Rotorua is the heartland of Maori culture in New Zealand and a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the stories of these vibrant people. Maori people comprise more than one third of Rotorua's population and their culture is one of Rotorua's biggest draw cards. They delight in sharing their legends, music and arts with visitors.
Sample indigenous flavours cooked using traditional methods or watch master carvers and weavers at work, telling the stories of the ancestors through their crafts. Explore historic villages and the surrounding region with experienced guides, or participate in traditional singing, dancing and games - Te Puia, Tamaki Tours and Mitai.
Considered by adventurous visitors to be one of New Zealand's top adrenalin destinations, Rotorua is home to a host of thrilling activities, many of them world firsts. Adventure options include white water rafting and sledging, four wheel driving, sky diving from 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 feet, bungy jumping, jet boating and Zorbing.
Daredevils can enjoy a scree slide into a volcanic crater or race their friends down a mountainside on a luge cart. Rotorua is guaranteed to satisfy even the most hard-core adrenalin junkie.
Imagine drifting lazily around a sparkling lake in a boat or kayak, the sun warm on your face and birds chirping merrily in the native bush lining the lakeshore. Here you will find 16 stunning lakes, each offering cruising, swimming, waterskiing, kayaking and fishing experiences. There are also a myriad of walking tracks, playgrounds for the kids, and secluded beaches where visitors can soak in natural hot water pools.
Camping sites are dotted around the lakes, as are barbecues for public use. It's an easy 20-minute drive from Rotorua's city centre to the lakes and there's plenty of room for everyone.
Family Fun Activities
Walk among towering Redwoods or venture deeper into the Whakarewarewa Forest on a gentle mountain bike ride. Relax on a sandy beach while the kids splash around in a sparkling lake. Rotorua has 16 stunning lakes that lend themselves to water fun galore. The kids will love the chance to muck around in thermal mud while you enjoy a unique massage treatment.
Milk a cow or bottle-feed a lamb and watch a sheep shearing demonstration. Ride the gondolas up a small mountain, and then take an exhilarating luge ride back down. Visit a working kiwi hatchery, or see wild animals and birds in a native bush setting. The possibilities for family fun are endless.
Rotorua is a well-known mountain bike heaven. Just minutes from the city centre is a spectacular forest playground home to an extensive network of tracks. Towering Redwoods line the road leading to the Whakarewarewa Forest, guarding trails that weave through native and exotic trees. Riders can catch glimpses of Rotorua's beautiful lakes, geothermal activity and brooding Mt Tarawera through the trees. Enthusiasts can easily fill an hour, a day, a weekend or longer with gentle or action-packed adventure. Entry to the forest is free.
Scenic vistas are everywhere in Rotorua, making it a fantastic place in which to experience nature at its best.
Attractions Near Rotorua
Other attractions just a short distance from Rotorua include:
- Waitomo Caves and Blackwater Rafting - approx 2 hour drive.
- Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours - approx 1 hour drive.
- White Island Tours - approx 2 hour drive or by Floatplane or Helicopter from Lakefront in Rotorua - approx 15 minute drive.
- Tongario National Park - approx 2 hour drive - largest Ski resort in New Zealand during winter months and the best 1 day walk in New Zealand during summer months.
- Surf Beaches - approx 1 hour drive.
- Taupo - Huka Falls, Huka Jet, Prawn Park - approx 1 hour drive.
Chris and Dave possess a wealth of knowledge about activities in the Rotorua district and would be more than happy to help you plan your days and make any bookings for you.