30 Best Things to Do in Rotorua

Best things to do in Rotorua

Known for its geothermal activity, stunning lakes, and rich cultural heritage, Rotorua offers plenty of experiences for every type of traveler.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the 30 best things to do in Rotorua, ensuring that your visit to this enchanting region is nothing short of extraordinary.

1. Explore Te Puia

Begin your Rotorua adventure by visiting Te Puia, a cultural and geothermal wonderland.

Witness the impressive Pohutu Geyser and immerse yourself in Maori traditions.

  • Location: Hemo Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: In addition to the geothermal wonders, Te Puia is home to the National Carving School, where skilled Maori carvers pass down their traditions to the next generation. Witness the artistry of wooden sculptures coming to life.
  • Duration: It can be done within 2 hours.
  • Booking experience: You can book this activity with transport included from Auckland, or without it. Find more information on Viator.

te puia

2. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Marvel at the vibrant colors of Champagne Pool and the Lady Knox Geyser at Wai-O-Tapu, one of New Zealand’s most surreal geothermal parks.

  • Location: Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: A lesser-known gem within Wai-O-Tapu is the Devil’s Bath, a striking neon-green pool resulting from a unique blend of minerals. It’s a surreal sight that stands out amid the other geothermal features.
  • Booking experience: Like Te-Puia, you can also book this activity with some optional extras via Viator’s website.


3. Redwoods Treewalk

Experience the enchanting Redwoods Treewalk, an illuminated night walk amidst towering Redwood trees.

The suspended bridges offer a magical perspective, definitely one of the best things to do in Rotorua.

  • Location: Long Mile Road, Whakarewarewa Forest. Could be a bit hard to find with the GPS, so you can find the exact address here.
  • Insight: For a magical experience, time your visit to coincide with the Redwoods Nightlights. The entire Treewalk is illuminated, creating a fairy-tale ambiance as you navigate the suspended bridges amidst the towering Redwoods.
  • Booking experience: There is only one website where you can book this activity in advance and is TreeWalk.co.nz

Redwoods Treewalk

4. Polynesian Spa

Indulge in relaxation at Polynesian Spa, where natural hot mineral waters overlooking Lake Rotorua provide the perfect setting for unwinding.

  • Location: Hinemoa Street, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Opt for a private pool at the Polynesian Spa for a more intimate experience. These pools overlook Lake Rotorua, providing a secluded and romantic setting, especially during the evening.
  • Duration: Starting at 30 minutes, depending on the package you select.
  • Booking experience: This activity can be booked together with other activities and excursions, depending on your needs you can pick different packages, find them here on Viator’s website.

🏞 If you a lover of natural hot pools we have prepared the following guide (only in the North Island): 6 Free Natural Hot Pools in the North Island, New Zealand

Polynesian Spa

5. Rotorua Museum

Discover the region’s history at the Rotorua Museum, housed in the iconic Bath House building.

Explore exhibitions that showcase the cultural and geological heritage of Rotorua.

  • Location: Government Gardens, Oruawhata Drive, Rotorua.
  • Insight: The Rotorua Museum building is a masterpiece in itself. Originally built as a bathhouse, its Edwardian architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens add an extra layer of historical charm to your visit.
  • Booking experience: The museum is currently closed until 2024 – you can check their updates on the Rotorua Museum website and book a visit when available on their website or on Viator.

Rotorua Museum

6. Skyline Rotorua

Take a gondola ride to Skyline Rotorua for panoramic views of the city and Lake Rotorua. Thrill-seekers can enjoy the luge and zip-line adventures.

  • Location: Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: For an adrenaline rush combined with breathtaking views, try the SkySwing at Skyline Rotorua. It’s a giant swing that propels you out over the city, providing a unique and exhilarating perspective.
  • Duration: Allow 2 to 3 hours.
  • Booking experience: Most of booking platforms may offer all day packages including the Skyline, if you are planning to do this activity alone we recommend you to check BookMe, for combining it to partial or all day activities then you can check Viator’s website.

Skyline Rotorua

7. Hobbiton Movie Set

Embark on a cinematic journey by visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set, where the lush landscapes of the Shire come to life from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.”

How Hobbiton can’t be included as one of the best things to do in Rotorua? It’s a must do in New Zealand, make sure you book in advance if planning to visit it!

