The Top 20 Things to Do in Rotorua

Team Klook
Team Klook
5 May 2021
[Image credits to @hellsgatenz, @waimarinokayaktours, @velocity_valley

[Image credits to @hellsgatenz, @waimarinokayaktours, @velocity_valley

Intrigued by the geothermal wonders Rotorua has to offer? Don’t let the smell pull you back, that’s just the aroma of sulphur! You’ll soon find yourself immune to the smell and enjoying these wonderful things to do in Rotorua!
Head on over to the heart of New Zealand’s north and choose from different activities. For those seeking exciting things to do, Rotorua has ZORB ball adventures, thrilling jet boat rides, and extreme adventures at Velocity Valley. If you’re the type to go on tours and other calming things to do, Rotorua’s hot spas and relaxing mud baths are the perfect activities for you!
You don’t need to look far to complete your list of things to do in Rotorua because we’ve curated a perfect list you can check before you proceed with your geothermal adventure!
Check out our list of the most awesome things to do in Rotorua!
  1. Ride the Skyline gondola to get Rotorua’s best views
  2. Relax your body at Polynesian Spa
  3. Visit Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park
  4. Rejuvenate with a mud spa at Hell’s Gate
  5. Take the Lakeland Queen Cruise
  6. Take a tour around Wai-O-Tapu Park
  7. Roam around Te Puia for a day
  8. Enjoy a cultural night at Te Puia
  9. Experience the exciting ZORB Inflatable Ball
  10. Take a bath in a Secret Spot cedar hot tub
  11. Go on a Squeeze Jet Boat ride and hot spring waterfall adventure
  12. Visit Whakarewarewa: The Living Maori Village
  13. Ride an evening canoe at BIG Kanu Starlight Tour
  14. Take a tour across Rotorua’s city and lakes!
  15. Check out Waimangu Volcanic Valley
  16. Spend the night at Mitai Maori Village
  17. Go white water rafting on the Kaituna River
  18. Feel the adrenaline rush at Velocity Valley
  19. Learn more about Rotorua at the Rotorua Museum
  20. Stroll around Kuirau Park

1. Ride the Skyline gondola to get Rotorua’s best views

Skyline gondola is the perfect place to play I Spy with the kids!
Skyline gondola is the perfect place to play I Spy with the kids!
Gaze upon the breathtaking landscape that surrounds Rotorua, from the city to the geothermal areas, as you ascend Mt. Ngongotaha. Truly one of the best things to do in Rotorua, this gondola ride may be paired with a lunch or dinner buffet depending on the time you go up. Then, cap off this trip with a thrilling luge ride that people of all ages can definitely enjoy! Descend down the track going through the Redwoods Forest and try out different difficulty levels.

2. Relax your body at Polynesian Spa

Loosen your body and ease the tension with the unique hot pools of Polynesian Spa! Nestled at the heart of Rotorua, a bath at this award-winning spa is the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing around New Zealand. Indulge yourself and try out their exclusive acidic and alkaline hot pools overlooking the majestic Lake Rotorua.

3. Visit Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park

See New Zealand's largest active mud volcano and the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere when you go on this 1.5-hour guided tour where you can also learn different kinds of mud. Get to experience Māori carving and a mud foot bath inside this steamy park.

4. Rejuvenate with a mud spa at Hell’s Gate

Enjoy a relaxing mud bath at Hell’s Gate
Enjoy a relaxing mud bath at Hell’s Gate
Home to New Zealand's largest active mud volcano and vibrant Māori culture, Hell’s Gate offers a unique bathing experience you wouldn’t easily find anywhere else! Soak in at their sulphurous spas and mud baths once bathed in by Māori warriors, and enjoy health benefits such as blood circulation increase and cleansing and exfoliating properties. 

5. Take the Lakeland Queen Cruise

Cruise along the stunning Lake Rotorua aboard the Lakeland Queen Cruise, and get the best views of Rotorua’s attractions including Sulphur Bay, Kawaha Point, and Mokoia Island. Sit back at the comfortable seats where you can enjoy your buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner on this 1-hour cruise.

6. Take a tour around Wai-O-Tapu Park

Have fun at Wai-O-Tapu Park! Credits: @waiotapu_wonderland_nz
Have fun at Wai-O-Tapu Park! Credits: @waiotapu_wonderland_nz
Step into the thermal wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu Park, and find yourself in the middle of an 18-square kilometre colourful geothermal paradise consisting of geysers, sulphuric pools, and hot springs. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Lady Knox Geyser eruption at 10:15 am!
Note that they are currently closed for renovations so stay tuned for further updates on their reopening.

7. Roam around Te Puia for a day

Visit Te Puia for a day and learn more about Maori culture. Credits: @te_puia
Visit Te Puia for a day and learn more about Maori culture. Credits: @te_puia
Let off some steam and experience Māori culture over 60 hectares of this geothermal wonderland which includes Pōhutu Geyser, the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere! Glimpse on geysers, mud pools, natural bush and steam vents in the area as well as local wildlife and the vibrant Maori culture with a personal guide. The pass is good for the whole day with guided tours running twice per day at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm, lasting for 2 hours. 

8. Enjoy a cultural night at Te Puia

Extend your stay at Te Puia and spend the night discovering more about Māori culture. Truly one of the most recommended things to do in Rotorua, gaze under the stars as you feast on a scrumptious Māori banquet prepared using the traditional Hangi method. Immerse yourself even further by participating in the traditional Poi dance!

