Things to do in Bay of Plenty Region

Our most recommended things to do in Bay of Plenty Region

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 maiden dressed in traditional attire. 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.

From Rotorua: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with Festive Lunch

2. 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 provide inside stories on the making of the films. During your tour, you'll see such famous movie locations as the Green Dragon Pub, the mill, the double arched bridge, and the famous Party Tree.

Rotorua: Te Pa Tu Maori Cultural Experience with Dinner

3. Rotorua: Te Pa Tu Maori Cultural Experience with Dinner

Discover the traditional Maori 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 Maori songs and traditions aligned to and changing with the Maramataka (Maori 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 Maori chefs, and prepared in-house. Enjoy your meal outside or take in views from the indoor area (weather dependent).

Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

4. Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

Departing from Whakatāne Wharf, the journey to Moutohorā is just a short 15-minute boat ride aboard a comfortable catamaran “The Moutohorā Cat”. Designed to be able to nestle right onto the shore, disembarking is as easy as walking down some stairs and stepping onto the beach. Once ashore, a fully-guided tour means you can learn about the island's unique flora and fauna and the conservation effort focused on Moutohorā for the past 50 years. Since becoming pest-free, bird life on Moutohorā has flourished and there is a chance to see a number of different species including saddleback/tieke, kakariki/red-crowned parakeet, little brown kiwi, bellbirds, tui, grey warbler; many of which are endangered or seldom seen on the New Zealand mainland. The walk includes a visit to the island's saddle (the dip between the two highest summits) for spectacular views out to White Island and a visit to Sulphur Bay where geothermal hot springs come up through the sand allowing for you to dig your own hot pool on the beach. Please note there are no changing facilities or bathrooms on the island. After enjoying a swim, you will return to Boulder Bay and re-board “The Cat” where, if conditions permit, the catamaran may circumnavigate the island before returning to Whakatāne.  There may also be an opportunity to stop and spend time with any marine life encountered along the way. Due to the precious nature of this pest-free island, access is highly restricted to the general public. The only way to visit the island is with a Department of Conservation approved concessionaire. This tour operator is permitted to take a small number of visitors to the island each day. 

White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

5. White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

Take to the skies to admire the marine volcano of White Island from above. Your friendly and professional crew will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout your experience. You’ll receive a flight and safety briefing before heading out onto the tarmac to your aircraft. Be sure to bring your camera, as everyone gets a window seat. Enjoy fantastic views as your enthusiastic pilot shares local insights. Fly over the township of Whakatane before heading offshore over Moutohora (Whale) Island, an extinct volcano that is now a wildlife refuge. Continue on to White Island, keeping a lookout for a bird's eye views of dolphins and large schools of fish. During several turns around the island, you’ll have the opportunity to see the volcano from all angles and shoot plenty of stunning photos. You’ll get closer each time and the pilot will dip the wing for uninterrupted views. Your pilot will give you tips for capturing the best photos and alert you when a good opportunity arises. Peer directly into the crater, smell volcanic gasses and admire incredible views of sulfur vents, bubbling mud, and acid lakes. Enjoy the most time above the crater out of any of the local flight operations before the scenic return flight to Whakatane airport.

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

6. 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. 

From Rotorua: Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Valley Small Group Tour

7. From Rotorua: Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Valley Small Group Tour

Enjoy plenty of time to discover Wai-O-Tapu on a small group tour from Rotorua. After pick-up from your Rotorua accomodation, travel south through farmland and forests to the amazing Wai-O-Tapu, North Island’s geothermal wonderland.  Visit Wai-O-Tapu, New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. Be introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape as clearly defined tracks provide you with the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of the area. There, choose from a series of different walks, ranging from 30 to 75 minutes. Gain an overview of the area from the lookout point, then set your own pace over marked walking trails as you meander past vividly coloured hot pools, volcanic craters and steaming fissures in the geothermal park. Admire the New Zealand bush along the walkways, where display panels inform you about the thermal activity you see. Consult your complimentary full-colour guide-map for further details about the natural wonders.  There will be an opportunity to enjoy lunch (at own cost) and plenty of photo moments.

Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

8. Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

Enjoy a therapeutic mud bath and sulfur spa at Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve, located just a 15-minute drive from central Rotorua. A round-trip shuttle service option from Rotorua is also available. Soak in the thermal mud and acidic, sulfurous waters as the local Maori have done for over 800 years. Apply the natural geothermal mud to your skin while relaxing in the warm sulfurous waters for 20 minutes. Follow the mud spa with a cool shower before relaxing in the hot sulfur mineral spa. The warm geothermal mud opens and cleans the skin’s pores, and the sulfur spa provides a gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing.

Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

9. Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

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.

From Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

10. From Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua, and Waitomo Caves in one day on a guided tour from Auckland. See three of North Island’s iconic sites in one attraction-filled day. After hotel pickup, travel from Auckland to Hobbiton through Waikato. On arrival, you’ll be guided through the picturesque twelve-acre site and given fascinating details of how the movie set was created. The official tour concludes with a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Climb back into the vehicle for the approximately 55-minute drive to Rotorua where you will spend around 1.5 hours. On arrival, visit key attractions, such as the lakefront, government gardens, and Rachel Springs. After sightseeing, have lunch at Pataka Kai, a restaurant next to the Te Puia thermal reserve. Enjoy views and take photos of Te Puia's Pohutu Geyser and thermal valley from the restaurant (entry not included). After Rotorua, drive to the world-renowned Waitomo Caves where you’ll enter the caves on foot and ride out in a small boat. Above your head will be thousands of tiny glowworms radiating their unmistakable luminescent light as an expert guide provides informative commentary. 

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What people are saying about Bay of Plenty Region

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,408 reviews

Fabulous experience for the entire family! We learned about Māori culture, had an incredible hāngi feast and really enjoyed the performance of traditional song and dance. The hosts were wonderful and so knowledgeable. Would recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa.

Very insightful and learnt a similarity to a European custom of marriage to make alliance's. Among other learns about history of the local tribe and other tribes and even how the word Maori was actually a mistake but is now adopted as the word associated with all the tribes

Despite the rain we had a wonderful trip. Our guide Stephen was educational, polite, and helpful. One of our best guides ever. Especially the home made brownies

Fascinating tour. Amazing to see a Kiwi in a hatching state, and then the hatchlings themselves. The staff were very friendly and informative.

Knowledgeable drivers, wonderful food, excellent activities Great way to get an introduction to New Zealand