Rotorua attractions

Welcome to the New Zealand’s thermal wonderland! This very first statement states that a majority of the Rotorua attractions are big geysers and hot springs that have always amazed not only the tourists, but also the scientists since a century. Sitting on the Lake Rotorua shores and over a geothermal hot spot, this city is surrounded by many more lakes that have facilitated water activities like boating. So, do not stick to the opinion that the Rotorua attractions are only geothermal!

So, you can expect several natural vents, steam eruption sites, and hot pools in and around the city along with private geothermal bores for water heating and bathing. Geologically, the city is situated in the mid of the active Taupo Volcanic Zone – the largest volcano. So, you also get a chance to see four major volcanic calderas that have today become the home of the lakes.

Start your day from the Tourist Information Centre on the Fenton Street to know about the risky places and most visited sights. Then, explore one of the must see Rotorua attractions – Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland for some fee (changing) as a one-day excursion. This is a thrilling park where a myriad of geothermal landscapes reside along with active volcano activities. Here, the main attraction is the big Lady Knox Geyser that daily erupts to the heights of 10 to 20 m. One more similar attraction is Te Puia featuring the geothermal Whakarewarewa Valley, geysers, and bubbling mud pools. With the entry of $40, you can easily take a free guided tour of the park to explore these geothermal sites, the Kiwi house, and the marae. For some more fees, you can even explore the Maori cultural dances and enjoy its traditional meals.

Rainbow Springs Nature Park is worth a watch due to its wonderfully landscaped terrain, sculptured ponds of cuy fish, Kiwi birds, more New Zealand animals, and cool gardens. The admission fee here is $29 per person including $2 for the Kiwi tour. On the same lines is the Agrodome on the State Highway as an agricultural park. This is where you can spot the farm animals, exhibitions, and shows reflecting the country’s rural life from past to present. Outstanding are the farm tour and sheep shows here. And yes, also challenge your adventurous skills via its Freefall Experience simulator that is the highest bungee jump in the north, the Zorb where you get trapped in a hot-air ball pushed down a steep hill, and a jet boat ride.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley, just born in 1886 due to the giant eruption of Mt Tarawera, is really striking to explore as the novel geothermal eco-system in the world. This is the most exciting family destination – self guided walks, boat cruises from 45 minutes to 4 hours, challenging hikes, tranquil New Zealand bush, unique ecology, striking geothermal features, and rare botany. This is one of the dramatic Rotorua attractions and is easily accessible from the city in 20 minutes.

At some 20 km from the city, do not miss to explore the Okere Falls as well as Lake Rotoiti that holds the waters of the 14 lakes and ends at the Bay of Plenty that is nestled 1000 feet down. That is why, it is the home of the most dramatic white water challenges – what sledging, dual kayaks, and rafting. Also, marvel at the Tuteas Fall – the highest rafted fall on the planet with 7m plunge on every fourth boat flips. Do not want to get wet? Well, still you can have fun via its lovely 6 km walk via the forest along which you can watch the activities closely. And yes, do spot a few tiny caves of glow worms. Lastly, do not miss the fun of Skyline Skyrides on the Fairy Springs Road just outside the town. This ride of gondola takes you above the Mt. Ngongotaha from where you can enjoy a panoramic vista of the city as well as the flanking mountains. Here, you can also have a buffet to save the gondola ride cost. The cost is NZ $40 per adult.

While here, do not miss the traditional Maori cooking, the Hangi. Restaurants can be found at the lower end of Tutanakei Street. But reach here early as the menu becomes over soon.


  • Kiwi paka Backpackers Rotorua hostel
  • All Seasons Holiday Park

Best Time to Visit

December to April – summer.

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  1. Gail says:

    This is an excellent article on what to do when holidaying in Rotorua.Another good family activity is the Agrodome Farm Show which is both informative but very entertaining. Then there are the many adrenaline rush activities at the same site including the zorb….a New Zealand invention.

    For a free thermal experience a wander around Kuriau Park is worthwhile. The beauty of Rotorua is you get the thermal activity, Maori culture, animal parks and fun parks, as well as lake swimming and kayaking etc all in one place.

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