9. Experience the exciting ZORB Inflatable Ball

Enjoy rolling down the hills with friends with ZORB!
Enjoy rolling down the hills with friends with ZORB!
Looking for some wacky things to do in Rotorua? Search no more because ZORB Inflatable Ball is for you! Roll down the hills solo or with a friend inside a giant inflatable ball: DRYGO to stay dry or the H2OGO for a water-filled ball. Squeal with laughter as you zoom down 4 available tracks including the Mega Track—the fastest, longest, and steepest downhill rolling track in the entire world.

10. Take a bath in a Secret Spot cedar hot tub

Rejuvenate with the family inside a cedar hot tub filled with natural spring water. Credits @secretspotrotorua
Rejuvenate with the family inside a cedar hot tub filled with natural spring water. Credits @secretspotrotorua
Embrace nature and take in the magnificent surroundings of the Whakarewarewa forest in this one-of-a-kind bath experience! Pamper yourself in one of The Secret Spot’s 12 six-seater hot tubs filled with pure natural spring water. It’s a perfect place to spend holidays with the family, and enjoy your choice of local wine, craft beers or ciders.

11. Go on a Squeeze Jet Boat ride and hot spring waterfall adventure

Bask in the tranquil New Zealand nature as you ride the thrilling squeeze jet boat down Tutukau Gorge. Maneuver through narrow ravines across the shallow waters and discover spectacular local flora and fauna as you bathe in the warm waters in this hot spring waterfall adventure.

12. Visit Whakarewarewa: The Living Maori Village

Pay a visit to New Zealand's only true living Maori village, learn how they make use of the surrounding geothermal valley in their everyday lives, and witness cultural performing shows depicting the colourful Maori culture. Also home to the famous Pohutu and Prince of Wales Feathers geysers, keep your eyes peeled for the geyser shows that shoot out every hour!

13. Ride an evening canoe at BIG Kanu Starlight Tour

Ride the Big Kanu and paddle to the cave as the sun goes down! Credits @waimarinokayaktours
Ride the Big Kanu and paddle to the cave as the sun goes down! Credits @waimarinokayaktours
Spend a magical night under the stars along Lake Rotoiti, and admire the breathtaking natural landscapes that surround the lake. Paddle to the cave and be fascinated by thousands of the majestic glow worms and wildlife that inhabit the area.

14. Take a tour across Rotorua’s city and lakes!

Discover more about this geothermal wonderland and what other things to do in Rotorua on board the Duck, a WW2 amphibious vehicle! Explore Lake Tikitapu and Lake Okareka, visit hot pools along the way, and let the remarkable scenery take your breath away in this 90-minute tour.

15. Check out Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Go on a 4-hour exciting tour around the world’s youngest volcanic valley and learn more about this geothermal hotspot from your guide as you travel from craters to hot springs. The tour can be extended with these three options: a visit to the kaleidoscopic Wai-O-Tapu, a magical tour around the Hobbiton Movie Set, and a cultural trip to the humble town of Whakarewarewa.

16. Spend the night at Mitai Maori Village

Be captivated as the Maori warriors paddle on a warrior canoe. Credits: @mitaimaorivillagenz
Be captivated as the Maori warriors paddle on a warrior canoe. Credits: @mitaimaorivillagenz
Learn about the powerful Maori culture, watch the powerful Haka dance and be amazed by the glowworms that illuminate your surroundings when you visit the Mitai Maori Village. Be welcomed by the traditional “waka” or warrior canoe then feast on local as well as western food as you spectate on the raising of the hangi, the traditional oven beneath the soil used to cook your meal. Immerse more into the culture when you learn about the history and stories of the Maori people through traditional weapons and tools and their beautiful tattoo art.

17. Go white water rafting on the Kaituna River

Brave the thrilling grade 5 whitewater rapids of Kaituna River and scream at the top of your lungs as you pass by the world's highest rafted waterfall and 14 exciting rapids! Then, enjoy the majestic scenery that surrounds you when you paddle along calm waters with your friendly guide. After the experience, relieve tension at the hot pool at the end of your trip.

18. Feel the adrenaline rush at Velocity Valley

Scream at the top of your lungs at Velocity Valley! Credits @velocity_valley
Scream at the top of your lungs at Velocity Valley! Credits @velocity_valley
Get thrilled at Velocity Valley, home to some of the world’s exhilarating attractions! If you’re the type of person to search for more active things to do, Rotorua’s Velocity Valley is the place for you! Home to five unique experiences, it has the world's only Shweeb Racer, a human powered monorail track, as well as the Swoop, a swing that takes you 40m towards the earth at 130 kmph! 

19. Learn more about Rotorua at the Rotorua Museum

Discover more about this geothermal paradise’s rich and vibrant history at the Rotorua Museum. Explore the iconic Bath House as well as the Pink & White Terraces and Mount Tarawera, and visit exhibitions like the Te Arawa to know more about the Te Arawa Maori tribe. 

20. Stroll around Kuirau Park

If you haven’t had enough of the geysers and geothermal wonders of Rotorua, then head on over to Kuirau Park for more steaming geothermal action! Free of charge, the park takes you to different craters and hot springs through paths lined with local flora. It’s also the perfect place for family picnics. Don’t forget to visit the farmer’s market every Saturday!