Named for Lake Rotorua, Rotorua is a spectacular town on the lakeshore of North Island that’s known for geothermal features and rich Maori culture. You’ll find many exciting attractions in Rotorua, including geysers, thermal pools, volcanic landscapes and Maori cultural sites. You can experience the wonders of the natural environment with summit hikes and shoreline trails, or spend your time exploring the Maori culture with interpretive experiences. There’s no shortage of adventure in Rotorua, whether you like watersports, extreme sports or hiking and biking in the forest. Find out more about the best Rotorua tourist attractions to plan a fun-filled trip with friends or family.
Rotorua thermal pools for romance
Rotorua’s thermal pools are one of the biggest draws of the destination. One of the best places to go to is the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Valley, a vast valley of bright orange and turquoise pools, volcanic craters, silica terraces, bubbling mud pits and steaming fumaroles. You’ll find many other geothermal experiences in Rotorua, including day spas with natural mineral baths, hot pool resorts with family amenities and scenic hot pools in the wild.
Rainbow Mountain, Rotorua for beautiful hikes
Rainbow Mountain is a beautiful geothermal mountain with colourful stone and native plants that only grow in geothermal landscapes. You can hike to the summit of the mountain to take in sweeping views of the landscape and the unique environment. The Crater Lakes Walk also provides stunning views of the volcanic craters and steaming cliffs, while the Summit Track takes you straight to the top for views of the Tongariro National Parkand Lake Taupo. Lake Ngahewa, a lake in the area, is home to a variety of bird species for birdwatching.
Tree Top Walk, Rotorua for rainforest adventures
Tree top walks are a great way to experience the vibrant wildlife and plants of the rainforest in the region with the kids. You’ll find multiple tree top walks and canopy tours for families that give you experiences like ziplining and suspension bridge walks, as well as forest hikes and conservation information. One of the best in the area is the Redwoods TreeWalk, which travels through the iconic old-growth redwood forest.
Kaituna for river fun
The Kaituna River is a roaring river that travels through the native rainforest outside of the city. If you want thrills, you can try a whitewater rafting experience on the river, which includes one of the only raftable waterfalls in the world, Tutea Falls. You’ll find several tour operators in the area that provide guided river experiences to take in the scenery with some adventure with your active family.
Blue and Green Lakes, Rotorua for watersports and cultural experiences
The Blue and Green Lakes in Rotorua, known as Lake Rotokakahi and Lake Tikitapu, are 2 gorgeous lakes with stunning blue and green waters. The lakes are close together, so you can easily experience the wonders of each on the same visit. The Blue Lake is a popular recreational lake for running, biking, swimming, boating, fishing and waterskiing with the kids, while the Green Lake is a sacred Maori site with burial grounds. You can experience the beauty of Green Lake by walking along the Green Lake Walk on the shoreline.
Hot Water Beach, Rotorua for a natural spa experience
One of the most unique beaches in all of Rotorua, Hot Water Beach is a geothermal beach with a spa feature in its centre. When the tide goes out, you can dig a hole in the sand to relax in your own soothing spa bath on the beach. The beach is also popular for other outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing and sunbathing with the kid.
Velocity Valley for family fun
For an adrenaline-fueled excursion with the whole family, Velocity Valley is the best place. You can bungee jump or experience the thrill of skydiving with a wind tunnel. Rotorua also has a luge that starts with a gondola ride to the top and travels down the side of a mountain.
Te Puia for cultural tours
If you want to experience Maori culture on your trip, the best place is the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley at Te Puia. The Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute offers many cultural performances that chronicle the history and legends of the Maori people, as well as workshops for traditional crafts like weaving and woodcarving with the kids. You’ll also be able to tour a live kiwi bird sanctuary and see the iconic Pohutu Geyser.