Things to do in Rotorua: Making the most of your visit

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There’s so much to see & do in Rotorua.

An adventure-packed geothermal wonderland

Nestled in the Central North Island just three hours’ drive from Auckland, the region is highly geothermal and lets you get up close to geysers and boiling thermal mud, marvel at richly-hued pools coloured by thermophilic life, climb volcanoes and relax in therapeutic hot pools. There are so many things to do in Rotorua. The area also has 18 sparkling lakes of all sizes to be explored by kayak, paddleboard, steamer or walking trails. The adventures doesn’t end there – hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders can explore the Whakarewarewa Forest, a cool 5600 hectares locally known as ‘The Redwoods’ for its towering Californian trees alongside native New Zealand forest. In the evenings, attend Maori concerts and dinners to learn more about New Zealand’s indigenous culture.

Whakarewarewa Thermal area, Rotorua, New Zealand. Pohutu Geyser.

Making the most of Rotorua

One way to make sure you get the most out of your time is to tick off a few experiences on the same day, and one way is to use combos provided by Rotorua Combos and Kaitiaki Adventures.

Volcano hiking

Begin your day with a guided tour of Mount Tarawera, a dormant volcano with spectacular views over many of Rotorua’s lakes and diverse landscapes. Mount Tarawera’s terrible rise to fame took place in 1886 when its violent eruption destroyed the Pink and White Terraces – which were considered the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World – and buried entire villages. Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation, drop you off, and throughout the day regale you with stories of one of the local Maori peoples, Ngati Rangitihi, as well as race you in an exhilarating run down loose scoria to the bottom of the crater!

Wild white-water action

The second half of the day involves a uniquely adrenaline-pumping white-water experience: rafting the Kaituna River while learning about local Maori culture from your guide. You’ll plunge down a seven-metre waterfall – Tutea Falls – and glide through twisting, forested canyons, all the while immersing yourself in ancient Maori tales of the area.

Kaitiaki rafting

Hot spring therapy

After all this action, you’ll need a little well-deserved relaxation: soaking in the seven adults-only hot pools at Polynesian Spa. The first three pools cascade and are luxuriously lined with marble. Fed by an alkaline spring, this water of 38-39 degrees C comes with the benefit of sodium silica as a natural antiseptic. There’s also a deeper alkaline pool in which to stretch out, and the remaining three are the acidic Priest Spa pools. These are hotter at 39-42 degrees C and are from a radium spring, renowned for health benefits. They were named after a Catholic priest who calmed his arthritis by bathing in these pools in the late 1800s.

Hell's Gate Thermal area, Rotorua, New Zealand. Model Release #524.

 What are you waiting for?

To make the most out of your time in Rotorua, book this combo and many others by visiting the Rotorua combos website. Get in touch with us if you’re inspired to experience Mt Tarawera or raft the mighty Kaituna River.

  • Review of: Cath Hagan
    If you havent already been white-water rafting then this is the BEST place in the world to have a go!
  • Review of: Sarah H
    Be prepared for an adventure, the views are stunning, and the sense of awe and accomplishment at the end was amazing.
  • Review of: Tristan P
    A must do! Our guides Cam & Curtis were amazing and really funny. Definitely the highlight of the month.
  • Review of: Caradis A
    What an amazing time! We had so much rafting fun, even though at first I was terrified. Will recommend this to everyone.
  • Review of: Te-Aroha P
    Such an exhilarating experience. We loved all the waterfalls and rapids, but we always felt safe with an awesome safety crew.
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