lake Rotorua, Tamaki Maori Village is a peek into New Zealand's tribal facets. The village is approximately 3 hours from Rotorua and offers you a chance to dive into the Maori history and be a part of their culture and traditions. The village was an initiative by 2 Kiwi cowboys - Doug and Mike Tamaki. In 1989, they came up with the idea of telling a story of the Maori culture and traditions. Today, Tamaki Maori village has become a gathering place for all the Maori families who wants to come and share their culture and spread their knowledge.

Top Hotels In Rotorua

₽ 13,997 onwards

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₽ 1,467 onwards

7. Redwoods Forest

Redwoods Forest

3 km from city center 7 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

A range of diverse forests, the Whakarewarewa forest, also known as the Redwoods Forest in Rotorua, is one of the greatest natural treasures that offer a variety of recreational opportunities, panoramic views and exotic species. It is located only 5 minutes away from Downtown Rotorua and is an award-winning attraction. So if you’re waiting for an outing in one of nature’s best creations, this 55,000-hectare forest awaits you.

8. Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotorua

9 km from city center 8 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Regarded to be the second largest lake in the North Island of New Zealand, the lake of Rotorua is one of the prime tourist attractions for people visiting the city of Rotorua in New Zealand. It stretches for about 79.8 square kilometres and has a depth of 10 meters. The city of Rotorua is located on the lake's southern shore, and the town of Ngongotaha is on the western coast of the same.

9. Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park

2 km from city center 9 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Kuirau Park at the northern end of Rotorua, New Zealand, is a geothermal site with hot springs, mud pools, crater lakes and gardens. This park is a public space with walking tracks leading to the geothermal areas and providing the visitors with exciting and mesmerising sights of the boiling lakes and foot pools. Along with this, the park has other recreational activities like barbecues, playgrounds and paddling pools available and is a popular tourist attraction in the area.

10. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

25 km from city center 10 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, established in 1972, are a complex of 10 different pools. 'Living water' of the Te Manarola spring can be experienced here. Te Manaroa spring is the largest single source of 100% pure boiling water in New Zealand. This water, naturally laden with calcite and sulphur free, comes directly from the depths of the earth.

11. Rotorua Museum of Art and History

Rotorua Museum of Art and History

1 km from city center 11 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

The Rotorua Museum of Art and History is set in a spectacular former bath house. The building is a true architectural gem. If you wish to go on an informational spin about the region’s cultural and geological history, this museum is the place for you. It houses an essential collection of TeArawataonga. Whenever visiting the museum, plan a short halt at the TeAraway War memorial nearby.

12. Orakei Korako

Orakei Korako

38 km from city center 12 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Mysteriously known as “The Hidden Valley”, Orakei Korako is a highly active geothermal region located in the famous Taupo Volcanic Zone of the northern island of New Zealand. With a name that translates to ‘The Place of Adorning’ in the native language Maori, Orakei Korako is undoubtedly one of the best attractions for tourists and travellers in the Rotorua area as well as in the entire country.

Discover More About Sightseeing & Tourist Attractions in Rotorua

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13. Blue Baths Pool

Blue Baths Pool

0 km from city center 13 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Natural geothermal features have always been something that Rotorua is proud of. There are geysers, hot springs and bubbling pools of mud and water abound, scattered all around the city - a facet that has earned Rotorua the moniker 'Sulphur City'. These geothermal attractions are also half the reason behind the city's tourist appeal. One such is the beautiful venue of Blue Bath Pool in the historic Government Gardens. Although it is enclosed in a pool suitable for swimming, the crystal blue water in it is fresh and geothermally heated, unlike most in-house pools' artificial mineral water.

14. Kerosene Creek

Kerosene Creek

22 km from city center 14 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Staying true to Roturua’s endless collection of geothermal locations, Kerosene Creek is a lovely destination that attracts locals and tourists throughout the year. After all, who doesn’t like to take a dip in a naturally-heated warm pool of water and rinse off their week’s stress from the body and the mind.

15. Paradise Valley Springs

Paradise Valley Springs

9 km from city center 15 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Paradise Valley Springs is a popular wildlife park in Rotorua, New Zealand. It is one of the many tourist attractions that people visit to escape their hectic lives and feel close to nature. The 48-acre reserve is a well-maintained facility where wildlife can thrive in the native bush environment, and people visiting can observe and study them. In addition, the place has several freshwater springs, home to a large population of freshwater trout.

16. Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

10 km from city center 16 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Waitomo Glowworm Caves is a unique tourist attraction in Rotorua, New Zealand. The glowworm species found in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are scientifically known as Arachnocampa Luminosa. These glowworms are found only in New Zealand. Therefore, apart from being one of the top tourist attractions in the country, the caves also attract environmentalists, ecologists and nature enthusiasts.

17. Mount Tarawera

Mount Tarawera

24 km from city center 17 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Mount Tarawera is a famous attraction in Rotorua, New Zealand. It is an active volcano where some of the country’s most significant and destructive eruptions have occurred in the past — the notable ones being those that destroyed the Pink and White Terraces of Mount Tarawera. At present, the attraction is famous for hikes and a stunning view of Rotorua from the top of the mountain.

18. Wingspan, Rotorua

Wingspan, Rotorua

0 km from city center 18 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Wingspan, also known as the Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre, is New Zealand's leading centre for educating, conserving and researching the birds of prey native to the region. The attraction is located in Rotorua, New Zealand. Here, tourists get to observe the birds of prey at close distances and even get an opportunity to hold them. In addition, the surroundings of Wingspan are conserved to allow the birds to thrive in their natural environment.

19. Rotorua Canopy Tours

Rotorua Canopy Tours

0 km from city center 19 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Rotorua Canopy Tours is a one-of-a-kind eco-adventure tour conducted through the native forests on the outskirts of Rotorua in New Zealand. It is the only place in New Zealand where people can enjoy native forests and zipline tours. Rotorua Canopy Tours brings the participants face-to-face adventure and guarantees a thrilling time. Plus, the natural surroundings, with their rejuvenating vibe, double the fun for the participants.

20. Volcanic Hills Winery

Volcanic Hills Winery

4 km from city center 20 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Located as a part of the Skyline Gondola Complex with its Tasting room situated at the top of the complex, Volcanic Hills Winery is everything the name suggests. There is an eclectic range of award-winning wines to choose from; there is a tasting room at a sky-high level and a stunning panoramic view of the Rotorua lakes looking over.

21. Motion Entertainment

Motion Entertainment

3 km from city center 21 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Motion Entertainment is a must-do for any tourist visiting the region of Rotorua with family and kids, an indoor gaming centre with a licensed bar and cafe of its own. The place guarantees an excellent time for its customers with a wide range of indoor activities and fun sports. The center also has a specially designed conference room to organize any private event or occasion for their customers with prior notice to the event team.

22. Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park

11 km from city center 22 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Amid native trees, forests, and natural springs in Rotorua is the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, surrounded by the beautiful flora and fauna of New Zealand. This park is home to the world’s largest kiwi hatchery and the ‘Big Splash’ ride, which are the main attractions here. Also, the encounters with the parakeets, geckos and dinosaur descendants, tuataras add to the beautiful experience.

23. Government Gardens

Government Gardens

1 km from city center 23 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Overlooking the Rotorua Museum on the lake’s edge in North Island, New Zealand, are the beautiful Government Gardens (Paepaekumanu). This site was a gift to the British Crown by the local Ngati Whakaue tribe and stands today as a symbol of both the Maori and English culture. Today, the Museum, Blue Baths, Klamath Falls Rose Gardens, Te Runanga Tea Pavillion and Band Rotunda located in the gardens are the heritage tourist attractions to visit while in Rotorua, New Zealand.

24. Velocity Valley

Velocity Valley

8 km from city center 24 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

With its six unique and thrilling rides, New Zealand’s adventure attraction, Velocity Valley, is unlike any other adventure park. With adrenaline-pumping through and trips which give out the chills, this park is the hotspot for extreme sports seekers and has the world’s only Shweeb Racer - human-powered racing pods hanging down a monorail track, in its exhibit.

25. Hamurana Springs

Hamurana Springs

11 km from city center 25 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Located to the North-East of Lake Rotorua is the beautiful and crystal clear Hamurana Springs that appears amidst century-old redwood trees. These freshwater springs are a part of the Ngati Rangiwewehi tribe, and the journey till here is a short one through the groves alongside quiet and mesmerising views. Hamurana Springs flows into the Hamurana Springs Reserve as a stream and later joins Lake Rotorua. Hamurana Springs is surrounded by rocky structures and volcanic springs like the one near Hangarua Spring.

