Rotorua is New Zealand in abundance. The city celebrates a healthy balance of fun and leisure, while at the same time maintaining amazing natural wonders and captivating Māori culture. Located on the north island of New Zealand, Rotorua sits just under three hours from Auckland. The city has so many interesting and fun things to do that once you get there, you won’t want to leave. Here are eight fun things to do in Rotorua that you won’t want to miss!
1. Skyline Rotorua Luge & Gondola
Skyline Rotorua Gondola is just one of many fun things to do in Rotorua. Inside you’ll have spectacular views of Rotorua in Skyline’s Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant is highly recognised for their delicious New Zealand cuisine and there is also the Market Kitchen, with so many options to choose from for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. You won’t know where to start!
But! Not just that! No visit would be complete without a ride down one, or all of Skyline’s luge tracks. There are three different tracks to choose from with over 5kms of track to ride and riders have complete control over their three-wheeled, gravity-based luge carts.
2. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu is one of many amazing thermal parks around Rotorua. The park has a massive variety of geothermal pools, that have been sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity.
The thing is, Rotorua thermal activity is amazing where ever you go! And the truth is, it’s actually hard to avoid, as the whole city has the unique smell of thermal, something you likely have never smelt before. You’ll know what I mean when you get here!
3. Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village
Speaking of thermal, Rotorua’s very own living Māori village is located in a landscape of erupting geothermal activity. Whakarewarewa is certainly a unique way to do some Rotorua sightseeing. The village offers visitors a guided tour to discover and learn about the Māori culture and visitors are able to meet local artists, as well as sit and relax and witness Māori cultural performances.
The village embraces not just New Zealand history but Rotorua history as well. With the village containing a part of New Zealand culture that has withstood the test of time.
This one is made for adrenaline junkies! The world’s first ever commercial jet sprint is a two-passenger speedboat that sprints around a custom-built course going 100km an hour. The best thing about it is you’re probably not even going to get wet! It just goes so fast the water is behind you. Like a Ferrari on water, the Agrojet is New Zealand’s fastest jet sprint.
For those who would prefer chill. The Agrodome is for you. Located ten minutes outside of town, the Agrodome is one of many things to do near Rotorua. Here, you’ll go on a guided tour to meet and hand feed loads of friendly farm animals. Sheep, cows, deer, alpaca, pigs. They are all there! And their offspring as well on the Farmyard Nursery!
6. The Rotorua Night Market
Every Thursday night Tutanekai Street located in central Rotorua goes off! It’s a place where you can stuff your face with delicious food and have a fun night out in town! There’s even a whole evening of live entertainment on offer. Making the night market one of many free and fun things to do in Rotorua.
7. Kuirau Park
On the topic of free and fun things to do in Rotorua, located right next to the city centre is perhaps Rotorua’s most fascinating natural area. The park is basically smack-bang in the middle of the city and is alive and well with steaming, hissing and bubbling geothermal activities.
As I mentioned before, Rotorua thermal is all around the place! And yes, there are of course areas to dip your feet in thermal pools to feel the real Rotorua temperature. Just be careful, some of the pools are extremely hot!
8. Waitomo Caves & Hobbiton Day Trip
Local tour guides in the Rotorua area offer special deals for visitors to visit both the Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton on the same day. They’ll drive you out there, all you have to do in show up and enjoy!
It’s a few hours drive out of Rotorua to get to the Waitomo Caves, but the caves themselves are such an amazing experience. You can discover dreamlike glow-worms as you float in darkness through the caves and check out New Zealand’s most inspiring natural limestone formations.
On your way back to Rotorua, you will also have to find yourself at the Hobbiton. You don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to enjoy this destination either! Some of the sights you’ll see are truly amazing. And there’s even a pub to enjoy a pint as well.
Rotorua has so many fun things to do, it’s impossible to fit it all on one list. If you are road tripping through the north island of New Zealand check out this 14-day road trip itinerary.
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