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If you’re yearning for a destination that defies the ordinary, Rotorua is, hands down, the place to be. This isn’t just another ‘been there, done that’ destination to tick off your travel list; it’s a living, breathing geothermal wonderland that invites you to step into another world.
Imagine steam rising from the ground as you walk, the earth’s crust grumbling beneath your feet, and the air filled with the scent of sulphur, reminding you of the planet’s potent forces. These are not fantasies; they’re among the most unique things to do in Rotorua.
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In this guide, we’re going to explore the top family-friendly attractions and must-dos in Rotorua, as well as free things to do that will captivate both kids and adults. From the ethereal beauty of its geothermal pools to a local park that offers a sneak peek into Rotorua’s natural marvels.
So, if you’re ready to venture beyond the usual tourist traps and truly immerse yourself in nature’s wonders, you’ve come to the right place. Read on as we unveil the top things to do in Rotorua that promise an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Let’s dive in!
What is Rotorua known for?
Rotorua is famous for its geothermal wonders, including awe-inspiring geothermal parks, simmering mud pools, and natural hot springs.
Often referred to as the “Sulphur City,” Rotorua is also a hub for Maori culture, offering a rich tapestry of history and tradition.
From Lake Rotorua to the Skyline adventures, read on as we guide you through the best attractions in Rotorua.
How long should I stay in Rotorua?
We suggest staying at least 3 nights to experience Rotorua’s key attractions.
But if it’s your first time here or you’re travelling with young children, we would recommend extending your stay to 4-5 nights.
Let’s dive into the top family-friendly things to do in Rotorua.
2 Must-Dos in Rotorua
1. Skyline Rotorua
Skyline Rotorua serves as the perfect introduction to all the exhilarating things to do in Rotorua.
Situated on the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha, this must-do activity offers a panoramic gondola ride that ascends through a lush forest canopy, providing breathtaking views of Rotorua and the city below, yes, even on cloudy days.
It’s a wonderful experience that encapsulates the essence of what Rotorua has to offer.
But the real thrill begins at the summit. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply looking for family-friendly fun, Skyline Rotorua has something for everyone.
The Skyline Luge is a crowd-pleaser, with its winding tracks that let you zoom downhill at your own pace. If you’re interested in Skyline Luge, be sure to purchase a combo pass to get the most bang for your buck.
- Gondola & 4 luge rides »
- Gondola & 5 luge rides »
- Half Day Adventure Pass (Gondola, Luge, Skyswing, Zipline) »
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If your little ones aren’t quite ready for the luge, you’ll find just as much enjoyment in watching the luge riders shriek their way downhill. For the more daring, there’s the Zoom Zipline and Skyswing, activities that are sure to leave you breathless.
If you’re after a more leisurely experience, the Stratosfare Restaurant offers a sumptuous buffet with a view to match. Imagine dining with the whole family as the sun sets over the lake, casting its golden glow on the water.
This tranquil setting perfectly complements the adrenaline-fueled activities available at Skyline Rotorua. Whether you opt for Skywing, ziplining, mountain biking, stargazing, or night luging, this destination deserves a top spot on our list of things to do in Rotorua’s travel landscape.
2. Maori Village Cultural Tours
Rotorua stands as the ultimate destination for anyone keen to explore Maori culture in depth. With its rich indigenous history and captivating traditions, Rotorua tops the list of things to do in New Zealand for cultural experiences. Here, you’ll find a variety of unique activities and tours that are not only educational but also fascinating.
Combine Geothermal Wonders & Indigenous Culture: One of the most rewarding things to do in Rotorua is to explore its geothermal landscapes while learning about the Maori’s deep connection with nature. This full-day eco tour blends the awe of natural thermal pools with the richness of Maori traditions, offering a well-rounded view of Rotorua’s unique environment.
Traditional Food & Performances: If you’re interested in trying the most authentic Maori cuisine, an evening in Rotorua can be quite special. Enjoy a 3-course seasonal fusion feast prepared using traditional Hangi cooking methods, and be entertained by performances that bring Maori folklore to life through music and dance.
The Living Maori Village: Visiting Rotorua’s iconic living Maori village provides a hands-on way to understand traditional crafts, housing, and daily life. It’s also an opportunity to witness the power of nature, as many of these villages are located near active geothermal features.
