Fun things to do in Rotorua

  • A Good Show
    A Good Show
    by rabbit06
  • Te Puia
    by elpariente
  • Ohinemutu Maori Village and War Memorial
    by elpariente

Most Viewed Things to Do in Rotorua

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    Rotorua Tourist Information

    by Gillybob Updated Jun 21, 2014

    A visit to the i-SITE on your arrival in Rotorua will help you uncover the hidden gems that will make your visit truly memorable.

    Rotorua i-SITE is staffed by a friendly group of staff who can assist with both advice and planning for Rotorua's sightseeing, accommodation and activities. It is conveniently located at the coach stop for Intercity coaches arriving from various locations. The staff can assist you in making bookings for your accommodation and activities for a unique Rotorua experience.

    i-SITEs are the place to go for information on attractions, accommodation, rental cars, buses, events and much more in New Zealand's main locations. If you are using the staff to make bookings, there are no service fees.

    The i-SITe also has a selection of maps and brochures if the place is busy and you don't have time to wait.

    Rorotura i-SITE is also the depot for nationalcoach and bus services, as well as a pick up and drop off point for tours and shuttle services. There are also washroom and shower facilities within the building and a small cafe.

    Rotorua i-SITE Entrance Library of Leaflets
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    Pohutu Geyser

    by MJL Written Mar 10, 2013

    The geothermal area is very near Te Puia. There are boiling mud pools, a very hot springs and Pohutu Geyser. I heard that Pohutu spurts water and steam up to air regular basis. When I was there it did not spurts.

    Pohutu Geyser Boiling Mud Pools

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    Waikite Valley

    by dutchboycalledjan Written Jan 31, 2013

    The trip to the valley (we came from the direction of Taupo) is already worth the detour. What a views. Then there are the clouds of steam coming from a crack in the mountain side, covered in bush. We decided to have a swim and ended up in one of the private pools. Well worth the visit: the water is continuously refreshed, you can mix it as hot as you like. The water is clear, a bit soapy. Relaxed while looking over the trees and ferns.

    After that, we walked the "eco" trail to the spring, boiling water rising from the depths.
    The pool features a small cafe.

    Paradise in clouds Hot tub So called Cooling down
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    Thermal Pools

    by rabbit06 Updated Sep 24, 2011

    While in Rotorua you must take a swim or soak in one of this regions nataural thermally heated pools. They are really great for you especially if you have the odd ache or pain like Rabbit, they just disapear or a dip before bed, a great night's sleep......fantastic!

    Soothing! Come On In The Waters Fine!
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    Maori Cultural Show & Hungi Dinner

    by rabbit06 Updated Sep 23, 2011

    A must attend is a Maori Cultural Show with Hungi Dinner with many villages and hotels providing a memorable evening. We attended this one at Sudima Hotel were we were staying. It started with a Hungi (Maori style cooking) dinner including NZ lamb, the meat just fell apart with an assortment of fresh vegetables, you will not go away hungry and Rabbit had seconds lol. Also included in the desert's was Shirley's favourite, the famous NZ Pavlova...omg she was so happy!! Followed by a Maori Cultural Show with traditional singing and dancing which was very very good, even having audience participation at the end...lmao. A good time was had by all!

    A Good Show Great! Our Table Famous Pavlova! Audience Participation...LOL
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    Casa de Baños -Museo / Bath House - Museum

    by elpariente Written Jan 28, 2010

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    Rotorua hizo un gran esfuerzo para reconstruir su industria del turismo después de la erupción del volcán Tarawera y por eso construyeron esta Casa de Baños de estilo Tudor aprovechando las aguas minerales y termales que existen en la zona . Tuvo su época gloriosa y también fue centro de recuperación para los soldados que estuvieron en la Primera Guerra Mundial , convirtiéndose actualmente en un museo de Arte e Historia en el que se pueden ver las antiguas instalaciones del balneario , recuerdos del Batallón Maorí y la galeria de los Arawa , tribu Maorí que vivió en esta zona
    Lo mejor es dar un paseo por el parque , ver el edificio y si puedes únete a las visitas guiadas que las hace una señora genial