26. Rotorua Hot Springs

Rotorua Hot Springs

0 km from city center 26 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Rotorua is a popular hub for outdoor activities. Most notably, the thermal activity makes it rank among the top tourist destinations of New Zealand. The thermal springs of Rotorua make it an overwhelming and relaxing vacation for tourists. There are plenty of spots in and near Rotorua to enjoy mud pools and thermal hot springs.

27. Ohinemutu


1 km from city center 27 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Bundled amidst beautiful lakeside scenery and boiling water vents is the village of Ohinemutu in Rotorua, New Zealand. Once the central area for the region of Rotorua, this Maori village is home to the Ngati Whakaue tribe with a population of less than three hundred. An attraction site with historically magnificent highlights, the places to check out in Ohinemutu are the Tamatekapua meeting house and the St. Faith’s Church.

28. Mokoia Island

Mokoia Island

3 km from city center 28 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

In the middle of Lake Rotorua in New Zealand is the beautiful island of Mokoia, which stays uninhabited but has now become a popular tourist spot in the country. It is a sacred land of the Te Arawa tribe and presents the tourists with stunning views of the island, including bird watch and guided tours. This island is also a sanctuary for New Zealand’s endangered species ranging from birds to wildlife, and is dipped in stories of the locals and the history of the place to be uncovered.

29. Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

132 km from city center 29 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

With a dual UNESCO World Heritage Site status for its volcanic landscape and cultural significance, the Tongariro National Park is a must-see attraction in Rotorua, New Zealand. It is the oldest and the first of all National Parks in the country and is a marvel of nature with three breathing volcanoes - Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro in the heart of the park. This park presents its visitors with plenty of activities like walks and treks, skiing and snowboarding on Mount Ruapehu in the winters.

30. Okere Falls

Okere Falls

16 km from city center 30 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

On the shores of Lake Rotoiti in North Island, New Zealand, is the little town of Okere Falls, well known amongst the rafters and kayakers for its rapid water flow. Ingrained with Maori history, beautiful lakesides and waterfalls, Okere Falls claims to have the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, at 7 metres. Alongside the rafting experience, this place has a popular fishing spot – the Trout Pool. It is also home to the Okere Falls Store, which hosts the annual beer fest in October.

31. Lake Rotoiti

Lake Rotoiti

22 km from city center 31 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

‘The Small Lake’, Lake Rotoiti in the Bay of Plenty area of New Zealand, is a relatively large lake, contrary to its name, near the famous Lake Rotorua. It is a popular site for tourists who wish to go on a boating trip, with the beautiful Manupirua Hot Springs on the lake’s shore, which can be reached only by boat.

32. Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park

0 km from city center 32 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

OVERVIEW: Lapped inside the scenic contours of Rotorua, a place of abundant lakes and exotic fauna Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is an exclusive wildlife centre specially curated for the tourists all across to see what New Zealand boasts of. There is an eclectic range of guided tours by some of their professional tour guides who will let you in about the varied range of reptiles, birds, mammals you will come across in their park

33. The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

13 km from city center 33 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

A century-old village, ruined due to a fatal volcanic eruption, namely the volcano of Mount of Tarawera on June 10th, 1886, now lies in fragments and desert along the coast of Lake Tarawera in New Zealand’s North Island. The spot is now a rage for tourists wide across for its local anecdotes, the fragmented relics of the past and excavation discoveries.


0 km from city center 34 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

A fun, thrilling, adrenaline-inducing outdoor attraction for tourists visiting Rotorua, New Zealand, Zorb is a must-do for anyone and everyone. Regarded to be the world’s largest downhill ball rolling park along the slope of Mt. Rotorua, this Kiwi-owned and operated fun organization makes a good recreation for its customers, with every safety measurement taken care of along with making it fun and fulfilling.

35. Agrodome


0 km from city center 35 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Located at a stretch of 350 acres of lush farming plain, Rotorua, New Zealand’s Agrodome, is a large centre offering a fulfilling experience to see the farming and animal rearing culture at a close, personal level. It is a frequently visited attraction of Rotorua where visitors come to see the Farm Show and the Farmyard Nursery and take a tour of the entire Farmland that would comprise you strolling through the lush green plains.

