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Rotorua
Nature & adventure

Nature & adventure
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Our most recommended Rotorua Nature & adventure

Mitai Maori Village: Cultural Experience and Dinner Buffet

1. Mitai Maori Village: Cultural Experience and Dinner Buffet

Enter a Maori village in a natural bush setting and learn about their customs during an immersive cultural experience. Following pickup from your Rotorua accommodation, if option booked, get a warm meet and greet from a beautiful Maori maidens. Learn the guidelines to enter the sacred site and select a chief from your group to represent those visiting the village. See warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe down the Wai-o-whiro stream and marvel at glow worms in their natural habitat. Be captivated by the songs and dances of an entertaining concert, complete with the spine-tingling haka war dance. Watch as the hangi feast is removed from the earth-cooked oven, explore the art of ta moko (tattoo) and more.  Feast on a hot selection of succulent meats and poultry, vegetables and fresh salads, topped off with tempting desserts.

Waiotapu: Thermal Park and Lady Knox Geyser Entry Ticket

2. Waiotapu: Thermal Park and Lady Knox Geyser Entry Ticket

Discover Wai-O-Tapu, an active geothermal area at the southern end of the Okataina Volcanic Center, just north of the Reporoa caldera, in New Zealand's Taupo Volcanic Zone with this entry ticket. Let the eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser take your breath away.  Experience the Wai-O-Tapu park which means “sacred waters” in Maori, and which is the homeland of the Ngati Whaoa tribe who descended from those on the Arawa waka. Admire the colorful hot springs, such as the Champagne Pool, Artist’s Palette, Primrose Terrace and the boiling mud pools. The striking appearance of these springs is due to dramatic geothermal conditions beneath the earth. Get access to this 18 square kilometer geothermal area. Arrive in the morning and the see the 10:30 AM eruptIon of the Lady Knox Geyser. Marvel as hot water is shot sky-high from deep within the earth.

Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath & Sulphur Spa

3. Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath & Sulphur Spa

Discover the best of Hell's Gate Geothermal Park in Rotorua with daily guided tours, a map for a geothermal walk, and multiple spa experiences. Enjoy mud baths, a mud foot pool, sulfur spas, Māori carving, and more. Located approximately 15 minutes from the town's center, Hell's Gate awaits. When you arrive, choose to start your visit by discovering the geothermal features using an included map or join one of the daily guided tours. After learning about the history, features, and uniqueness of the geothermal area and the unique healing muds of Hell's Gate, experience New Zealand’s historic spa for yourself. Soak in unique thermal mud and acidic sulfurous waters that have been used by the local Maori for more than 800 years. The warm geothermal mud opens and cleans the skin’s pores, while the sulfur spas give your skin gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing. 

Rotorua: Te Pa Tu Māori Cultural Experience with Dinner

4. Rotorua: Te Pa Tu Māori Cultural Experience with Dinner

Discover the traditional Māori way of life during a cultural experience in Rotorua. Enjoy an evening of performances, dance, and a 4-course meal based on seasonal cuisine that is served under an al fresco (outdoor area). Indulge in Māori songs and traditions aligned to and changing with the Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar). Watch a cultural performance and learn local indigenous customs. Be immersed in towering Tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and a forest-formed amphitheater. Start your dinner off with forest canapes that culminate in a lavish 3-course fusion feast designed by award-winning Māori chefs, and prepared in-house. Enjoy your meal outside or take in views from the indoor area (weather dependent).

From Rotorua: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with Festive Lunch

5. From Rotorua: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with Festive Lunch

Venture to the lands of Middle Earth on this half-day Hobbit movie set tour from Rotorua. Visit the working sheep farm that director Peter Jackson transformed into the Shire. See where Bilbo Baggins lived and the quest for the ring began, and enjoy a festive lunch. After departing the Lake Rotorua area your coach will take you across the scenic Mamaku Ranges and through the native Fitzgerald Glade, before arriving in the Waikato Region and the rolling hills of the Shire. While exploring the Hobbit film set, your guide will recount fascinating details on how the set was created as well as hear inside stories on the making of the films. During your tour, you'll see the famous movie locations of the Green Dragon Pub, the Mill, the double arched bridge, and the famous Party Tree.

Rotorua: Te Puia Geothermal Valley Guided Tour with Tickets

6. Rotorua: Te Puia Geothermal Valley Guided Tour with Tickets

Enjoy a guided experience to explore the magic within Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley in Rotorua, home to Te Puia. Explore breathtaking local landscapes surrounded by mud pools and geysers. Pay a visit to the Kiwi Conservation Centre and the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. Start off by checking in with the team and meeting your guide, who will help you connect with the Te Puia experience. Walk through native bushland, steaming geysers, and mud pools, and even see the largest geyser in the Southern Hemisphere explode before you. Get up close and personal with kiwi birds with tickets to the brand-new Kiwi Conservation Centre. Access the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and see demonstrations of traditional wood, stone, and bone carving. Browse a range of handcrafted taonga created by local artists at Āhua Gallery.

Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Experience

7. Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Experience

Drive to the Rotorua Rafting base, just a 20 minute drive from Central Rotorua. Meet your guide at the base and dress up in your wetsuit to stay toasty warm for the day. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know. Don't worry if you've never been whitewater rafting before, you don't need any experience. Non-swimmers are even able to tackle the river. In the summer months, the river is 25 degrees Celsius, making it the warmest river in the country. A quick hop across the road will see you arrive at the river ready to tackle 14 epic rapids and 3 waterfalls. The highlights will be jumping, swimming, surfing, and plummeting over the highest commercially rafted waterfall on the planet. After an hour of action, you will arrive back at the base ready to get changed and check out the photos that were taken throughout the adventure.

Rotorua Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

8. Rotorua Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

Relax and unwind at Rotorua’s iconic Polynesian Spa – a world-leading, natural mineral bathing and luxury spa retreat. Geothermal waters nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles and aches and pains, while decadent therapies rejuvenate body, mind and soul. This ticket provides access to the premium bathing area, the Deluxe Lake Spa, which includes a range of mineral rock pools at various temperatures. Using both alkaline and acidic mineral springs, the Deluxe Lake Spa is the ultimate geothermal bathing experience. The therapeutic waters at Polynesian Spa come from two different natural springs. The Priest Spring is named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was "cured" of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water from the Priest Spring relieves tired muscles and aches and pains. The Rachel Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachel Spring are blessed with ageless beauty. The combination of these two types of mineral waters is only found at Polynesian Spa. This spa was built on the site of historic bathhouses that first made the city world-famous in the 1800s. At Polynesian Spa, elements of early buildings and baths have been carefully retained and the site is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. There is a cafe on site serving delicious smoothies, gelato, freshly squeezed juices and a range of food options. There is also a well-stocked Spa Essentials Gift shop that stocks a range of high-end spa products as well as home and personal care products, bathing suits and towels. The area overlooks a birdlife sanctuary on Sulphur Bay on Lake Rotorua and there are many walking paths to

Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

9. Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

Join an epic grade 5 whitewater rafting expedition on the Kaituna River and get an adrenaline rush in its deep warm water canyons. Located a 20-minute drive from central Rotorua, the rafting base is next to the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve.  Join an expert guide on an action-packed, 50-minute adventure down 14 epic rapids. Brave the famous 7-meter Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. A must-do for adrenaline junkies and first-time rafters alike, the adventure is run by super-friendly guides to give you the safest and most entertaining trip on the river. Stretch your legs on the nearby walking track at the end of your raft to watch the rapids tumble over the falls, or head to the nearby cafe to enjoy some food and the best selection of craft beer in Rotorua.

Rotorua: Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour

10. Rotorua: Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour

Experience the warmth of our Legacy Guided tours through NZ’s iconic living Maori village. Our village guides are direct descendants of early Māori guides, who have shaped tourism in New Zealand for generations. Their insights, knowledge and legendary hospitality (manaakitanga) adds depth and richness to the experience you’ll have at Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village. On the Whakarewarewa Guided Tour, you will explore an authentic Māori village, where people use natural geothermal resources to cook, bathe and heat their homes as they have for centuries. Learn what it’s like to live in the challenging geothermal plateau where daily life includes cooking in the bubbling pools and steam vents, and bathing takes place in the refreshing therapeutic waters. You will view the geothermal wonders of Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, including the world-famous Pōhutu geyser, boiling mud-pools, steam vents and bubbling pools. Take in our various historic landmarks and buildings, including an active Marae (meeting grounds and focal point of Maori communities), our WWII Memorial Archway, historic churches, and tapu (sacred) burial grounds.

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What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.6
(374 reviews)

You get to know the Maori people better - how they lived before and how they're living now, you can ask questions and learn a lot. If you want to understand them better, see the culture, the issues, the everyday life - that's for you! By visiting the Whaka village you directly support the Maori people (while Te Puia is owned by the Crown). Additionally, you can walk around and see many hot water and mud pools, and see the geyser from 2 different lookouts. I recommend going to the top of the hill - do the full walk to the village lookout, it's worth it! Only negative point is that there's not much food around - only in the cafe, where you should pre-order the hangi meal, plus the only gluten-free food is the corn and it was sold out.

We did our self guided to her and drove to the park. It’s well worth it. Easy walk, and very beautiful scenery.

This is a must see when visiting the north island! I've never seen anything quite like this before.

Excellent. The mud bath and spa tubs were fun a one time experience.

Very well organized and professionally executed. Great tour guides.