    Rotorua dids a great effort to rebuild its tourism industry after the eruption of Mount Tarawera and therefore they built the Bathhouse that is a Tudor-style building and they took advantage of the mineral and thermal waters that exist in the area. It had glory days and it was also used as recovery centre for soldiers who served in World War I, becoming now in a Museum of Art and History , in which one can see the ancient spa facilities, memories of the Maori Battalion and a gallery of the Arawa , Maori tribe who lived in this area
    The best is to take a walk in the park, see the building and if you can try to join a guided tour that is made by a great lady

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    Day trip to the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

    by BurgerQueen Updated Jul 12, 2009

    Waitomo is 140km away from Rotorua, and since you cannot miss the spectacular "glow worm cave", I suggest organising a half-day trip.
    The Waitomo glowworms are unique to New Zealand, though it is possible to find them in some Australian caves as well.
    Glowworms need a wet and dark environment, they sparkle in the dark to attarct mosquitoes to feed.
    Since the cave very dark, it will take for your eyes some time to get used to it; in the meanwhile a guide will provide you with a lot of info on the cave and its inhabitants. Gloworms are concentrated on the final part of the cave, that can be reached on boat only. Once on the boat you're no more allowed to talk, and you'll be silently driven in the darkness, untill you'll see one of the most beautiful spectacles in your life: the glowworms sparkling in the dark gives the impression of a starry night... priceless!
    The entrance ticket costs 28NZ$.

    Related to:
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    • National/State Park

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    Realm of Tane

    by jag17 Updated Mar 24, 2007

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    As part of the Maori hangi and concert, we were given the opportunity to purchase tickets to the Realm of Tane. At the time, I wasn't really sure what I was signing up for. It turned out to be a seperate performance that we attended earlier in the day. An interactive story in which a grandmother is passing down the culture/stories of her childhood to her grandaughter. Part guided tour, character theater, and story telling. My friend and I were the only one in attendance which seemed a little odd at first, but the cast did a great job of performing, and it was very touching. We really felt like we had attended something special as we lef the theater.

    Theater Entrance
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    The Colourful Thermal Wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu

    by Kakapo2 Written Feb 7, 2007

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    This really is a place to go if you are interested in geothermal activity. Wai-O-Tapu - which means Sacred Waters and is only 30kms from Rotorua - has some unique features like The Lady Knox Geyser and the Champagne Pool.

    But be prepared to meet loads of tourists as everybody tries to be there at 10.15am. This is the time of the guaranteed daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser which was discovered in 1901 by prisoners who had to clear the area. Those prisoners also found out that the geyser could be made to erupt by throwing soap into the bubbling water. By coincidence, of course. They were just washing their clothes in the hot water. Soon the place was transformed into a tourist attraction and named after the daughter of Lord Ranfurly, the 15th Governor of NZ, Lady Constance Knox.

    At the start rocks had been placed around the base of the spring, and within the past 100 years silica from the eruptions built up a white cone which makes the spring look like the vent of a volcano. A ranger throws a cake of soap into this opening, and soon after the geyser erupts, the hot water reaching heights of up to 20 metres, and the eruption can last for an hour.

    Whereas in Rotorua you have the rotten egg smell of sulphur in your nose everywhere Wai-O-Tapu offers the full palette of colours geothermal activity can create. The Artists's Palette displays spots of different colours and shades, depending on the minerals the water contains.

    Yellow: sulphur
    Orange: antimony sulphide
    White: silicon sulphide
    Green: arsenic sulphide
    Purple: manganese
    Red and brown: iron oxide and iron oxyhydrate
    Black: sulphur and carbon

    The most impressive feature is the 74°C hot Champagne Pool with green water, and striking orange rocks all around the pool. On the water surface you see big bubbles which are created by carbon dioxide. It is the biggest pool in the area. The mud pools are also fantastic.