An Evening of Myths and Legends: For a truly unique experience, spend an evening immersed in Maori myths and legends. Witness the spectacle of a traditional war canoe on water, and enjoy a meal cooked using the earth’s natural geothermal heat.
Rotorua stands alone as a travel destination offering unparalleled access to Maori culture. From the natural wonders that have shaped Maori traditions to the captivating performances and authentic cuisine, it’s an experience that’s in a league of its own, making Rotorua an essential destination on any New Zealand itinerary.
Top 7 Places To See Geothermal Wonders in Rotorua
3. Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park
If you only have time to explore just one geothermal park in Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park should top your list.
This expansive park is one of the most iconic geothermal attractions in Rotorua and it’s a showcase of the region’s volcanic activity, featuring everything from bubbling mud pools to vibrant mineral lakes.
Champagne Pool is the most famous pool in Wai-O-Tapu Wonderland. It’s a hot spring with a surface temperature of around 74°C, known for its striking orange rim and surreal colours.
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Lady Knox Geyser puts on a daily show in the mornings, sending water and steam soaring up to 20 metres. It’s a must-see event, so be sure to align your visit with the geyser’s schedule.
Devil’s Bath is another highlight of Wai-O-Tapu, offering a visual spectacle that defies belief. The water in this geothermal pool displays an almost neon green hue, thanks to the sulphur and ferrous salts interacting beneath the surface. This natural phenomenon provides an unforgettable backdrop for photos.
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Signs: And if you’re keen to learn more about the geology that makes this all possible, you’ll find educational signs conveniently located around the park.
Private Tours: For those who want a more personalised experience, there’s an option to explore this geothermal marvel on a private tour. This allows you to take in the park’s wonders at your own pace, with the added benefit of a knowledgeable guide to enrich your visit.
Wai-O-Tapu is one of the most popular attractions in Rotorua, so shop around for discounted tickets. We purchased our entry tickets at the Rotorua i-Site Visitor Centre, which at the time offered a discount.
And if you’re on a road trip from Auckland, consider combining the top attractions like Wai-O-Tapu and Hobbiton Movie Set together with transport to make the most of your Rotorua visit.
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4. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
In contrast to Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu offers a more exploratory experience. It’s essentially a self-guided hike through the volcanic valley, where you can wander at your own pace. Armed with a map, we followed the trail to each numbered site, pausing to read the informative descriptions of the geological formations. This educational aspect made the hike not just a visual feast but also a learning journey, deepening our understanding of this unique landscape.
The Inferno Crater: This mesmerising natural wonder is one of the most photographed spots in Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Its striking blue colour is so vivid that it almost seems surreal.
The purity of the hue is so intense that it has led many to regard the crater as a sacred place. The crater itself is a dynamic feature, with water levels that rise and fall in a mysterious, rhythmic cycle. This makes each visit to the Inferno Crater a unique experience, as the view changes depending on the water level at that particular time.
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Don’t pay full price: Our family had long wanted to visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and we were able to check this off our bucket list when we found this incredible deal that cut the original price in half.
This turned out to be one of the most unique experiences our kids have had in Rotorua, offering them a close-up view of geothermal wonders.
Combine Wai-O-Tapu & Waimangu: For those keen on making the most of their time and budget, this half-day eco tour brings together the highlights of both Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu. It’s an excellent choice for families looking to give their children a memorable and educational experience in the most efficient way possible.
Boat Cruise on Lake Rotomahana: For an even more enriching experience at Waimangu, choose the full experience walk & boat cruise package. From the water, the valley reveals itself in a new light, and you’ll even witness small geysers along the shoreline. This cruise was a highlight for our family, offering a unique vantage point to appreciate the valley’s geothermal features.
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There are also options to kayak on Lake Rotomahana if you have older children. We’ll get to this option shortly.
So, whether you’re walking the trails or cruising on the lake, Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers an unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most extraordinary geothermal landscapes.
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5. Te Puia Geyser & Geothermal Valley
Te Puia Geothermal Valley is another popular choice among the geothermal attractions in Rotorua.
