Things to do in Rotorua

Rotorua, a city on New Zealand’s North Island, is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. The area is dotted with bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers like the famous Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa, and natural hot springs that have attracted visitors for over a century. Rotorua sits within the Pacific Ring of Fire, making it one of the world’s most active geothermal regions. This unique landscape not only provides spectacular sights but also powers many of the city’s thermal spas.

Aside from its natural wonders, Rotorua is a cultural hub, offering deep insights into Maori traditions and history. The city is home to several living Maori villages, including Te Puia and Ohinemutu Village, where visitors can experience traditional performances, crafts, and hangi feasts. Rotorua’s commitment to preserving its indigenous heritage while welcoming tourists has made it a key destination for those looking to immerse themselves in New Zealand’s rich cultural tapestry.

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  • Te Puia: Explore this premier Maori cultural centre where you can witness the iconic Pohutu Geyser, live kiwi birds, and traditional Maori carvings and buildings. Engage in authentic experiences including cultural performances and crafts demonstrations.
  • Polynesian Spa: Relax in one of the many mineral hot pools overlooking Lake Rotorua. Choose from family-friendly pools or more secluded adult-only options for a serene spa experience amidst nature’s beauty.
  • Skyline Rotorua: Enjoy breathtaking views of Rotorua from above on the gondola ride then thrill yourself with a luge ride down one of several tracks. Dining options available at the top provide panoramic views of the area.
  • Rainbow Springs Nature Park: Discover New Zealand’s wildlife at this conservation park that features native species such as kiwi birds. It’s an educational visit for all ages with plenty of interactive exhibits.
  • Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa: Experience the raw power of nature at this geothermal wonderland. Take a guided tour through steaming fumaroles and boiling mud pools before indulging in a therapeutic mud bath or sulphur spa.
  • Mitai Maori Village: Immerse yourself in Maori culture with an evening at Mitai Maori Village. Witness traditional performances, warrior canoe displays, and enjoy a hangi feast cooked beneath the ground.
  • The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest: Venture into this magnificent forest known for its towering Californian Coastal Redwoods. Ideal for hiking or mountain biking with trails suitable for all skill levels.
  • Rotorua Museum: Learn about Rotorua’s rich history and culture through engaging exhibits housed within the beautiful Bath House building in Government Gardens. Note: Check current status as it has been closed for earthquake strengthening.
  • Agrodome: Experience farm life by attending a live sheep shearing demonstration, hand-feeding lambs or even milking cows at this working farm which also features an adventure park.
  • Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park: Get up close with New Zealand native animals as well as exotic species in this beautifully maintained wildlife park that also includes trout springs and lion feeding shows.
  • Waimangu Volcanic Valley: Walk through the youngest geothermal system in the world where you can see Frying Pan Lake – one of the largest hot water springs – among other volcanic features created by Mount Tarawera’s eruption in 1886.
  • Tamaki Maori Village: Step back in time to experience pre-European lifestyle within an authentic Maori village setting. Participate in ancient rituals, learn warrior training skills and enjoy traditional meals during your visit here.