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Rotorua

National parks

Our most recommended Rotorua National Parks

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

1. 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.  Note that a complimentary shuttle service picks up from central Rotorua three to four times a day (seasonally) with scheduled return services.

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

2. 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: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

3. 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, available daily at 10:30 AM or 2:30 PM. A complimentary shuttle service picks up from central Rotorua three to four times a day (seasonally) with scheduled drop offs.

Rotorua: The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

4. Rotorua: The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

Located just a 15-minute drive from Rotorua, the Buried Village of Te Wairoa features an interactive museum, scenic walking trails, and a look at the devastating effects of one of New Zealand’s greatest natural disasters: the Mt. Tarawera volcanic eruption of 1886, which wiped out a natural landmark known as the Pink and White Terraces. The award-winning museum sheds light on the hardships suffered by this once-bustling European and Maori village settlement.  Expect to spend at least 1 and a half hours at the site to get the most out of the experience, which includes audio guides, living history tours, and talks by costumed guides scheduled throughout the day. Gain firsthand insight into the chaos of the night that Mt. Tarawera erupted and destroyed Te Wairoa, a village of Maoris and missionaries excavated under the Kaitiakitanga of the Smith family for nearly 90 years. Refresh at Smith & Co, the onsite cafe offering delicious scones with whipped cream and jam, Kiwi's favorite selection of pastry pies, and Devonshire tea. Take the opportunity to dress up in Victorian style clothing. On the waterfall trail, learn about the native flora and fauna and experience the beauty of a land recovering from violent destruction. Experience the Te Wairoa Falls in a special way as you stand in the mist of the waterfall. At the end of the day, check out the wide range of goods at the gift shop and bring home a special memento.

Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

5. Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

After being picked up from your hotel in Rotorua, enjoy a pleasurable and scenic drive through the New Zealand countryside and learn about the region from your professional local driver/ guide. Travel in the comfort of your modern and fully air-conditioned vehicle. Set off on a journey of discovery at the infamous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Sit back and relax as you take a magical boat ride beneath thousands of glowworms. Discover more about the 120 years of cultural and natural history on this fully guided tour and marvel at this mesmerizing natural light display as you silently glide through the wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto.  Continuing your fantastical journey, step into Hobbiton, where an official guide will show you around this breathtaking and impressive movie set. Wander into Hobbit holes, including Bilbo and Frodo's home, and take a turn around their vegetable patches with giant pumpkins! At the end of the tour, be transported to Middle Earth as you enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon Inn. If you're looking to experience some of New Zealand's top attractions, or are an avid Lord of the Rings fan, then this is a truly unmissable and unforgettable experience! 

From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

6. From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

Get a fantastic geothermal experience without the thronging crowds with this day trip to Orakei Korako from Rotorua. Discover a geothermal park boasting the most active geysers in New Zealand. After exploring Orakei Korako, visit Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Depart Rotorua after pickup from your hotel between 9 AM-9:15 AM and travel to Orakei Korako. Somewhat off the beaten track, Orakei Korako, also known as the Hidden Valley, is nestled in the Taupo Volcanic Zone between Taupo and Rotorua. After a 45-minute drive to get there, take a short boat ride across the lake then enjoy 2 hours to explore the thermal area featuring up to 23 natural geysers in a constantly changing landscape. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colors all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise. Next, move on to Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Lunch is at your own expense but there are multiple places for you to choose to eat. In Taupo, be guided by your driver and visit the lake front and other interesting sights. Your driver will find out what interests you and, if possible, tailor the day to maximize the stops to suit your interests. Return to Rotorua after Taupo for drop-off at your accommodation between 3:30 PM-4:30 PM.

