Known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, there’s no shortage of ways to keep busy in Rotorua. Whether you are looking for spouting geysers, Maori culture or an activity to get the heart pumping, you’ll find it here. The hardest part is knowing where to start, which is why the team at Rotorua Rafting has created this list of the top ten things to do in Rotorua.
1. Whitewater Rafting
Of course, our favourite Rotorua activity is rafting on one of our city’s stunning rivers. Let Rotorua Rafting take you down the Rangitaiki, the Wairoa or, if you’re really brave, paddle down the Kaituna River – the world’s highest commercially rated waterfall! Whatever you choose, you’ll enjoy stunning scenery and an adventure-packed day.
2. Go Zorbing
Get to know the quirkier side of New Zealand’s adventure tourism by rolling down a rural hill in a giant inflatable ball. Proudly invented by Kiwi mates Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis in 1994, Zorbing is silly, strange and a lot of fun! Hop inside, roll down one of four tracks on Mt Ngongotaha, and experience the unmatched thrill of the Zorb.
3. Soak up Some Culture at the Rotorua Museum
The beautiful Rotorua Museum – Te Whare Taonga o Te Arewa – is located within the well-maintained Government Gardens near the city centre. The exterior of this old Tudor-style bath house is worth a visit alone, but head inside the museum and art gallery to discover the city’s fascinating and rich cultural history.
4. Witness the City’s Geothermal Activity
One of Rotorua’s biggest claims to fame is its spectacular geothermal activity and you don’t have to look very hard to find natural hot pools, bubbling mud or steaming lakes. To see some of the city’s most impressive geothermal features, including the famously vibrant ‘champagne pool’, head to Wai-O-Tapu. If geysers are more your thing, Te Puia boasts the largest one in the region. Or check out the steam for free at Kuirau Park.
5. Relax in Thermal Hot Pools
Rotorua’s geothermal landscape is the perfect place to take advantage of naturally heated hot springs. There are plenty of places to enjoy the healing properties of the mineral pools. Relax at the lakeside Polynesian Spa and enjoy one of their rejuvenating therapies, or head to the bush and unwind at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools.
6. See the Wildlife at Rainbow Springs Nature Park
For a fun family day, head to Rainbow Springs, Rotorua’s nature park filled with unique NZ wildlife. Take a guided 40-minute tour through the entire park, glimpsing trout, reptiles and native birds. And make sure you visit the National Kiwi Hatchery where you can sight baby kiwi birds.
7. Experience Maori Culture
Maori is New Zealand’s ingenious culture and it is at the heart of Rotorua. To get an authentic experience, we recommend spending an evening at Mitai Maori Village where you’ll get immersed in Maori culture through traditional performances, carvings, history lessons and a hangi (a meal cooked underground) in a sacred and spiritual setting.
8. Enjoy the View on the Gondola
Rotorua’s Skyline Gondola is the best way to take in the sights of the city. The short but scenic ride will take you up to the top of Mt Ngongotaha, showing off sprawling views of Lake Rotorua and the city’s steaming geothermals. Once at the top, you have your choice of activities, shops and dining options to enjoy.
9. Race Downhill in a Luge
Once the gondola has taken you to the top, the best way to descend back down Mt Ngongotaha is in a luge. Sometimes described as a go-kart mixed with a toboggan, the luge is another wacky, adrenaline-fuelled and much-loved Kiwi invention.
10. Mountain Biking in the Redwoods Forest
If you’re keen to see the sights on two wheels, visit Rotorua’s mountain biking haven – the Whakarewarewa Forest Track. Rotorua’s Redwoods Forest is the country’s biggest and its mountain bike trail has been rated as the best in the Southern Hemisphere.
For more information on white water rafting, speak to the team at Rotorua Rafting. Enjoy your trip to our wonderful city!