  • Location: Matamata, approximately 55 km from Rotorua.
  • Insight: Stay for an evening banquet at the Green Dragon Inn within Hobbiton. Enjoy a feast fit for a Hobbit, complete with traditional beverages from the Shire, making it a truly immersive experience.
  • Booking experience: It can be booked in many platforms, the most popular is Viator, but you can also check BookMe to get better deals when booking in advance as they offer discounts depending on the day you reserve it.
  • Additional information: We have created the following article about this activity as is a must do in New Zealand – The Hobbiton Experience: A Must-Visit for Lord of the Rings Fans

photographer hobitton

8. Kaituna River Rafting

Brave the rapids of the Kaituna River with a thrilling white-water rafting experience. The 7-meter Tutea Falls awaits adrenaline junkies.

  • Location: Okere Falls, approximately 20 km from Rotorua.
  • Insight: Combine your rafting adventure with a visit to the Okere Falls Store. This local gem offers excellent coffee, delicious pastries, and a picturesque riverside setting.
  • Booking experience: Prices vary depending on the duration of the activity, Viator offers different packages for the Kaituna River Rafting.

Kaituna River Rafting

9. Agrodome

Delight in a unique farm experience at Agrodome, where you can interact with friendly farm animals and enjoy entertaining sheep-shearing demonstrations.

  • Location: Western Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Take part in the Agrodome’s Farm Show VIP Experience, allowing you to interact with the farm animals backstage, gaining insights into their care and training.
  • Booking experience: You can book directly via their official website Agrodome.co.nz – This business also offers other activities on site that may interest you.

Agrodome in Rotorua

10. Whakarewarewa Forest

Mountain biking enthusiasts will find paradise in the Whakarewarewa Forest, home to an extensive network of trails catering to all skill levels.

  • Location: Long Mile Road, Whakarewarewa Forest.
  • Insight: Unleash your inner adventurer by trying the Redwoods Altitude, an exhilarating treetop ziplining experience that takes you soaring through the forest canopy.
  • Duration: Visitor choice
  • Booking experience: There is no need to book for visiting the forest, for additional information about it we recommend you to check their website Redwoods.co.nz that has some news and events from time time.

Whakarewarewa Forest

11. Tamaki Maori Village

Another one of the best things to do in Rotorua is inmmersing yourself in the Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Village, where traditional performances, feasts, and the warm hospitality of the Maori people await.

  • Location: 1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Book the “Twilight Cultural Experience” at Tamaki Maori Village for an evening filled with traditional storytelling, song, and dance under the stars—a magical and immersive journey into Maori culture.
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Booking experience: It’s possible to book this activity on Viator, make sure you book in advance as is a high demanded attraction.

Tamaki Maori Village

12. Lake Rotorua Cruise

Take a scenic cruise on Lake Rotorua to appreciate the region’s beauty from a different perspective. Sunset cruises offer particularly breathtaking views.

  • Location: Departs from Memorial Drive, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Opt for a sailing experience on Lake Rotorua aboard the Lakeland Queen, a Mississippi-style paddlewheel boat. It adds a touch of nostalgia and elegance to your lake cruise.
  • Booking experience: As of January 2024, this activity is temporarily closed, we will update the article and booking links once their open as usual.

Lake Rotorua Cruise

13. Buried Village of Te Wairoa

Explore the remnants of Te Wairoa, a village buried by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. The excavated site offers a glimpse into the tragic past.

  • Location: Tarawera Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Join a guided tour that takes you beyond the excavated village to explore the pristine native bush and waterfalls surrounding the Buried Village—a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered.
  • Booking experience: The entry fee is around 25$NZD and can be booked on Viator.

Buried Village of Te Wairoa

14. Zorb Rotorua

Experience the thrill of rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball at Zorb Rotorua, it’s another pick of the best things to do in Rotorua guide, an adventure activity that promises laughter and excitement.

  • Location: 525 Ngongotaha Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Try the “Zydro” experience at Zorb Rotorua, where you roll downhill inside a water-filled orb. It’s a wet and wild variation of the classic Zorb adventure, adding an extra splash to your ride.
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Booking experience: Zorb can be booked on diversed platforms like Viator or BookMe, prices and availability will vary depending on the season.


15. Hells Gate Geothermal Park

Discover the healing properties of geothermal mud baths and sulfuric pools at Hells Gate Geothermal Park, known for its therapeutic spa experiences.

