Rotorua
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Things To Do In Rotorua

Planning A Trip To Rotorua? Here's our list of top things to do in Rotorua

The city of Rotorua on the northern island is one of the most intriguing tourist locations in the country. With its wild geothermal activity, colourful Maori Life and pristine natural wonders it can easily compete for the best site in New Zealand. There are a great variety of tourist things to do in Rotorua and they certainly cater to people of all interests. From relaxing at the many spas to biking through native forests, you will have a busy vacation, should you chose the captivating Rotorua.

Rejuvenate at Nature’s Spa

Rejuvenate at Nature’s Spa:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by swaindestinations.com

Rotorua’s geothermal activity is a blessing for the tired and the stressed soul. The many mineral-rich hot springs have been the central attraction at Rotorua for close to 200 years. Now there are a large number of spas offering their services to eager tourists. Polynesian Spa is perhaps the most renowned of them all. With a total of 27 pools all overlooking the tranquil Lake Rotorua, Polynesian Spa is the place to be. They source their water from two springs, one slightly acidic Priest Spring and one alkaline Rachel Spring. The baths themselves are curative enough to relieve pain and aches, meanwhile nourishing the skin. They also provide massage therapies, facials, and Aix hydrotherapy. 

Explore Maori Traditions

Explore Maori Traditions:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by justinayongphotography.com

The Te Arawa Maori have been hosting tourists for as long as tourism to Rotorua has existed. In fact, most of the guided tours are arranged by them. They hold a number of cultural events and tours in their villages to help visitors understand their lifestyle and their traditions. There are day tours you can take but for those who want to spend longer periods of time to understand their ancient wisdom they can stay at a marae, which is a meeting place that is sometimes arranged to provide accommodation to tourists. The best place to learn about crafts and weaving arts is at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, Te Puia. 

Walking Tour of Rotorua City

Walking Tour of Rotorua City:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by aussieweekend.com.au

One of the best ways to understand the city is to explore it on foot. To help tourists with this, there are sign boards at important stops with detailed accounts and relevant facts. It can be a very personal experience to connect with the city this way. A popular route is along the shores of Lake Rotorua, this way you get to see the hot springs, enjoy the view of the lake, pass by Whakarewarewa Forests and also catch a glimpse of the indigenous birds that can be found here. Another approach is to take a guided tour. Sure, you will have to pay; but this way you get intimate and personal details of the history, culture and politics of Rotorua.

Hiking at Hells Gate

Hiking at Hells Gate:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by mismatchedpassports.com

Hell’s Gate is a place that commands awe, with waterfalls as hot as 40°C, vast mud pools and land corals! The park is vast and can take at least an hour and a half to tour. The best thing about it though, is that you can stay overnight at their luxury hotel and enjoy the mud pool and sulphur pools to your heart’s content.

 

You can take a guided tour or explore by yourself. The path will take you through Bush Walks, where New Zealand’s iconic silver fern is found to grow in plenty with green and silvery leaves. The Kakahi Falls with its steaming waters rich in minerals follows next. A little beyond is the Mud Volcano, that spits out mud as it erupts. The trail soon leads to The Steaming Cliffs and very soon it becomes evident why the place is called Hell’s Gate. The water here is so hot and the steam rises to such heights that it paints a very vivid picture. Finally, you will arrive at the cooking pool; yes, it is very literally used for cooking. The minerals in the water soften the vegetables and its constant temperature throughout the year is a very useful quality. It is here you can see the famed land corals; they can be spotted at the edge of the pool.

Rotorua Canopy Tours

Rotorua Canopy Tours:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by canopytours.co.nz

Have you ever wondered what a bird sees as it soars over the thick canopy of the forest? With the help of Rotorua Canopy Tours, this is now an option available to the brave of heart. With multiple contraptions including zip lines, treetop platforms and bridges, the tour spans over the roof of Rotorua’s magnificent forest. The entire experience should last 3 unforgettable hours and you will be accompanied by guides throughout. The best part of the tour, aside from the adventure, is the conservational efforts they put in. During the tour, this will also be explained to you in great detail.

Day trip to White Island

Day trip to White Island:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by myguiderotorua.com

A day trip to White Island, one of the most famous marine volcanoes in the world, should definitely feature on your itinerary. Being an active volcanic island, the landscape looks completely alien. Thanks to some recent activity the island is now covered in whitish grey ash and sulphurous yellow rocks. The main attraction here is the picturesque crater-lake at the heart of the island. Due to the highly sulphurous atmosphere the water is very acidic and has a fluorescent green Hue to it, not to mention the water is quite hot. Another point of interest is an abandoned sulphur mine. It is an interesting specimen showing the action of sulphur on different materials.

Boating at Rotomahana Lake

Boating at Rotomahana Lake:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by waimangu.co.nz

The 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera is one of the most important events of the 19th century, especially because it led to the disappearance of the pink and white terraces. However, a lot more than that happened that eventful night and one of the consequences was the widening of Lake Rotomahana. In fact, some still believe that some parts of the terrace can still be found under the lake.


Fortunately, there is a way to explore all the myths and speculations surrounding the event; a boat cruise. The hour-long cruise includes a detailed explanation of how the volcanic eruption changed the landscape and the life form of Waimangu and also features some breath-taking sights of the mountains and the craters.

Biking at the Redwoods

Biking at the Redwoods:  Things To Do In Rotorua
Photograph by aurarotorua.co.nz

Known worldwide as the best mountain biking forest trail, The Redwoods is a setting every biker aspires; from amateurs to professionals. The soaring redwood trees and the indigenous undergrowth combine to form the perfect backdrop for adventurous outdoor activities. The trails are also perfect for hiking and horse riding. To make it a tourist-friendly experience a number of services have been established like the sale of detailed maps of the different ride-able tracks. There are a number of bike rentals who also provide guides if you should want one. Furthermore, there are services that will drop you off at exciting trails deep within the forest so you can explore the fun trails before exhausting yourself.

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