Te Puia Geyser: Home to the famous Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to 30 metres high, this site is a natural spectacle that’s hard to miss. The valley also features bubbling mud pools and steam vents, offering a comprehensive look at the area’s geothermal activity.
Guided Tours: For those who want to make the most of their visit, join a tour that offers a guided experience around the valley. This is an excellent way to get a deeper understanding of both the geothermal features and the Maori traditions.
Combining Transport & Tours: If you’re travelling from Auckland, a smart way to make the most of your time and stretch your budget is, again, by joining tours that offer transportation and top attractions like Te Puia and other must-dos in Rotorua.
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6. Hells Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Bath Spa
Hells Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Bath Spa offers a unique blend of natural wonders and relaxation, making it a standout among the things to do in Rotorua. The park itself is a geothermal marvel, featuring steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud pools, and even a hot waterfall. It’s an educational and awe-inspiring experience, perfect for families interested in learning about the Earth’s natural processes.
Minimum Age: You’ll be glad to know, Hells Gate & Mud Bath Spa is a family-friendly experience that caters to all ages. For the little ones, the minimum age for enjoying the mud baths is just 2.5 years, while the Sulphur Spa welcomes babies as young as 6 months. Of course, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, ensuring a safe and enjoyable visit for everyone.
Mud Baths: One of the highlights for children is undoubtedly the Mud Baths. Known for its healing properties, the mud provides a fun and rejuvenating experience that kids of all ages will love. For a more laid-back experience, the Sulphur Spa offers warm, sulfurous water that’s not only relaxing but also beneficial for the skin.
The Wai Ora Walkway is a 20-minute loop walk through the geothermal park, where you can witness awe-inspiring features like the Boiling Pot and the Devil’s Home. It’s an educational jaunt that adds a layer of wonder to your visit.
Wai Ora Maori Cultural Experience: For families interested in Maori culture, the Wai Ora Maori Cultural Experience is a must. This enriching activity includes a traditional hangi meal and a cultural performance, offering a well-rounded understanding of the area’s history and traditions.
Therapeutic Benefits: Hells Gate’s mud bath is renowned for skin rejuvenation and alleviating arthritis symptoms. When combined with the natural geothermal heat, it’s an experience that does wonders for both body and soul.
So, when you’re looking for the must-dos in Rotorua, Hells Gate offers a unique blend of natural wonders, relaxation, and cultural enrichment, making it one of the most unique things to do in Rotorua with or without kids.
7. Polynesian Spa
The Polynesian Spa in Rotorua is a wellness oasis that offers a unique blend of relaxation and natural wonder.
Nestled amidst Rotorua’s stunning geothermal landscape, the spa features 28 mineral-rich pools, each offering its own set of wellness benefits. The pools are sourced from two unique springs: the acidic Priest Spring and the alkaline Rachel Spring. Each offers its own set of wellness benefits to meet your needs.
Family-friendly: Families are more than welcome here, with a dedicated children’s pool that’s supervised by lifeguards. It’s a safe and fun way for the younger members of the family to experience the joys of a geothermal soak.
For 12+: Certain pools and experiences at the Polynesian Spa are only suitable for children aged 12 and over. If you’re travelling with children, please check the specific age requirements for each activity.
Therapies: If you’re in the mood for something extra, the spa offers a range of therapies, from soothing massages to rejuvenating facials. These therapies come with a complimentary soak in the Deluxe Lake Spa, making it a truly holistic wellness experience.
Centrally located in Rotorua, the spa is easily accessible for those staying in the city or nearby regions. So, as you plan your Rotorua adventure, make sure to carve out some time for the Polynesian Spa.
8. Hamurana Springs
If you’re in search of tranquillity, Hamurana Springs offers a serene escape that’s perfect for a leisurely self-guided walk. This natural oasis is home to crystal-clear waters and lush surroundings, providing a peaceful backdrop for a bit of soul-soothing.
The walk is accessible and well-marked, making it ideal for visitors of all ages. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s natural beauty while enjoying some quality time with loved ones.
9. Mt Tarawera
For adventure seekers and mountain conquerors, Mt Tarawera offers an unparalleled experience. This dormant volcano, famous for its 1886 eruption, now serves as a destination for those keen to explore its rugged landscape.
