Top 10 things to do in Rotorua
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From the moment you arrive in Rotorua, you’ll realise why the region is one of New Zealand’s most renowned tourist destinations. This paradise holds a thousand and one natural wonders, from hot springs, geysers, mud pools, and soothing geothermal springs. Its rugged terrain, lakes, and rivers are the perfect places to try out your hiking and fishing skills. Rotorua is also home to the Te Arawa tribe and has maintained close ties to its native Maori culture—a culture its residents love to share with visitors.
Best of all, TOP 10 Holiday Parks has two locations in Rotorua, Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park and Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park. Both of which are located close to the action so you can experience the amazing region with the comfort of modern facilities, paired with that warm North Island hospitality.
To help you get started on your next adventure, we’ve put together our top ten must-do experiences in Rotorua!
Tamaki Maori Village
Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua, North Island - Image: All credits to Tamaki Moari Village
No visit to Rotorua is complete without a dive into the area’s rich culture. At Tamaki Maori Village, you can experience a wealth of Maori traditions in a single evening of power-packed song, dance, and storytelling—all capped off with a hangi, a delicious feast cooked underground on hot stones.
The evening begins with the haere mai—a cry of welcome, followed by a powhiri, the traditional welcome ceremony. Re-enactors perform traditional daily activities as you pass by intricately decorated houses and wend your way to the wharenui—the meeting house. There, you’ll experience a traditional haka dance and songs as you anticipate the steamy goodness of the hangi.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Champagne Pool, Wai o Tapu, New Zealand - Image: Moritz / Pixabay
You’ll think you stepped onto the shores of an alien world when you enter this breathtaking thermal wonderland. Thousands of years of geothermal activity has sculpted some of the most stunning scenery on the planet. Neon-bright geothermal pools, sulphur mud baths, and the Lady Knox, a geyser that erupts at a precise time every morning await your exploration. The park is cashless, so be sure to bring your credit cards.
Hobbiton™ Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand - Image: Regina Thompson / Flickr
Though not in Rotorua proper, this nearby tourist attraction in Matamata is a must for Lord of the Rings fans and movie buffs alike. Buses leave from Rotorua twice daily to take you to the actual movie set. Wander through the green Shire pastures as you experience the beauty of the Kaimai Mountains in the background. Peer into the Hobbit Holes, and then cap off your tour with a complimentary beverage in the set’s famed Green Dragon Inn.
Planning a trip to Hobbiton while staying at Rotorua?
Stay at: Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park or Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park and catch departing buses located at the Hobbiton Movie Set Shop, 1235 Fenton Street Rotorua.
Or stay at Cambridge TOP 10 Holiday Park, located just 30 minutes’ from Hobbiton.
Hell's Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa
Hell's Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa, Rotorua - Image: Hell’s Gate / Facebook
For the ultimate RnR, reserve yourself a spa day at Hell's Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa. Its pure geothermal mud and waters of Tikitere were once bathed in by Māori warriors, soothing battle-scarred bodies for centuries. Today, guests can enjoy the nutrient-rich water to relax and soothe your body and spirit. Suitable for couples on a romantic getaway, adventurers looking for some much-needed relaxation, and families with kids!
Skyline Rotorua Gondola and Wine Tasting
Skyline Rotorua located on the side of Mount Ngongotaha, Rotorua - Image: Eric Pratt / Flickr
Pair your glass of wine with incredible scenery as you board the Skyline Rotorua Gondola. Sweeping vistas surround you as you make your way up the dormant Mount Ngongotaha volcano. At the top, savour a glass of wine and a bite to eat as you take in the incredible views. Stop by the tasting room to sample the Volcanic Hills Winery’s offerings. Once you’ve tasted their incredible wines, you’ll want to buy a couple of bottles to take home.
Masked Love Bird, Rainbow Springs Nature Park, Rotorua - Image: Ryan Everton / Flickr
At Rainbow Springs, you can learn all about the magnificent range of wildlife that call this land home. Kiwi birds, tuatara, kea, kaka, rainbow trout—you’ll see them all. Get up close and personal with a guided tour. The park’s knowledgeable guides will provide you with all the information you want to know about these amazing creatures.
Cap off your day with the park’s Big Splash ride, where you’ll enjoy nine thrilling minutes gliding through the park’s lush landscape, ending with a huge splash as your boat hits the water below.
Rotorua Canopy Tours
Rotorua Canopy Tours, Rotorua - Image: Shuze Wang / Flickr
If adventure is your thing, you won’t want to miss Rotorua’s legendary Canopy Tours. In this eco-tour, you’ll explore the forests that dot the North Island with zip lines, swinging bridges, and more thrilling ways to get around.
Choose from the original adventure—or if you’re keen for a bolder experience, choose the Ultimate Canopy Tour.
Rotorua Night Market
Rotorua Night Market, Rotorua - Image: Rotorua NZ
If you love shopping, you’ll want to reserve your Thursday night for a stroll through this charming market. Whether you like handmade crafts, original art, or fresh produce, you’ll find something you’re guaranteed to love.
A wealth of ethnic cuisines—from Maori to French and more will delight your taste buds as you take in the sounds of the town’s finest street musicians.
Stay at: Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park which is just a short 13-minute walk from the markets!
Government Gardens, Rotorua - Image: Lei Sheldon/ Pixabay
Perched near the shore of Lake Rotorua, this historic site is a must-see. From its incredible Tudor buildings to its beautifully restored Blue Baths, there’s something for everyone. Roses and other flowers are everywhere, while for sports lovers, a nine-hole course, driving range, 18-hole mini putt, batting cages, bowling, and croquet provide something for everyone.
Kids will enjoy the welcoming play area as their parents stroll around the rose gardens. After a day of fun, adults will love to stop by the Polynesian Spa for a soothing soak or a relaxing massage.
Agrodome, Rotorua - Image: Robert Linsdell/ Flickr
Tucked into 350 acres of rich farmland, this working farm tour features their Farmland Nursery, where you can pet baby animals, take a guided tour of the farm facilities, and sample some of the farm’s produce, such as their renowned honey and kiwifruit juice. The Woolen Mill and Shearing Museum allow you to follow your favourite woollen sweater’s trip from shearing time to your closet.
Where to stay in Rotorua
Can’t wait to start your Rotorua adventure? Book your stay at a TOP 10 Holiday Park in Rotorua to make the most out of your itinerary. Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park is located in the heart of the city, with shopping and dining right at your fingertips. This 5-star Holiday Park offers modern facilities, award-winning service, and a spectacular mineral pool!
Meanwhile, Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park is conveniently located halfway between Rotorua’s thermal wonderland and the famous Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest. Here, you’ll experience the stunning The Blue Lake (Tikitapu) at your doorstep. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, water skiing or simply taking in the gorgeous surrounds.
Either way, you’ll enjoy amazing facilities with friendly and attentive staff.