    Other formations have the promising names Devil's Home, Rainbow Crater, Thunder Crater, Devil's Ink Pots, Opal Pool and Inferno Crater.

    The bubbling Champagne Pool is 74��C hot. The Lady Knox Geyser erupts daily at 10.15am.
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    Te Puia + "Whaka": The Divided Attractions

    by Kakapo2 Updated Feb 6, 2007

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    On my first NZ trips Te Puia and Whakarewarewa at the city limits of Rotorua were still one attraction for which you had to pay one entry fee. At the end of the 1990s there was an argument and the geothermal site was divided, even "Whaka" itself, and since 1998 you have two tourist attractions side by side. So it is up to you to make a choice as nearly the same things are offered, geothermal wonders and Maori culture.

    Although we have been there with nearly no other tourists around it can happen that the thermal reserves are totally overcrowded with busloads of tourists. If you do not mind this and have limited time it still is a good place for getting an impression. However, the geothermally much more spectacular and colourful places are Waiotapu and Orakei Korako.

    Whakarewarewa (the wh is pronounced as f) is only a third of its original size and features bubbling mud holes, hot pools, steaming and sulphor stinking flats, as well as Maori carvings, a meeting house and stage where you can twice daily enjoy a culture show. It is now known as The Thermal Village which really has kept its original village feeling. You can explore the place on your own or join a guided tour, and I clearly prefer it to Te Puia - and it is cheaper ;-)

    However, the main attraction of "Whaka", the very active Pohutu geyser, is now on the other side of the fence and belongs to Te Puia. But it can still be seen from the "Whaka" area, and it erupts several times a day and does not need to be fed by soap to erupt like the famous Lady Knox Geyser at Waiotapu.

    Te Puia did not only get Pohutu but also the other two thirds of the original Whakarewarewa. Officially it is The New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. You can watch Maori artists carve and wave houses, canoes, weapons, jewellery and clothes and also buy the very expensive products. They also have a Kiwi House with two or so kiwis, and offer guided tours and cultural perfomances with song and dance, including a hangi which is the traditional Maori meal from the earth oven.

    The travelling bear in front of Pohutu geyser.
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    Hours and Admissions for Whakarewarewa + Te Puia

    by Kakapo2 Written Feb 6, 2007

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    Whakarewarewa - The Thermal Village

    Open 8.30am-5pm, 12 guided tours from 9am, Maori shows 11.15am and 2pm, admission $23/children 11.50 (includes all this).
    Hangi (meals) 12noon-2.30pm, $50/26.50; hangi taster only $15, full hangi $30; interactive package (you prepare your hangi, make a food basket from flax etc.) $60/39.

    Whakarewarewa Thermal Village
    9a Tukiterangi Street
    Whakarewarewa Village, Rotorua
    Freephone (0800) 924 426, Tel. (07) 349 3463

    Te Puia

    Open 8am-6pm (in summer), guided tours hourly 9am-4pm, concert at 12.15pm and 3.15pm, admission NZ$28/children 14 includes all this.
    Song, dance and feast 6.15pm (lasts 3 hrs) - NZ$85/50.
    Combo of Admission and evening show $101/57.50.

    Hemo Road, Rotorua
    Tel. (07) 348 9047
    Book online or by Fax (07) 348 9045

    Maori performance at Whakarewarewa.
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    The Agrodome: Far too touristy but still great

    by Kakapo2 Written Feb 6, 2007

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    A visit to the Agrodome in Rotorua is as touristy as it can get. But still it is great fun and I am happy that I was there for the sheep show.

    I yawned over the cheap jokes of the presenter who welcomed the public in 20 languages or so, and did not tire to bore me with his endless research if perhaps someone from Myanmar or the moon was among us, as probably he can say Hello in Burmese and Moonish. And well, as you share the big hall with approximately a million people there is a chance that one of them is from another planet. Believe me, it is a very tiring introduction.

    But when this is over the show is just great and worth to ignore with how many people you have to share the fun.