For a day of wonder, take a family-friendly helicopter ride to Mt. Tarawera, where you can land and enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding lakes and hills.
But if you’re looking for something even more thrilling, this thermal explorer floatplane tour not only takes you above Mt Tarawera and Wimangu but also includes a landing to get a closer look at the geothermal wonders of Orakei Korako.
2 Unique & Free Things To Do in Rotorua
10. Hot And Cold: Free Geothermal Pool
For those on the hunt for a free geothermal experience, Hot and Cold offers a casual mud bath spa that’s a hidden gem you won’t want to miss.
Conveniently located on the way back from Wai-O-Tapu, this all-natural geothermal pool invites you to soak and relax to your heart’s content. Just remember to pack your swimwear and towels, and feel free to apply some of the natural mud to your face for a rejuvenating experience.
Don’t neglect the warning signs about amoebic meningitis and avoid submerging your head underwater.
11. Kuirau Park: Free Foot Spa
As we were heading to Wai-O-Tapu, we discovered Kuirau Park. With steam rising from the ground, we knew we had to return for a closer look, and it turned out to be a surprise find.
Pronounced as [k’way-lo], this park is nestled around a stunning crater lake and comes complete with a playground and BBQ facilities—ideal for a family day out.
Don’t overlook the fenced-off mud pools and the foot baths situated at the back of the lake. It’s a free attraction that offers a bit of relaxation and fun for everyone. For those keen on capturing the moment, the Ranolf St. side of the park provides additional mud pools and ample photo opportunities.
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If you’re new to Rotorua and eager to get a taste of its geothermal wonders without spending a penny, Kuirau Park is an excellent starting point. Our family vlog at Kuirau Park here.
This was another lucky find, thanks to its proximity to the hotel where we were staying. You can read our review of this budget-friendly hotel by the lake here.
Top 5 Things To Do on Rotorua Lakes
12. Lake Rotomahana
If you recall, this lake offers a unique perspective of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley Tour when you opt for the walk & boat cruise combo. It’s a different way to experience the geothermal wonders, and it’s a hit with families.
Now, if you’re keen to get a bit more hands-on, kayaking on Lake Rotomahana is quite a geothermal adventure. Paddle your way through steaming waters and get up close to geothermal springs. It’s a surreal experience, almost like kayaking on another planet. This guided kayak tour around the shores of Lake Rotomahana is a fantastic way to combine physical activity with natural beauty, making it one of the kayaking experiences for adventurous families with slightly older children.
13. Lake Rotoiti
With so many lakes to choose from, Lake Rotoiti is yet another gem in Rotorua’s crown of natural wonders. This lake offers a plethora of activities that can make your visit to Rotorua truly unforgettable.
Firstly, if you enjoyed the boat cruise at Lake Rotomahana, you’ll absolutely love the 3-hour cruise and hot pools experience on Lake Rotoiti. This cruise takes you to secluded hot pools only accessible by boat, offering a unique blend of relaxation and adventure.
For adrenaline junkies, Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom across the lake in a jet boat, and unwind in the hot pools. It’s the perfect balance of thrill and chill. Learn more about this package here.
And for kayak lovers, join a scenic kayak tour and paddle your way through serene waters to discover hidden gems that make Lake Rotoiti a magical place. Depending on your schedule, you can choose from a daytime kayak tour or a sunset kayak tour that takes you to the hot pools and glowworm caves.
For a truly magical experience, kayaking under a starlit sky and then enjoying a gourmet meal is sure to be an unforgettable way to experience Lake Rotoiti.
14. Lake Tarawera
If you’ve been captivated by the geothermal wonders and water adventures in Rotorua, then Lake Tarawera offers a change of pace. This stunning lake is the perfect backdrop for a peaceful walk along its shores, with the majestic Mt Tarawera looming in the distance. It’s a setting that invites you to take a deep breath and soak in the natural beauty around you.
For those who’d like to explore the lake and its surroundings a bit more, sightsee Lake Tarawera aboard a WWII amphibious vehicle is a fun and informative way to discover the lake’s history and natural wonders.