36. Mount Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve

Mount Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve

5 km from city center 36 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Mount Ngongotaha is a volcanic dome located 757 metres above sea level. Rotorua city can be viewed from this scenic reserve. Mount Ngongotaha is an iconic peak for Ngāti Whakaue (Maori tribes), who believe it was once home to patupaiarehe (fairies), whose voices and flutes can be heard on the foot of the mountain on some days.

37. Hell's Gate

Hell's Gate

8 km from city center 37 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Hell's Gate, despite its forbidding name, is one of Rotorua's most famous thermal attractions. The fuming and steaming geysers of Hell's Gates are spread over 50 acres of land. The therapeutic properties of the hot pools' mud and their renowned sulphur spa treatments are major tourist attractions for people around the country. Hell's Gate is important in Maori history and is also the site for many Maori legends.

38. Redwood Treewalk

Redwood Treewalk

0 km from city center 38 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

39. Lake Tarawera

Lake Tarawera

13 km from city center 39 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Known as ‘Burnt Spear’, Lake Tarawera is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand. Before the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera in the late 19th century, it was home to several Maori settlements and villages. The place spreads over some 39 square kilometres, has no entry fees and is scenic too. The lake is a product of the volcanic activity of the Tarawera Volcanic Zone and has a high sulphur content, giving it an exotic yellowish green hue.

40. Mitai Maori Village

Mitai Maori Village

33 km from city center 40 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua, New Zealand, is a way into the Maori culture with an evening of cultural events and historical highlights. From warriors in traditional attires on ancient canoes to the traditional Poi dance and dining on the delicious ‘Hangi’ lifted from the ground to the display of Maori art and history, the Mitai Maori Village Experience is an event to attend if you want to experience the beauty of Maori culture.

41. Maori Villages in Rotorua

Maori Villages in Rotorua

33 km from city center 41 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Immersed in a cultural history like no other, the Maori Villages form an integral part of Rotorua, along with several different areas of New Zealand. The extraordinary practices, habits, and lifestyles of these tribes offer a refreshing experience to the tourists who wish to look closely into these people's lives.

42. Waikato River

Waikato River

57 km from city center 42 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Flowing in all its glory for four hundred and twenty-five kilometres, the Waikato River has bagged the title of the longest river in New Zealand. Its journey begins in the central part of the North Island, from the eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu, from which it flows through the largest lake of New Zealand, Lake Taupo, while joining the Tongariro River System.

43. Mountain Biking in Rotorua

Mountain Biking in Rotorua

0 km from city center 43 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

There is something about taking trips to new places that contradicts itself. People often seek an escape from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, to find a spot that will take them away from the grinding reality for a while. At the same time, however, they look for a place to distract them from the humdrum of their monotonous routine, the same old machine-like activities that take the majority of their days up.

44. Eat Streat

Eat Streat

1 km from city center 44 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Eat Streat in Rotorua is one of the most fantastic food hotspots in New Zealand. With cosy cafes, quality restaurants, and lively bars, this place is a must-visit while exploring this country. Flung at the lake end of Tutanekai Street, this place receives many food connoisseurs throughout the year.

45. Rotorua Night Market

Rotorua Night Market

2 km from city center 45 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Held at the heart of Tutanekai Street, Rotorua Night Market comes to life once every week and brings a platform where local artists can showcase their talents with many handmade art and crafts, among other things. This market spreads its wings when Tutanekai Street is closed off from Haupapa to Hinemoa Street for one night and is transformed into a lively place with vibrant LED lights, innumerable stalls, and live entertainment.

46. Whakarewarewa


3 km from city center 46 out of 46 Things To Do in Rotorua

Located in the geothermal region of Rotorua, New Zealand, Whakarewarewa takes pride in being known as the only Living Māori Village in the country. This village is home to the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people, who have continued to host visitors on their land for over two centuries, with fun-filled activities like the cultural experience, which includes performances of Poi and Haka dancing, the geothermal hangi experience and the hangi pie experience.

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New Zealand is the ultimate travel destination if you're looking for a bit of adventure in a breathtakingly beautiful setting. It's filled with rich culture, diverse scenery, unique wildlife and plenty of outdoor recreation to keep you entertained. And you don't have to be a "Lord of the Rings" fan to enjoy it, either.

