With explosive geysers, adrenaline-pumping activities and Māori culture, Rotorua really packs a punch.
1. Wing your way to geothermal wonders
Explore Rotorua’s geothermal valleys from the air with Volcanic Air and step foot onto the summit of Mount Tarawera or view the Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave. You can enjoy a scenic floatplane flight over Lake Rotoiti and experience a water landing then soak in the secluded hot pools usually only accessible by boat or a five-hour walk.
2. Get your adrenaline pumping
Head to Velocity Valley for a day of jam-packed family adventure. Here you can ride a BMX bike into a huge airbag, try a reverse bungy, Swoop from 40 metres in the air or race your mates on the Shweeb Racer, the only pedal-powered monorail track in the world. Zip through the water at a speed of 100 kilometres on the Agrojet or try the Xtreme Freefall – it’s like skydiving without the plane.
3. Explore Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Enjoy an up-close-and-personal experience of the geothermal wonderland at Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Explore the valley with a self-guided eco-tour along crater walkways and a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana – the home of the Pink and White Terraces. Kayak your way around the lake and weave your way through Steaming Cliffs on a guided tour.
4. Raft down a seven metre high waterfall
The Kaituna River meanders its way through the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty regions and is home to Tutea Falls, a thundering seven metres high waterfall. Kaitiaki Adventures can take you over the edge during their Grade 4 or 5 white water rafting trips. No rafting experience is needed – just a sense of adventure and a change of clothes.
5. Feel the warm embrace of Māori culture
Gain insight into Māori culture and the myths and legends of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley at Te Puia. Here you can witness Pōhutu Geyser explode hot water into the air, and see students create traditional carved masterpieces at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, then top off the day with a hearty hāngī.
6. Zipline through a 119-year-old forest
Zipline your way around prehistoric native forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours and weave your way through the trees as you walk across 20 metre high suspension bridges. If you’re wondering what to do at night, head to Redwoods Treewalk and step into a captivating world of colour and light on the Redwoods Nightlights tour. This is an experience the whole family will enjoy.
7. Mountain bike the Whakarewarewa Forest
The network of nearly 200 kilometres of purpose-built mountain biking trails in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest is world-famous and received Gold Status by the International Mountain Biking Association. They have also been voted the best mountain biking in the Southern Hemisphere by Red Bull. Let the team at Mountain Bike Rotorua take care of all of the logistics and get ready for some epic riding.
8. Race downhill on the luge
Strap on a helmet and feel the rush of a speedy downhill ride in your own luge at Skyline Rotorua. Start slow on the beginners scenic track through the Redwoods Forest, and work your way up to the more challenging intermediate and advanced tracks. Enjoy the views as the chair lift takes you back to the top, take the whole family or race your mates to the bottom.
9. Indulge in a therapeutic hot pool or mud bath
Settle into the lakeside setting at Polynesian Spa and soak in the mineral spring hot pools that can relieve aches and pains and nourish the skin. Or cleanse your mind and body with the ancient practice of lathering geothermal mud over the body, followed by a soak in the sulphur spa at Hell’s Gate.
10. Become a human bubble
Have you ever imagined rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball? Tick it off your bucket list and head to ZORB Rotorua, the only place to zorb in New Zealand. Choose from four thrilling tracks – go straight down the hill, tackle the six corners on the Sidewinder Track, swing and drop your way down on the Big Drop Track or take on the extreme Mega Track, the steepest in the world!