15. Blue Lake Track (Lake Tikitapu)
Imagine a walk where every step brings you closer to nature’s finest hues – azure waters, emerald foliage, and the sky’s ever-changing canvas. This is the Blue Lake Track, or as locals call it, Lake Tikitapu.
The track is a manageable 5.5 km loop, perfect for a family outing. It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, but don’t rush. Time seems to slow down here, allowing you to fully absorb the tranquil atmosphere. The path is well-maintained, making it accessible for all ages and fitness levels.
As you meander around the lake, you’ll find yourself enveloped by a lush tapestry of native bush. It’s an open invitation for birdwatchers, photographers, or anyone who appreciates the serenity of the outdoors. And let’s not forget the lake itself – a mesmerising shade of blue that seems almost surreal. Photos, please!
16. The Best of Rotorua Lakes in One Tour
For those who want to experience the best of Rotorua’s lakes without the hassle of planning multiple outings, consider taking a Rotorua Lakes morning tour. This all-encompassing excursion takes you to several stunning lakes in the region, offering a curated experience that showcases the natural beauty of Rotorua.
It’s a fantastic way to make the most of your time in Rotorua and explore the area’s aquatic gems, all wrapped up in one memorable morning.
8 Things To Do in Rotorua That Your Kids Will Love
17. Zorb Ball
Zorb Ball in Rotorua offers a thrilling, gravity-defying experience that’s sure to leave your kids giggling with joy. It’s a unique and exhilarating activity that allows you to tumble down a hillside in a transparent orb, either with water for a “wet ride” or without for a “dry ride.” It’s a safe and controlled environment, making it perfect for families. So, if you’re looking for an exciting activity to add to your list of things to do in Rotorua, Zorb Ball is a must-try. It’s a rolling good time!
18. Duck Boat City & Lakes Tour
For a family-friendly outing that combines sightseeing with a dash of history, the Duck Boat City & Lakes Tour is a top pick. This tour takes you around Rotorua’s key attractions in an amphibious WWII vehicle, offering both land and lake experiences.
You’ll get to see the city’s landmarks and then seamlessly transition to a lake cruise, all in the same vehicle. A guide will be on hand to share interesting facts about Rotorua’s history, making it an educational yet entertaining experience for the whole family. If you’re looking to explore Rotorua in a unique way, this City & Lakes tour is a must-add to your itinerary.
19. Rail Cruising
For a leisurely yet fascinating journey through the heart of Rotorua’s scenic landscape, Rail Cruising is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Imagine sitting in your own self-drive railway vehicle, gliding along historic tracks while taking in the lush forests and picturesque farmlands. It’s a unique way to explore the area, offering a blend of history, technology, and natural beauty.
The rail carts are comfortable and easy to operate, making it a family-friendly outing that appeals to all ages. Plus, the journey is punctuated by informative audio commentary, enriching your understanding of this captivating region.
So, if you’re keen to see Rotorua from a different angle, Rail Cruising is a great addition to your itinerary of the must-dos in Rotorua. It’s a journey that combines relaxation with discovery, making it a hit for the whole family.
20. 3D Trick Art Gallery
The 3D Trick Art Gallery is an interactive experience that lets you and your family step right into the art. It’s a fun way to engage with art, making it one of the best family-friendly things to do in Rotorua.
The gallery features a range of hand-painted 3D artworks that are designed to trick the eye and create optical illusions. From floating in a hot air balloon to fending off a ferocious dinosaur, the scenarios are as diverse as they are engaging.
What sets this gallery apart is its emphasis on visitor participation. You’re encouraged to touch, pose with, and even walk into the artwork to become part of the scene.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for some memorable family photos, so make sure to bring your camera along.
Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply looking for a unique experience, the 3D Trick Art Gallery offers a blend of creativity and family fun. It’s no wonder it’s considered one of the must-dos in Rotorua for families.
21. Buried Village Archaeological Site & Museum
For families with a keen interest in history, the Buried Village Archaeological Site and Museum is a compelling addition to your list of things to do in Rotorua.
The museum itself is well-curated, featuring a range of exhibits that tell the story of the village, its inhabitants, and the fateful day that changed everything.
Interactive displays make the experience engaging for children, while the lush gardens surrounding the museum offer a peaceful setting for reflection.