    First 19 sheep of 19 different breeds run onto the stage and right onto their place on the podium which carries the name tags of all breeds. When they have reached their designated spot they chew on the food pellets provided in little containers and seem to be bored. Those sheep are not to be compared to the sheep that flee from you on the paddocks when stop to take a photo. Those sheep do not even mind when a bunch of farmdogs run over their backs and finally sit on them. Most action is shaking the head as if asking why they have to perform the same and same rubbish again and again... Well, they are just fantastic!

    Also the sheep that comes to stage for shearing is not scared at all. Perhaps it would even extend and contract its limbs without this microphone guy touching it at its soft spots.

    Then a cow appears and some tourists have the chance to milk it on stage, and at the end some lambs nearly run over the tourists who have been chosen to bottle-feed them. Absolutely cute, of course :-)

    True: Although I hate such masses of people, silly comments and cheap jokes I would go there again!

    If you can't get enough make the farm tour, visit the woollen mill and the shearing shed.

    3 shows daily at 9.30am, 11am and 2.30pm

    Rates (as Feb. 2007):
    adults $22, children $11
    Organic farming tour $28/13
    Combo of both $45/20

    A Drysdale (left) and Dorset sheep chatting ;-) Every sheep at the right spot. The sheep do not mind the dogs on their backs. Sheep shearing is part of the show. Titan the giant sheep statue at the Agrodome.
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    Feel the Power of Nature at the Buried Village

    by Kakapo2 Written Feb 5, 2007

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    It is described as New Zealand's Pompeii. Whereas Pompeii, buried by an eruption of Vesuvius, was a big city, Te Wairoa was a small but growing village, being the gateway to the then famous Pink and White Terraces. The eruption of Mt. Tarawera on 10 June 1886 killed 151 people and buried Te Wairoa and two smaller villages under heavy ash and mud. Also the Pink and White Terraces disappeared. They had been a major tourist attraction at the time and also branded as one of the many eighth world wonders.

    Te Wairoa, east of Rotorua, has been excavated and is now known as the Buried Village. The Maori huts are still half filled with the petrified ash and mud which makes you imagine at least a little how disastrous the forces of nature can be.

    To me it is a memorial and always reminds me of the destructive potential of nature we admire so much for all its beauty. There could not be a more appropriate place for such a memorial which indeed is also a graveyard, as the volcanic plateau around Rotorua and Taupo is still active, and disaster could strike again and at a far huger scale. If Lake Taupo, just a crater lake, erupts again half of the North Island would be lost forever.

    Also to Maori Te Wairoa has immense historical, cultural and spiritual value. You feel it when you walk on the paths, they are surrounded by a mysterious atmosphere, but also full of peacefulness and tranquility. The trees around the excavated huts with their moss-covered rooves are tall, and give the place a fresh and cool airyness. A scenic walk leads to the Wairere Falls and the Wairoa stream.

    The museum tells the story of the place and holds artifacts which were found during the excavations, and information about archaelogy and volcanology.

    Entry fees (as Feb. 2007):
    Adults $25, children $7, family passes available.

    Excavated house at the Buried Village.
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    The Costume

    by keeweechic Updated Sep 10, 2006

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    The Maori costume is called a kakahu. It is woven from the fibres of the flax plant. Usually a tiki pendant is worn by both women and men around the neck. The tiki is made of green stone, or New Zealand jade, and is in the shape of a foetus. The women can also wear mako, or shark-tooth earrings.

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    Jambalaya Festival

    by MLW20 Written Aug 17, 2006

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    If you are in Rotorua Easter Sunday there is a performance at night called Jambalaya. There are performers from all over the world (many from Brazil). There is lots of drumming and dancing. The performers wear cool costumes and some even juggle fire.

    We happened to find out about the parade when we were walking back to our hotel. It was really worth watching. The whole procession took about 30 minutes.

    The parade took place at night and started near the water on Tutanekai Street.

    Young chicas dancing Parade Banner Drumming Dancers Funny face-she must be really into the dance
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