Rotorua New Zealand
Rotorua, New Zealand is located in the central North Island of New Zealand, roughly between Auckland and Napier, just south of Tauranga and north of Taupo. This is the place to be for geothermal activity and Maori culture in New Zealand! It’s also within an easy drive of Hobbiton and the Waitomo glow worm caves.
Rotorua is great to visit year-round, from a weather perspective. Winters rarely reach freezing temperatures, while summers feel fresh and mild.
You can easily spend a week in Rotorua without boredom, but we recommend at least two full days. That gives you time to spend one day touring the geothermal sites, with another day to venture out and explore on your own, experience Maori culture, or engage in any of the great outdoor adventures in the area.
One of our most recommended activities here is to enjoy a guided tour of Rotorua’s geothermal wonders. The earth’s crust is thin here, and New Zealand is right on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” so there are many parks and spas where you can enjoy natural hot springs, boiling mud, steaming fumaroles in cracks in the ground, vibrant pools with naturally colorful mineral deposits, and even spurting geysers. This whole region is a hotbed of volcanic activity — the town itself even used to get its hot water directly from underground! Today, you can still smell the stink of sulfur from anywhere downtown. If you stay outside town, you’re less likely to smell the sulfur and still have excellent access to all the town offers.
Another great activity in Rotorua is to experience Maori culture. Rotorua offers more to the culturally interested traveler than anywhere else in New Zealand. One of our favorite experiences is to enjoy a traditional Maori feast called a hangi. These are cooked underground in an earth oven and include traditional, delicious dishes that the Maori have enjoyed for centuries. Spend time with a Maori guide, and hear the local legends and creation stories that ground their culture. You can cap off the evening with an authentic, traditional performance of songs and dances like the famous haka!
Pair your stay in Rotorua with a trip to Matamata, the location of the cinema’s famous Hobbiton, or head West for the glow worm caves of Waitomo or South to Taupo to see the Maori Rock Carvings.
More to See and Do in Rotorua, New Zealand
- Go mountain biking in lush forests and valleys
- Cruise Lake Rotorua or Lake Rotoiti
- Try your hand at fly fishing
- Soak in a private hot pool reserved just for you
- Roll down a grassy hill inside a giant, bouncing ball
- Scrub yourself with volcanic mud, or luxuriate with many other spa treatments
- Enjoy a guided hike with an expert who can explain local flora, fauna, and history
- Drive out to the locals’ favorite hot spring and thermal waterfall for a free soak
- Dine on a traditional Maori feast, watch a traditional dance and song performance, and hear epic Maori legends
- Spot the endangered kiwi bird at Rotorua’s wildlife park
- Watch a sheep shearing demonstration since the central North Island is prime farm country
- Go on a Ziplining adventure over the Tree Canopy.
Whether you are from Portland, St Louis, Kelowna, or in-between, this region is well worth a two-day minimum stopover to experience all it offers.
Contact your New Zealand Travel Specialists to learn more.