Add dates
Rotorua

Culture & history

Our most recommended Rotorua Culture & History

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.

Rotorua: Te Pa Tu Maori Cultural Experience with Dinner

2. 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).

Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

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

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

Experience the best of Hells Gate Geothermal Park with a self-guided geothermal walk and historic spa experience. The park is located approximately 15 minutes drive from the town's centre.  Discover the geothermal features using a self-guided map or join a guided tour. Learn about the history, features and uniqueness of the geothermal area. After learning about the unique healing muds of Hells Gate, experience New Zealand’s historic spa experience 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 sulphur spas give your skin a gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing. 

Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

5. Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Rotorua. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. As you drive, pass through the pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, Blue Baths, Thermal Springs and Polynesian Spa. From here enjoy the option to add on up to two of Rotorua's most popular activities and attractions (additional cost). Please add on the activities or attractions you would like to include during the booking process. Maybe head to the famous geothermal park and Maori cultural village of Te Puia, bathe in the geothermal waters of the Polynesian Spa, experience some farm culture at the Agrodome Sheep Show, or ride the gondola at Skyline! Or you can simply choose to explore the city at your own pace before your return to Auckland.

Rotorua: Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour

6. 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.

Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

7. Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton.  Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your 2-hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to continue southwards towards the active geothermal area of Rotorua. During the drive, pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, the Blue Baths, Thermal Springs, and Polynesian Spa. Take some time to rest for lunch and then head to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland considered one of the most surreal places on earth.  Here, admire Champagne Lake, Devil’s Bath, local mud pools, geothermal craters, and other geothermal wonders before a fully guided trip back to Auckland and the end of your tour.

Rotorua Highlights & Maori Village Tour from Tauranga

8. Rotorua Highlights & Maori Village Tour from Tauranga

Travel to Rotorua from Tauranga on a seven-hour tour that’s perfect for cruise ship passengers or others interested in the area. Begin with a drive to Mount Maunganui and learn about the region from your guide.  Step back in time at Te Puia Maori Village. This village was built above geothermal land and is home to the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere. Your guide will provide details of original settlers tales, and show you through the traditional Maori Arts and Crafts school operating on the property. Visit the onsite Kiwi enclosure for your chance to see our native Kiwi bird. Head to Rotorua Lake – the second-largest lake on the North Island. Journey back to Tauranga and visit an established Kiwifruit Orchard with a sampling room and free ice cream.

Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

9. Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

Discover the Hells Gate/Tikitere Geothermal Reserve, one of the most active in New Zealand.  Enjoy a self-guided walk of the spectacular reserve, located approximately 15-minutes drive from central Rotorua. Hells Gate boasts New Zealand's largest active mud volcano, the Southern Hemisphere's largest hot water falls, and even examples of land coral. See boiling hot pools and erupting waters with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Celsius. Discover steaming fumaroles, hot water lakes, sulphur crystals and deposits. Learn about Hells Gate’s extensive history independently or join an interactive guided tour at 10:30am or 2:30pm (subject to availability).

Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+

10. Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+

Relax and unwind at the Polynesian Spa, a world-leading, natural mineral bathing and luxury spa retreat in Rotorua. Geothermal waters nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles, aches and pains, while decadent therapies rejuvenate through ancient and modern techniques. 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 this 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 the Polynesian Spa. This spa was built on the site of historic bath houses, which originally made the city world-famous in the 1800s. It continues to evolve and focus on health and wellness, introducing passive and active bathing experiences for increased immunity and greater energy levels. In the Pavilion Pools, elements of early buildings and baths have been carefully retained and the site is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Frequently asked questions about Rotorua Culture & history

What are other things to do than Culture & history that are worth visiting in Rotorua?

The other unmissable things to do in Rotorua are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Rotorua

Want to discover all there is to do in Rotorua? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 346 reviews

Wonderful experience a splendid culture show. The music the dance the history and presentation are the best. It’s my favourite part of our trip. A high light. The amazing food.

A must do activity in Rotorua . If you can’t do the Geothermal pool and mud bath, just for for the tour - guided or self-guided . Well worth it .

Unforgettable experience, a must do activity, we really enjoyed everything, I encourage everyone to have this Māori experience, well done guys

Even in the rain it was an exceptional experience. The food was fantastic and plenty of it. The show was spectacular and very informative.

Friendly welcoming experience, good food and entertainment