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Rotorua | The best things to see and do πŸ‘€ πŸ‘

Updated: Jul 11

Playfully referred to as 'RotoVegas' by Kiwi's, you'll find plenty on offer to keep you entertained and intrigued in Rotorua - just don't expect to find a casino or any slot machines! The affectionate nickname refers to the tourist dollars that enrich the regions local economy. Many visitors to New Zealand's North Island consider Rotorua's geothermal wonders and the chance to gain insight into Maori culture found here to feature in their visit to New Zealand. But there's plenty more to this region. To give you a taste of what to expect from your visit to Rotorua, here's an overview of great itinerary ideas I've collated for you.

A trip to Rotorua will capture your heart and elevate your soul. Ancient towering trees frame wonderful bush walks and mountain bike trails, while the soft sand shores of 18 pristine lakes are a temptingly short trip from the city centre.


Highlights can include:

  • take the Gondola and enjoy the 180 degree views at Skyline Rotorua - try out The Luge, a 3-wheel, gravity-based cart ride πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦

  • travel on the steep gradient railway in your own self-drive RailCruiser on the Mamaku Express Rail Cruising experience πŸ›€οΈ

  • explore Whakarewarewa The Living Maori Village with a fully guided tour including a cultural performance and access to geothermal nature trails πŸŒ‹

  • the internationally acclaimed Polynesian Spa offers relaxing hot mineral spring bathing, sumptuous spa therapies and picturesque Lake Rotorua views ♨️

Two swimmers enjoy the Polynesian Spa
  • ride to 27 historical, geothermal and cultural sights with Happy Ewe Cycle Tours, a leisurely paced bicycle adventure through central Rotorua 🚴

  • fast fun for everyone and home to the world's only Schweeb Racer, Velocity Valley offers adventurers the Swoop, Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme, Rotorua Bungy and the Freestyle Airbag

  • eco tour through the world's youngest geothermal system at Waimangu Volcanic Valley and round off your visit with a boat cruise on beautiful Lake Rotomahana πŸŒ‹πŸ‘Ÿ

  • extremely photogenic Lake Tarawera is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand with a backdrop of Mount Tarawera, the volcano responsible for a large eruption in 1886 πŸŒ‹πŸ›₯️

Gorgeous views over Lake Tarawera
  • situated on the lake’s edge in downtown Rotorua, the Government Gardens are the perfect place to relax 🌷

  • Lake Rotoiti is popular for boaties and is home to Manupirua Hot Springs, located on an island within the lake πŸ›₯️ πŸŽ£β™¨οΈ

  • Kerosene Creek is a hot spring which flows through natural bush to a 2 metre waterfall into a secluded hot pool - take care not to damage this special environment ♨️

  • get back to nature at Hamurana Springs, where crystal-clear water emerges from the deepest natural fresh spring water in the North Island πŸ‘Ÿ

  • you can't help but laugh as you get all topsy turvy rolling down the hill with OGO Rotorua and Zorb

  • discover steaming, hissing, and boiling geothermal activity at Kuirau Park - NZ’s only geothermal public park πŸŒ‹πŸ‘Ÿ

  • New Zealand's most colourful geothermal attraction Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland sculptured by geothermal activity - unique volcanic features can be viewed from well defined tracks including the incredible Champagne Pool πŸŒ‹πŸ‘Ÿ

The unique Champagne Pool in Wai-o-Tapu steams with vivid oranges and greens
  • take the Kawarau Jet to Mokoia Island and discover the bird sanctuary, Maori culture and geothermal hot pool ♨️

  • discover Rotorua's rich culture, volatile landscape and dramatic history in the world-class Rotorua Museum

  • Planet Bike offers mountain bike tours for first timers to expert - see why Rotorua is a mountain bike haven with a diverse and unique bike trails 🚡

  • visit Te Puia is home to world famous Pohutu Geyser and also known for Māori cultural experiences, geothermal valley with famous geysers and interesting guided tours πŸŒ‹

  • Paradise Valley Springs is a beautifully presented NZ Trout, Bird and Wildlife park, along with a pride of African Lions - a family favourite 🦁

  • soak in the 'Living Waters' of the Te Manaroa Spring at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools ♨️

  • relax in a Rotorua Mud Wrap + Massage allowing rich minerals to release protective antioxidants for clean and refreshed skin

  • play with mud in the Mud Bath + Spa Complex at Hells Gate ♨️

  • journey back to a time of proud warriors and ancient traditions with Tamaki Maori Village, experiencing ceremonial rituals, powerful performances like the haka and a hangi feast

Maori culture features at Tamaki Maori Village
  • white water raft the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall with the River Rats 🌊

  • when you are after an adrenaline-filled off road experience, a stunning scenic horse trek or simply some fun with a gun clay bird shooting, Adventure Playground is the place to be

  • discover family fun at Rainbow Springs and get up close to the wonderful birds, bugs and beasts that call New Zealand home - the Kiwi Encounter is unforgettable πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦

  • stroll through Ohinemutu Village to Te Papaiouru Marae and get a sense of the richness and depth of this living Maori village set on the picturesque shores of Lake Rotorua

  • St Faith’s Anglican Church is intricately decorated with Maori carvings, tukutuku (woven panels), painted scrollwork and stained-glass windows

  • The Buried Village of Te Wairoa is New Zealand's most visited archaeological site where stories of the 1886 Mount Tarawera's volcanic eruption come to life πŸŒ‹

  • see the sacred Green Lake (Lake Rotokakai) then take a walk around the Blue Lake (Lake Tikitapu) an easy enjoyable walk in native bush with quiet beaches πŸ‘Ÿ

  • fly with Volcanic Air to the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory and experience a volcanic landing πŸŒ‹

  • for over 40 years visitors have come to The Agrodome to see the Farm Show starring a cast of talented animals πŸ‘πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦

  • known to locals as β€˜The Redwoods', the Whakarewarewa Forest is a perfect for horse riders, mountain bikers, walkers and hikers with the Redwoods Treewalk especially popular when illuminated after dark 🌲

  • visit Wingspan Rotorua’s aviary and their amazing birds of prey flying display which is both thoroughly entertaining and educational πŸ¦…

  • a magical eco-adventure in native forest suspended high amongst ancient trees with Rotorua Canopy Tours

ROTORUA AT A GLANCE πŸ›οΈ minimum 3 night stay recommended πŸ“… visit any time of year

πŸ“Β 7 out of 10 visitors include Rotorua in their New Zealand itinerary

🌦️there is a chance of rain 3½ days each week on average each year

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦Family fun scores high here with plenty to keep children entertained 🍽️Food + WineΒ experiences in this region were almost always mentioned as a highlight πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly πŸ‘


This part of New Zealand is home to:

Largest town: Β Rotorua

Popular places: Β Ngongotaha, Lake Rotoiti, Wai-o-Tapu, Waimangu, Lake Rotoma, Hamurana, Okere Falls, Blue Lake, Lake Tarawera, Lake Okataina, Mamaku, Murupara and more...


Accessible by:

πŸš— self-drive on a road trip

✈️ board a plane to land at Rotorua's Airport in Rotokawa, 6 km north east of the city centre (ROT)

🚌 take a bus from Auckland, the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Ruapehu, Gisborne, Lake Taupo or the Hawke's Bay


Be adventurous. Be spontaneous. Embrace the unknown.

Let us plan your getaway. The catch?

Your destination is a surprise.


Book A Surprise Kiwi Adventure today and you might just end up in Rotorua - it's Time 2 Go!

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