About Rotorua

Welcome to the best volcanic, geothermal and cultural city in the world

Rotorua is the lifestyle destination of choice for professional couples, families and people that have a passion for life and the outdoors. It’s New Zealand’s playground and a draw card to millions of visitors from around the world. It’s a small city, compact and safe and easily accessible to nearly 50% of the country’s population.

Rotorua is the heart of New Zealand. It’s also an ‘untapped’ jewel full of potential, just waiting to be realised by people like you.


Rotorua has a population of 78,900. This includes 68,900 residents and on average 10,000 daily visitors. In summer the total population peaks to 100,000.


Rotorua has a moderate climate. The Summer temperatures on average range between 22-26 degrees. In Winter the average temperature range between 10-16 degrees.


The total size of the Rotorua district is 261,906 hectares. This consists of 41% forest, 43% agriculture and 8% lakes. Rotorua’s central business district (CBD) is located on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua.

The city is nestled in a huge, ancient caldera 20km across at its widest point and 16km at the narrowest, with Lake Rotorua nearly 300 metres above sea level.


What are the free activities in Rotorua?

Redwood Forest, Kuirau Park, Government gardens, lakes, Mountain Bike trails, forest walks, markets


Where can we freedom camp?

There is no freedom camping within the city and at lakeside locations. However, there are a number of full-service Holiday Parks.


What walks can we do in the Rotorua area?

Visit the i-SITE for info on all the free walks in the region.


Where can we see a geyser?

Te Puia, Whakarewarewa and Wai-O-Tapu.


What activities are good for young children?

Rotorua Museum, Paradise Valley Springs, Rainbow Springs, Agrodome, Skyline, Duck Tours & Polynesian Spa.


Do any restaurants sell Hangi?

No, however we have hangi and concert experiences during the evening.


Where can we swim in the hot springs?

Polynesian Spa, QE Spa, Waikite Valley Pools, Hells Gate, Manupiria Hot Springs, and the Blue Baths are all managed sites and an entry fee is required. Kerosene Creek, Butchers Pool, Hot Water Beach and Hot & Cold are free and not managed.


What can you recommend me to do in Rotorua?

Rotorua is Famous for Maori Culture, Geothermal Wonders, Mountain Biking, the large number of lakes and rivers and also its fun activities.


Where can we see a Kiwi?

Kiwi people you are able to see almost anywhere. The Kiwi bird can be seen at Te Puia and Rainbow Springs.


Where can I see the Haka?

Te Puia and Whakarewarewa are day time experiences and Mitai, Tamaki, Pohutu, Matariki, Sudima, Millennium are night time experiences.


How can we walk on Mt Tarawera?

You can’t. Tour by helicopter only at this stage


Where can I buy an authentic Maori carving?

Te Puia, Rotorua Museum, Whakarewarewa, souvenir shops and Ohinemutu Village.


Can you recommend somewhere for me to stay?

We have a selection of motels and hotels. Visit the i-SITE for some tips on where to stay.


Where can I visit a Lake?

Lake Rotorua is a 5 minute walk from the centre of town and the other 17 lakes are about 20 minutes driving from the city.


Why does Rotorua smell?

Due to the thermal activity underground.


What can we do in the rain?

Rotorua Museum, Agrodome, Drift kartz, Kiwi Encounter and other activities if you don’t mind getting wet. The i-SITE Rotorua has a free list for visitors.


Where can we drive to get a view of Rotorua?

Either drive up Mt Ngongotaha along Mountain Rd or you can get a nice view from the Gondola at Skyline.


How safe is Rotorua?

New Zealand is one of the safest countries to visit in the world. Crime is low in Rotorua and problems can generally be avoided by using common sense.


How do I know the services and activities will be of a high standard?

Wherever you see a Qualmark® you can rest assured you’re in for superior service. Accommodation is graded between one and five stars within its category.

Activities and Transport are endorsed based on meeting safety standards within their category.


Which side of the road do New Zealanders drive on?

The left. So if you’re American, European or Asian, a bit of adjustment is required whereas English and Australians will feel right at home.


Is it safe to swim in the lakes and rivers?

With 18 lakes and three major rivers Rotorua is a haven for water babies.

However, there are some areas that can be a little dangerous (rivers with rapids) and lakes that are tapu (sacred) to Maori so if you’re ever unsure, see what the locals do and follow their lead. When taking a tip in natural hot pools, it’s advised you keep your head above the water.