  • Location: State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Indulge in a Mud Bath Spa at Hells Gate, where you can apply the therapeutic geothermal mud on your skin—a unique spa treatment surrounded by the captivating geothermal landscape.
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Booking experience: Recommended to check availability as is not always ready for booking, its a highly demanded activity you can check and book on Viator’s website.

Hells Gate Geothermal Park

16. Maori Arts and Crafts Institute

Gain insights into traditional Maori arts and crafts at the institute located within Te Puia. Witness skilled artisans creating intricate carvings and weaving.

  • Location: Hemo Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Attend a hands-on carving or weaving workshop at the institute to create your own Maori-inspired artwork, adding a personal touch to your Rotorua cultural experience.
  • Booking experience: You can check Tripadvisor for more information about duration, reviews and booking options. For booking directly with the Institure you can do so throught the website Tepuia.com

Maori Arts and Crafts Institute

17. Hamurana Springs

Enjoy a tranquil walk around Hamurana Springs, where crystal-clear spring waters and native flora create a serene atmosphere.

  • Location: Hamurana Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Visit during the spring months to witness the cherry blossoms in full bloom around Hamurana Springs, adding a touch of pink and white magic to the serene surroundings.
  • Duration: It can be completed within 30 minutes, but is recommended to spend 1 hour to enjoy wildlife and it’s surroundings.
  • Booking experience: You can book this activity directly with Hamurana website, prices start at just 13$NZD for adults and 8$NZD for kids.

🦜 If you are a wildlife lover, we have created the following article we invite you to check: Wildlife Encounters in New Zealand: From Penguins to Dolphins

Hamurana Springs

18. Ohinemutu Village

Explore Ohinemutu, a lakeside Maori village known for its historic St. Faith’s Church and traditional meeting houses.

  • Location: Lake Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Attend a church service at St. Faith’s Church in Ohinemutu to experience the harmonious blend of Maori and Christian traditions—an enlightening cultural immersion.
  • Duration: Visitor choice.
  • Booking experience: You can walk in free of charge, for more information about Ohinemutu you can read more about it here.

Ohinemutu Village

19. Kerosene Creek

Relax in the natural hot springs of Kerosene Creek, surrounded by lush native bush. This hidden gem provides a unique and soothing experience.

  • Location: Old Waiotapu Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Experience Kerosene Creek during the evening when the natural hot springs are beautifully illuminated by the moon and stars, creating a tranquil and surreal atmosphere.
  • Duration: Visitor choice.
  • Booking experience: This a free activity, no need for a booking. However, for additional information about the Kerose Creek we want to share a personal blog that gives all the information you need about this attraction – KeroseneCreek.co.nz

Kerosene Creek

20. Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Embark on a journey through the world’s youngest geothermal valley at Waimangu. Witness Frying Pan Lake, the largest hot spring in the world.

  • Location: 587 Waimangu Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Participate in a photography tour at Waimangu to capture the geothermal wonders in the soft morning light, adding a unique perspective to your visual memories.
  • Duration: From 2h to 5h, depending on the package.
  • Booking experience: Hiking tours can be booked on Viator’s website.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

21. Mokoia Island

Discover the cultural and historical significance of Mokoia Island, situated in the center of Lake Rotorua. Boat tours offer access to this sacred site.

  • Location: Lake Rotorua.
  • Insight: Opt for a guided kayak tour to Mokoia Island during the early morning hours, allowing you to experience the serene beauty of Lake Rotorua and its surroundings in a peaceful and undisturbed setting.
  • Duration: Prepare for at least half-day.
  • Booking experience: This activity can be done by boat or by air, for more information we recommend you to check their official website.

Mokoia Island

22. Blue and Green Lakes

Admire the contrasting colors of the Blue and Green Lakes, two stunning crater lakes surrounded by native bush. Scenic viewpoints provide breathtaking photo opportunities.

  • Location: Tarawera Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Hike the Blue Lake to Green Lake Track for stunning panoramic views. Pack a picnic and savor the breathtaking scenery from one of the designated viewpoints.
  • Duration: Visitor choice.
  • Booking experience: It’s privately owned so we recommend to check additional information at the time of booking it, it could change over time. Find more on Tripadvisor.

Blue and Green Lakes

23. Skydiving in Rotorua

Experience the ultimate adrenaline rush with a tandem skydive over Rotorua. Enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the city, lakes, and geothermal landscapes.

For top adrenaline seekers this should be one of the best things do in Rotorua, a highly popular and therefore demanded activity!