Rotorua: Kaituna Rafting & Mt. Tarawera Hiking Combo

7. Rotorua: Kaituna Rafting & Mt. Tarawera Hiking Combo

Take on a thrilling rafting adventure with experienced and local Kiwi guides. Navigate a wildly beautiful landscape while learning about Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and protection of the land. Snake through steep New Zealand bush-clad canyons. Be thrilled by fourteen rapids and tree waterfalls, including the world-renowned 7-meter Tutea Falls. Relive the rafting action through photos snapped by a professional adventure photographer along the way. Throughout the day, your guide will share the history of Mount Tarawera's eruption as well as local myths and legends. On arrival at the mountain base, begin the ascent to the crater's edge in an off-road 4x4 vehicle up through native bushland. After a quick stop at the solar-powered mountain base, continue up to the beginning of the track.  Admire stunning scenic vistas and 360-degree panoramic views as you enjoy the hike up. At the summit, you can leap down into the heart of the volcanic crater for a fun and short run.

New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

8. New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

Day 1 - Auckland to Hot Water Beach Depart Auckland and head south-east to the pristine beaches of the Coromandel and the world-famous Cathedral Cove. Kayak around this stunning coastline (optional activity) and have the opportunity to visit Hot Water Beach; a unique surf beach where if you catch the tide right, you can dig a hole in the sand to create your own personal spa pool. Day 2 - Hot Water Beach to Waitomo Venture into the enchanting Karangahake Gorge nestled among the Kaimai Ranges, for a hike amongst the walkways and old mining tunnels. Next, head over to Waitomo for a magical tour of the world-famous glow-worm caves. You will also have the opportunity to experience a Black Water Rafting trip. Day 3 - Waitomo to Rotorua Start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve. Pass through The Shire of Hobbiton where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the Hobbiton Movie Set (optional activity) before rolling on through to Rotorua; a mystical land of bubbling mud pools, rocketing geysers, and natural hot springs. Optional activities are luging down the SkyLine, White Water Rafting, Hells Gate, Mountain biking through the Redwoods, Zorb, Wai-o-tapu, Polynesian Spa, or National Kiwi Hatchery. Day 4 - Rotorua free day and Tamaki Maori Village Explore the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand’s largest geyser, and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. Visit the Tamaki Māori Village and be immersed in the traditions and cultural values of the Māori people. Participate in a pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony), learn about the history of the marae (village) and the Rotorua-area from a local Māori guide before feasting on some top kai food from the hāngi pit. Gather around a blazing bonfire and enjoy listening to Māori myths and legends before relaxing in a private forest spa pool and retiring for the night in a traditional carved whare moe (sleeping house). Day 5 - Tamaki Maori Village to Taupo Day 6 - Taupo free day Day 7 - Taupo to Wellington Day 8 - Wellington to Kaikoura Day 9 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Day 10 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Day 11 - Lake Tekapo to Wanaka via Mount Cook Day 12 - Wanaka to Queenstown Day 13 - Queenstown free day Day 14 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip

Rotorua: Local Birdwatching Full-day Tour

9. Rotorua: Local Birdwatching Full-day Tour

Depending on the wishes of the group, you will set off either to see shorebird or forest birds in their natural habitats.  The forest bird watching experience will take place in Whirinaki Forest, among tall 1000-year-old trees. Come face to face with rare and endangered New Zealand birds including the North Island parrot, yellow-crowned parakeet, North Island robin, New Zealand falcon, blue duck, long tailed cuckoo, wood pigeon and more.  If your group chooses the shorebird experience, you will head to different sites spread around the Bay of Plenty. You will see New Zealand dotterels, royal spoonbills, white-fronted terns, various cormorants, and many more.

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Frequently asked questions about Rotorua National Parks

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What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 16 reviews

it was wonderful !! magical !! and Grant our guide was outgoing, friendly and discussed everything...we even got to make a quick stop at the end because he was keen to make us understand where exactly Rotorua is, to understand the importance and the magnificence of the place !! it was awesome!!! thank youiiiiiii

Mark our guide was brilliant at the history facts and knowledge about the geothermal activities plus life support from the natural resources. Further he was jovial and made humorous comments that were exciting Would recommend this to any traveller

Due to Wai O Tapu was closed, we end up doing just the Hobbiton Town. The tour was fantastic, prompt pick up, the driver was really friendly n we all had a wonderful tour.

Great day out! Hobbiton is fantastic backed up with all the culture of Rotorua. A must for a visit to the north Island.

The staff were very knowledgeable and the site was very informative