If you don’t mind an early start, you can save a few dollars on admission here.
For families who love a good puzzle, aMAZEme is a must-visit attraction in Rotorua. This labyrinthine garden maze keeps both kids and adults on their toes as they navigate through its intricate pathways.
The venue also features an animal petting area where your little ones can get up close and personal with adorable farm animals. Flutter into the butterfly house to marvel at these colourful creatures, or let the kids burn off some energy in the well-equipped playground.
With so much to see and do, aMAZEme offers a full day of family-friendly activities and stands as one of the top things to do in Rotorua.
23. Wonderworld 3D Maze Rotorua
Wonderworld 3D Maze is an immersive experience that takes you on a scavenger hunt through a maze that’s unlike any other. With 3D elements that add an extra layer of challenge, you’ll need to put on your thinking cap as you navigate through the twists and turns.
It’s a fantastic way to engage the whole family, making it a must-try among the many attractions in Rotorua. Whether you’re a seasoned maze-runner or a first-timer, this experience promises a good time for all. You can learn more about Wonderworld 3D Maze here.
24. Velocity Valley Adrenaline Park
For families with a thirst for thrills, Velocity Valley Adrenaline Park is a must-visit. With a Flexi Pass, you can choose from a variety of adrenaline-pumping activities that cater to all levels of daredevils. From skydiving simulators to jet boating, there’s something for everyone.
And if you’re travelling as a family, there are special family ride packages that make it easier to get your adrenaline fix without breaking the bank. It’s one of those must-dos in Rotorua that offers a blend of excitement and value, ensuring that your family’s adventure quota is more than met.
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7 Animal Encounters in Rotorua
25. Agrodome Farm
If you’re looking to get up close and personal with New Zealand’s farm animals, then the Agrodome Farm is one of the must-dos in Rotorua for families.
This interactive farm experience allows you and your little ones to feed and pet a variety of animals, from sheep to alpacas. It’s not just a petting zoo; it’s an educational journey into the world of farming, complete with sheep shearing demonstrations and a tractor tour of the orchard.
For parents seeking attractions in Rotorua that are both fun and educational, the Agrodome Farm ticks all the boxes. It’s a hands-on experience that will leave your family with a newfound appreciation for farm life, making it a standout among the things to do in Rotorua.
26. National Kiwi Hatchery
For families keen on wildlife conservation, a visit to the National Kiwi Hatchery is among the top attractions in Rotorua. Here, you’ll have the rare opportunity to learn about New Zealand’s national bird, the Kiwi, in a setting focused on its preservation.
The hatchery plays a vital role in increasing the Kiwi population, and during your visit, you’ll gain insights into the incubation process, the hatching, and the first days of a Kiwi chick’s life. It’s a heartwarming and educational experience that both adults and children will find enriching.
If you’re compiling a list of top things to do in Rotorua that’s unique to New Zealand, the National Kiwi Hatchery deserves a spot. It’s not just an attraction; it’s a lesson in conservation that will resonate with the whole family.
27. Rotorua Heritage Farm
If you’re looking to give your family a taste of rural New Zealand life, then a trip to Rotorua Heritage Farm should be on your list of things to do in Rotorua.
This working farm offers an authentic experience where you can get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals. There are also a number of activities available at the farm, such as tractor rides, sheep shearing demonstrations, and pony rides.
It’s a fantastic way to spend a morning or afternoon, offering a break from the more adrenaline-fueled attractions in Rotorua. So, if you’re keen to diversify your itinerary with a bit of agritourism, Rotorua Heritage Farm is a must-visit.
28. Rotorua City Farm
Rotorua City Farm offers a community-focused experience that’s both educational and fun. With a diverse range of animals from sheep and cows to pigs and chickens, this farm is a bustling hub of rural life.
This farm also features various gardens that educate visitors on eco-friendly gardening techniques. For those looking to dive deeper, the farm provides an array of activities like cooking classes, farm tours and gardening workshops. It’s a fantastic spot for families and ranks high on the list of things to do in Rotorua.
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29. Guided Horse Trekking
For those who fancy a bit of adventure blended with natural beauty, guided horse trekking is a must-try activity in Rotorua.