  • Location: Departs from Rotorua Airport.
  • Insight: Capture your skydiving experience with a personalized video package that includes footage from your perspective, creating a thrilling memento of your daring adventure.
  • Duration: Allow 2 hours to complete the activity from the time of pick up, usually pick is in Taupo.
  • Booking experience: The platform of BookMe is offering different options for this specific activity, price may vary, booking in advance will guarantee you a much better price.


24. Kuirau Park

Stroll through Kuirau Park, Rotorua’s free geothermal park, where boiling mud pools and steaming vents are interspersed with walking paths and gardens.

  • Location: Ranolf Street, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Attend one of the weekly Kuirau Park Markets where local artisans showcase their handmade crafts and delicacies—a perfect opportunity to collect unique souvenirs.
  • Duration: Visitor choice.
  • Booking experience: No need for a booking to visit the park, you can find more information about it here.

Kuirau Park

25. Maori Hangi Feast

Delight your taste buds with a traditional Maori Hangi feast, where food is cooked using heated stones in an earth oven, creating a unique and flavorful dining experience.

  • Location: Various venues in Rotorua.
  • Insight: Join a cooking class to learn how to prepare a traditional Hangi meal, gaining hands-on experience in the art of Maori culinary traditions.
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Booking experience: The Maori Hangi Feast use to come with other activities and it can be booked on Viator.

🥑 Hangi is a traditional Maori dish, we have compiled 8 more Kiwi dishes you can find here: Kiwi Cuisine Adventures: Trying New Zealand’s Most Unique Foods

Maori Hangi Feast

26. Whakapapa Ski Area

In winter, indulge in skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Whakapapa Ski Area on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, an easy day trip from Rotorua.

  • Location: Whakapapa, Mount Ruapehu (day trip from Rotorua).
  • Insight: Take a scenic chairlift ride at Whakapapa Ski Area during the summer months, revealing stunning alpine landscapes without the snow—a hidden gem for those seeking high-altitude views.
  • Duration: 8 hours (all day)
  • Booking experience: For reservations, as most of the cases, can be done through Viator. Check weather conditions before reserving this fantastic activity.

Whakapapa Ski Area

27. Sulphur Point Wildlife Sanctuary

Birdwatchers will appreciate Sulphur Point Wildlife Sanctuary, a habitat for native and migratory bird species. A leisurely walk unveils diverse avian life.

  • Location: Lakefront Drive, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Bring a pair of binoculars to Sulphur Point Wildlife Sanctuary for a closer look at the diverse birdlife, including the graceful royal spoonbills that frequent the area.
  • Booking experience: We recommend to check the DOC website before planning this activity.

Sulphur Point

28. Claybird Shooting

Test your aim with claybird shooting, a popular outdoor activity where participants take turns shooting at flying clay targets. It’s a thrilling experience suitable for all skill levels.

  • Location: Rotorua Clay Target Club, 1335 Paradise Valley Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Participate in a friendly claybird shooting competition with fellow travelers, adding a fun and competitive edge to this outdoor activity.
  • Duration: Depending on the activity you book.
  • Booking experience: Suitable for kids 12 year old and above, find more information about activities and price on their website Adventure Playground Rotorua.

Claybird Shooting

29. Jet Boating on Lake Rotorua

Feel the rush of wind and water with a jet boating adventure on Lake Rotorua. High-speed spins and stunning scenery make for an exhilarating ride.

  • Location: Departs from Memorial Drive, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Opt for a sunset jet boating experience on Lake Rotorua, where the colors of the sky and water merge to create a stunning backdrop for your thrilling adventure.
  • Duration: 30 minutes.
  • Booking experience: As our top recommended sites for booking you can reserve the Jet Boating on Viator and BookMe.

Jet Boating

30. Tikitapu (Blue Lake) Walk

Conclude your Rotorua exploration with a leisurely walk around Tikitapu (Blue Lake), a picturesque lake surrounded by native bush, providing a serene and reflective ending to your journey.

  • Location: Tarawera Road, Rotorua.
  • Insight: Bring a picnic basket to Tikitapu and enjoy lunch on the shores of the Blue Lake. The serene setting and clear waters make it an ideal spot to unwind and reflect on your Rotorua journey.
  • Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Booking experience: Not needed. Refer to the DOC website for additional information about this walk.


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Stay connected for more exciting content. Until then, safe travels, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

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