"It's undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places on earth," Liam Naden writes for TripSavvy . "Situated southeast of Australia, it may seem like a long way to travel, but your visit will be one of the most memorable trips of your lifetime."

Thanks to Dick Jensen & Alan McKay Tours , visiting New Zealand is easier — and more affordable — than ever. And if you want to extend your time down under, you can also add Australia. The dates are March 19-April 11 for both countries or March 30-April 11 for New Zealand only. If you want to go, make sure to sign up quickly because the February tour dates sold out in a flash. (If you don't want to wait, there are a handful of remaining spots for an October 10-22 New Zealand only tour.)

Here's what's on the itinerary

Dick Jensen & Alan McKay Tours March 19-April 11 New Zealand/Australia tour covers multiple different must-see stops. Here are just a few of the activities you'll enjoy along the way:

  • Tour Auckland, New Zealand's largest and most diverse city, including the Auckland Harbor.
  • Enjoy an overnight cruise on the Milford Sound, where you might spot dolphins, seals or penguins. Kayaking is included.
  • Spark your sense of wonder on a boat ride through Waitomo's Caves.
  • Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set where "Lord of the Rings" was brought to life.
  • Journey through the beautiful Fitzgerald Glade and cross the Mamaku Range to Lake Rotorua for breakfast.
  • Feast your eyes on the volcanic wonderlands of Rotorua.
  • See the boiling mud pools and steaming geysers at Te Puia.
  • Experience breathtaking views on a skyline gondola ride.
  • Attend a Maori cultural performance and feast on a traditional Hangi-influenced meal.
  • Explore the sights and vivid colors of the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park.
  • Take a sightseeing tour of Wellington and Christchurch.

But this is just a handful of activities included on the trip. To see the full itinerary, visit .

When you add the Australia extension, you'll also experience:

  • The Blue Mountains.
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park (kangaroos, koalas, and more!).
  • The famed Sydney Opera House with a guided tour inside.
  • A Sydney Harbor Cruise.
  • Kata Tjuta/Mount Olga
  • Sunrise Ayers rock, base walk.
  • Great Ocean Road.
  • City tours in Melbourne, Sydney, Christchurch and Auckland.
  • Twelve Apostles.
  • Grand Kuranda including Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway (including a butterfly sanctuary, Rainforestation Nature Park, Koala and Wildlife Park).
  • A Great Barrier Reef excursion,(including boat tour and snorkeling).

Dick Jensen & Alan McKay Tours makes traveling the world affordable

For many people, visiting New Zealand and Australia might feel out of reach due to the high costs of long-distance travel. But that's where Dick Jensen & Alan McKay Tours comes in. To make worldwide travel affordable for as many people as possible, the agency has worked hard to craft exceptional travel packages that offer the biggest bang for your buck.

Here's how they save you money: The agency purchases blocks of airfare months before the departure date to ensure the best deal on international airfare. Their group contracts also save people a lot of money — and since it's a family-run business with low overhead and many automated processes, they pass the savings on to you.

The combined New Zealand/Australia tour is $8,999 per person when you travel with a companion. That is a savings of $1,399 over doing each trip seperately. Here's everything that's covered with that price:

  • Round-Trip Airfare from LAX
  • Flights within Australia
  • Flights within New Zealand
  • Flight from Australia to New Zealand if you do both tours
  • Airport Transfers
  • Accommodations in quality hotels
  • Overnight cruise on Milford Sound
  • Breakfasts Included and some lunches and dinners (at least four dinners and one lunch in New Zealand, and one lunch in Australia)
  • Activities listed on itinerary
  • Transportation

It's an incredible value that's hard to beat.

Refer a friend and save even more

In addition to their excellent prices, Dick Jensen & Alan McKay Tours offers a referral program to help you save even more money. For every referral from you that books with them, you get $100 and your referrals get $50 off the price as well. And you don't have to go on the trip to get your $100 reward. Visit the referrals page for more information.

Save a spot on the next available New Zealand/Australia tour

With prices like these, reservations are filling up fast for the upcoming New Zealand/Australia tour . Act fast if you want to participate because these tours virtually always sell out.

In the meantime, you can browse the list of other upcoming trips. In addition to New Zealand, the agency also offers expertly guided tours through Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Pacific, the Middle East and even Antarctica. Visit their website to view upcoming travel itineraries and plan that next great trip today.

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