Bubbling hot springs and mud pools offer relaxation, shooting geysers provide astonishment and mountains present boundless opportunities for adventure in Rotorua. This tourist-friendly city spreads around the southern shores of Lake Rotorua and is the thermal wonderland of New Zealand’s North Island. Rotorua is also home to one of the country’s largest population of Māoris, whose culture is visible throughout.
Learn about the local culture and geological history at the Rotorua Museum, housed in an historic timber-framed bathhouse. The museum is located in the Government Gardens, which is also home to the thermal pools of the Blue Baths. From here, follow Queens Drive north to Sulphur Point to enjoy views across Lake Rotorua. Follow the lakeshore to St. Faith’s Anglican Church, a pretty church decorated with Māori art. Afterwards, check out the hot springs at nearby Kuirau Park.
Just south of Government Gardens is the geothermal Te Whakarewarewa Valley. It is home to the Māori villages and cultural centres of Whakarewarewa Thermal Village and Te Puia. Watch traditional dances, visit craft workshops and sample a hangi cuisine, an ancient technique of cooking in a pit. Te Puia also affords superb views of Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to 20 times per day.
At the northern edge of the city the Skyline Rotorua takes you on scenic journey to the slopes of Mt. Ngongotaha. Enjoy thrilling zip-line and go-kart toboggan adventures or explore hiking and mountain-biking trails. Find more high-adrenalin activities, such as zorbing, jet-boating and bungee jumping at Agroventures Adventure Park. Get up-close with kiwis and other birdlife at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park.
After a day of adventures, relax in the cafés, pubs and restaurants situated on the open-air dining and entertainment area of Eat Street. Its natural geothermal floor heating makes it an enjoyable place to be year-round. Alternatively, sample ethnic cuisine and browse for local arts and crafts at the weekly Rotorua Night Market.
Rotorua is about a 3-hour drive southeast from Auckland and well-connected with other North Island destinations by intercity buses. Rent a car or use public transport to visit geothermal attractions outside of the city centre. These include the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, Hells Gate and Waimangu Volcanic Valley.
Family-friendly, Culture and Hot Springs
One of the largest lakes on the North Island, this location offers an abundance of exciting activities as well as a fascinating geological and cultural history.
Marvel at the pristine Nelson Lakes National Park as you kayak across this magnificent lake to thermal pools and glow worm caves.
Take in the splendid scenery during a gondola ride and jump in a luge cart to navigate your way down the exciting mountain track.
Set among the serene Government Gardens on the shores of Lake Rotorua, these hot pools are an idyllic place to relax and unwind.
Explore one of the region’s most beautiful lakes and relax on the beach beside the sparkling water.
For a great insight into Māori customs and way of life, sign up for this magical, entertaining and educational cultural experience.
Step into the world of Middle-earth, the Shire, and Hobbiton as you head to the movie set where acclaimed director Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved books to life. Find out how this once-sleepy sheep farm was turned into a movie set and take an up-close look at real sets and props.
Venture inside the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and enter a magical world shimmering with thousands of tiny glowworms. After discovering the incredible acoustic properties of the chamber known as the Cathedral, board a boat and glide beneath a dazzling ceiling illuminated by living lights.
Experience the authentic Tamaki Maori village nestled in the lush Rotorua forest. Discover the unique culture, customs, and traditions of the Maori people, then feast on a delicious Hangi-cooked meal and witness the traditional Maori war cry, the famous Haka dance.
Combining authentic Maori culture and Rotorua’s geothermal activity, Whakarewarewa – The Living Maori Village is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most unique attractions.
Set amongst the stars atop Mount Ngongotaha, Skyline Rotorua’s Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar is home to some of New Zealand’s best award-winning cuisine. Enjoy a delicious Lunch or Dinner featuring a stunning array of freshly prepared buffet and cooked-to-order dishes highlighting locally sourced seafood, meat and produce.
Combine learning about a historically significant area with the thrill of riding in New Zealand’s only genuine operating WW2 landing crafts. Journey from Rotorua’s central city to Lake Okareka for your first Splashdown.