Kia Ora traveller! My name is Lauren and I’m a local, living here in Rotorua. Our beautiful city is full of thrilling activities, many of which you can do all in the same day! If you are planning your Rotorua adventure, here are a few suggestions of things to do over three days, in this wonderful city I call home.
I almost always start my day, at about 7am, with a coffee and breakfast from one of Rotorua’s best cafe’s. Over the course of the next three days, I will suggest a few. Today I would head down to Zippy’s Central Cafe. They consistently whip up some of the best coffees and bagels in town. Zippy’s also offers free wifi, making it an awesome first stop – as you can plan and book all activities from here.
First activity of the day, luging! Make your way up the side of Rotorua’s Mount Ngongotaha in a gondola, with picturesque views of the city and lake. Find yourself racing down a steep slope at Skyline Rotorua, in a self controlled kart (a luge). There are three tracks to choose from, all of which boast amazing scenery and a thrilling ride.
After luging, I would suggest heading to Zorb. Zorb has been running inflatable balls down steep hills for over 17 years. Whilst safely cocooned inside the ball, you will end up rolling down a hill, picking up speed as you go. You can choose to go alone or with friends. Once again with three different tracks to chose from, it’s an activity where once is never enough! After this, grabbing a bite to eat (you will be hungry after all this action) at Ciabatta cafe would be ideal, they make the BEST sandwiches-to-go in town!
Next stop – white water rafting on the beautiful Kaituna river, with Kaitiaki Adventures. Kaitiaki Adventures will pick you up and drop you off from your accommodation, all you need to bring with you is your swimwear and towel! Learn about the Maori tribes who once lived surrounding this river, whilst navigating your way through rapids and taking the plunge over a 7 meter waterfall (the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world). Surrounded only by pristine native bush and history, rafting is a sure way to cater to anybody looking for adventure and excitement.
To finish off your day, I would suggest a visit to ‘Eat Street’. ‘Eat street’ is famous in Rotorua for hosting outstanding, award winning restaurants and bars to eat and drink at. Make your way to SOBar, chill out with a craft beer and some nibbles, whilst listening to some local tunes, then choose from one of the many restaurants on the street for a great dinner!
Today I would go for a bigger breakfast, because the activities I have lined up are going to be insane! No better place for this, than Fatdog Cafe, who will serve up one of the biggest meals you have probably ever seen.
First up today, hiking on Mount Tarawera. Mount Tarawera is a very historical and sacred place and the only way to visit is on a guided tour with Kaitiaki Adventures. Kaitiaki Adventures will pick you up from your accommodation (or the Fatdog Cafe) and take you on a journey, beginning with a four wheel drive up the mountain. You will see almost untouched native bush as the four wheel drive climbs the steep slope, before departing on your hike. From the summit, the views are unreal. You can see at least 7 of Rotorua’s surrounding lakes, many other mountains that are miles away and even the coast line! After taking all of this in, it is time to drop into the crater with an exciting 400 metre scree run, down the volcanic gravel.
Once you have climbed out of the crater and rocked your way back down the Mountain in the four wheel drive, head to the redwoods forest. Here you will find Mountain Bike Rotorua, who not only have bikes for hire but also a great cafe to grab a bite to eat from. With dozens of world-class tracks to chose from, ranging from tracks for beginners through to some amazing challenges for the more adventurous downhill enthusiasts, you can select your pace and enjoy your afternoon biking through our local redwood forest.
To finish the evening off, a booking with Tamaki Maori Village is a must do. Tamaki will offer you a close up and interactive cultural experience, including a powhiri (traditional maori welcoming ceremony), interactive activities such as learning the poi and haka (traditional maori dances) and most importantly a Hangi feast (traditional Maori food). Tamaki also will pick you up and drop you off, all from your accommodation and within three hours! This leaves plenty of time for a wind down, may I suggest relaxing in the Polynesian pools, where the ancient and healing waters will be just what your body needs after a day packed with action!
By now you are most likely a little exhausted by the past two days. After a sleep in, head for brunch at Abracadabra Cafe, with a garden bar or covered area to sit in the vibes here are chill and welcoming.
From there, make your way first to Agroventures to select a few of their adrenalin pumping activities. At Agroventures there are a few to choose from, including a self driven monorail race, a jet boat, the swoop (flying through the air in what feels like a giant sleeping bag), the free fall (skydiving simulator) and of course the NZ famous bungy jump!
Finish off your day by booking in your transport with Off Road NZ. You will need to book transport as Off Road NZ is located approximately 20 minutes out of Rotorua, but if you are headed that way stopping off there is a must! Head off with them for an incredible four wheel driving experience. Drive yourself (with an experienced guide) through dense native bush, through mud holes, over spindly bridges and down an almost vertical slope.
By now, you should have had an adventurous few days in the city I call home! Rotorua has so much to see and do, it is one of the best places to visit for an action packed weekend. I hope the suggestions of a local have helped you get started, and I can sincerely say, Rotorua looks forward to meeting you!