Rotorua, NZ Travel Guide

For such a small city, Rotorua has a lot to offer. We just got back from a weekend trip to Rotorua, and even though we only stayed 2 nights, we sure were able to fit a lot in. I have put together a list of some of my favorite activities we did, as well as some of the other highly rated things to do if you have time. If you follow these guidelines, you will have an amazing experience in Rotorua, and you will be exhausted by the end of your trip from trying to squeeze so much in!

Activities

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

This is a Rotorua-Must-Do. The wonderland is full of geothermal elements that have been sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity. The park has 3 different tracks or walking routes that you can take to explore everything it has to offer. The pools are extremely colorful and are gorgeous photo ops. The park has an active geyser on display as well, that they can set off every day. The relatively inexpensive admission includes the geyser show, so make sure to go early, as it is only set off once a day in the morning. To do all of the park and see the geyser, it took us a few hours to get through it all, but you can stay as long or make it as quick as you like.

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Glow Worm Tours

Glow Worms are exclusively found in New Zealand, and is a major tourist attraction in multiple locations in the the North Island. The most well known one is the Waitomo Cave attraction, but both Rotorua and Tauranga have special kayak tours to offer as well, through Waimarino. Daniel and I did the one in Tauranga, but the Rotorua tour is just as amazing. If you have some extra cash to spend and are looking for an amazing experience, I highly recommend doing a kayak tour.

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Taken in Tauranga

Waimangu Thermal Volcanic Pools 

This volcanic valley is very similar to the Wai-O-Tapu attraction, but probably less busy and a bit more walking. We really would’ve liked to see this one as well, but due to budget we had to decide between the two. If we go back to Rotorua, this will definitely be on our to do list.

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Photo taken at Wai-O-Tapu

Redwoods Treewalk 

Okay, I’ve been to Redwood trees attraction sites before in California, but I have to say being able to do this treewalk amongst them was awesome. The entire exhibit is up in the trees, and it is made up of suspended bridges. You simply spend about a half an hour, walking across all the bridges and reading about the trees. The site also has night walks, where the trees and bridges are lit up with lights. It was a pretty amazing experience, and the pictures are cool as well. Admission is about $25, so not too bad.

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OGO

Also known as Zorbing, OGO is one of Rotorua’s top attractions, and is known as being the largest ball rolling park in the world. If you like thrilling activities, then this may be the one for you.

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Skyline Rotorua 

There are so many things to do at Skyline. There is the most popular luge activity, mountain biking, stargazing, zipline, sky swing, and eating and drinking. While the activities are pricey, because you have to pay for the gondola ride as well, they are extremely fun. Since this site is probably the most popular in Rotorua, and in the heart of downtown, it is very busy. Expect to wait in long lines on the weekends, so definitely show up early.

Outdoor Walks and Hikes

Okere Falls

This was a beautiful little walking trail that led to multiple falls locations and a river that people regularly kayak down. We spent a little less than an hour exploring all that the area had to offer, including a cave and trout fishing area. It was a perfect pitstop during our drive to another city.

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Blue Lake Track

This was a cute little beach area in the middle of nowhere. The lake was beautiful and easy to drive to. We only stopped shortly to take pictures because the weather was not in our favor that day, but there is a walking loop that goes all the way around the lake. It is about 5.5 km, but a very easy and flat walk.

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Rainbow Mountain Summit

This walking track will give you a 360 degree view of the Rotorua region once you have reached the top. It is about 2.5km, and is meant to take 1 hour 30 min one way. You should plan for this to take a few hours. We didn’t get a chance to do this hike because of the time restraints and weather, but this is definitely on the to do list for next time.

Markets

Kuirau Park Weekend Markets

Every Saturday morning from 7am – 1pm.

Soundshell Craft Markets

Not on every weekend so check the schedule in link!

Rotorua Night Markets

Every Thursday night from 5pm – 9pm.

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