Imagine riding through scenic landscapes, feeling the fresh air and experiencing the tranquillity of nature, all from the back of a horse. It’s an activity that appeals to both beginners and experienced riders, offering a unique way to explore the area’s stunning vistas.
30. Mini Golf with Rabbits
If you’re an animal lover and looking for activities in Rotorua that are both unique and family-friendly, then you can’t miss the opportunity to play mini-golf at Mini Golf Rotorua.
We stumbled upon this hidden gem and were instantly intrigued by the idea of playing putt-putt golf alongside adorable, fluffy rabbits. And if you’re competitive, you’ll be pleased to know they offer rewards for top scorers, so bring your A-game!
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The bunnies are so accustomed to human interaction that you can get incredibly close to them. While waiting for your turn on the 18-hole course, you can even pat and feed these friendly furballs. It adds a whole new layer of fun and excitement to the game.
We were lucky enough to snag this amazing online deal at half the price. So, when you’re looking for things to do in Rotorua that offer a unique twist on a classic activity, this rabbit-filled mini-golf course should be high on your list.
If you’re interested, here’s our family vlog at Mini Golf Rotorua.
31. Bird Watching
For those who have an appreciation for birds, this guided bird-watching tour takes you through some of Rotorua’s most scenic landscapes, offering the chance to spot native birds in their natural habitat.
There are many places for bird-watching in the Bay of Plenty. If you’re on an extended vacation and also plan to visit other hot destinations in the region such as Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and Taupo, be sure to load up your bucket list with our comprehensive guides!
2 Outdoor Activities To Do in Rotorua
32. Redwoods Treewalk
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to walk among the treetops, the Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua is your chance to find out. Suspended high above the forest floor, this eco-friendly attraction offers a unique perspective on one of New Zealand’s most stunning natural environments.
The treewalk consists of 28 suspension bridges connecting 27 majestic Redwood trees. You’re literally walking through a network of giants, some of which are over 115 years old! It’s an awe-inspiring experience that both kids and adults will find exhilarating.
The entire walk is about 700 metres long and takes approximately 40 minutes to complete, though you’re welcome to go at your own pace. And if you’re flexible with time, you can often find great deals for the Redwoods Treewalk here.
If you’re travelling with family, the bridges are securely built and well-maintained, ensuring a safe adventure for the whole family. There’s also an option to navigate aerial obstacles together, making for a memorable family outing.
But the experience doesn’t end when the sun goes down. The forest transforms into a magical wonderland with the Redwoods Nightlights, an award-winning lighting installation that illuminates the trees and bridges, creating an ethereal experience you won’t soon forget.
33. Ziplining Forest Adventure
If you’re looking to elevate your family’s adventure in Rotorua, ziplining through the forest canopy is an exhilarating option. Glide through the treetops and experience the natural beauty of Rotorua from a bird’s-eye view.
With multiple ziplining adventures available, you can choose the one that best suits your family’s thrill-seeking level. For those who want to combine the thrill of ziplining with the beauty of Okere Falls, there’s an option for that too. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the area while adding a dash of excitement to your list of things to do in Rotorua.
34. Hobbiton Movie Set
We’ll end this comprehensive compilation of the top things to do in Rotorua with a place that’s high on everyone’s list – Hobbiton.
This iconic movie set tour is not just a pilgrimage site for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” fans; it’s a captivating experience for anyone intrigued by its unique architecture and idyllic landscapes. The cute Hobbit holes and the inviting Green Dragon Inn make you feel as if you’ve stepped into Frodo’s life altogether.
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For those who are interested in a full review of The Hobbiton Movie Set tour, there will be a separate post on that.
And if you’re travelling from Auckland, there are Hobbiton tours that turn the commute into an adventure, which also include other key attractions in the Bay of Plenty, like the Waitomo Caves and Geothermal Tours.
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There you have it – the most comprehensive family guide to Rotorua. From adrenaline-pumping adventures to serene nature walks, we’ve covered the full spectrum of must-dos in Rotorua. We hope this guide serves as your trusty companion in planning a trip that’s both exciting and enriching for the whole family.
Thank you for joining us on this journey through Rotorua’s best attractions. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
Safe travels and hope to see you in another chapter!
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