Home to the Te Arawa tribe, it’s a region steeped in Māori legend. Whether you want to explore amazing boiling mud pools and steam vents, relax in a natural hot pool or try your hand at trout fishing, Rotorua is the place to do it.
Get to know the region
Jump aboard the luxury catamaran Tuia for a cruise on breathtaking Lake Rotoiti. Visit the lakeside hot pools, learn to sail or simply lie back and enjoy the ride while taking in the lake’s beautiful scenery.
If you’re more inclined to take to the skies, join a HELiPRO helicopter tour to spectacular White Island. Located off the coast to the north of Rotorua, White Island is New Zealand’s only marine volcano. Tours include a landing on the island.
For one of the Māori cultural experiences Rotorua is famous for, visit Tamaki Māori Village or Mitai Māori Village to enjoy a traditional Māori welcome and hangi.
A dash of adventure
Rotorua is bursting with exciting adventure activities, many of which are world firsts. Challenge friends on the pedal powered Schweeb monorail at Agroventures or tear down the hill in a three-wheel luge gravity cart at Skyline Rotorua. For something quirkier, try Zorbing - a uniquely New Zealand activity that involves rolling down a hill in a large transparent plastic orb.
There are plenty of other adventure activities too. Paddle over the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall with River Rats, or if motorsport is your thing, why not test your driving skills on New Zealand’s newest and longest A-rated kart racing circuit. Alternatively, the Mamaku Plateau north of Rotorua is the perfect setting for off-roading with tour company Off Road NZ.
End of the day with a relaxing dip in a mineral pool at Polynesian Spa or a massage at one of Rotorua’s top hotels or resorts.
Discover geothermal history
Visit Rotorua Museum in the city’s picturesque Government Gardens to learn about Māori history and the destruction caused by the Mt Tarawera volcanic eruption of 1886. Situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua, the gardens are built on a culturally significant site where battles once took place between Māori tribes.
Later in the day, make sure to visit Te Puia, New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute. Learn about weaving and carving and take a guided tour through the neighbouring Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. During the tour you will see geothermal activity including bubbling mud pools, steam vents and the famous Pohutu Geyser, which spouts water metres up into the air.
After a day of fun, call into one of the many local drinking holes or cafes. Popular central city choices include the Pig & Whistle Historic Pub, Fat Dog Café & Bar and Seismic Gastrobar.