Christmas guides – Give the gift of experiences

What do you get for the person who has everything? You buy them experiences, of course!

Adventure, family fun, luxury spa treatments, and more – vouchers for these activities in Rotorua are perfect for stocking stuffers and the family gift exchange. Know someone who’s gone full Marie Kondo? Gift vouchers are great for minimalists, too, who just don’t want an air fryer, the latest i-gadget or another book.
Every business included in this list has gift vouchers available to purchase online and/or on site in person. Check their websites for more info.

So many adventures, so little time

We’re lucky to have some of the country’s most innovative and clever people living right here in Rotorua who have nothing better to do than invent and create amazing adventure activities for all to enjoy.

Local inventions include ZORB, Shweeb Racer and the Luge.
At ZORB, visitors perform their best Superman dive into a giant inflated ball (pictured above). They’re then handed a GoPro and given a solid shove to roll down the side of Mt Ngongotahā. Choose one of the four different tracks or got whole hog and buy the four-ride combo.
The Shweeb Racer at Velocity Valley is the world’s only pedal-powered monorail track. But this is no boring ride. Two suspended tracks start off side by side then cross over each other and slope up and down, making racing a fellow Shweeb-er a total hoot.  
Families young and old love the Luge at Skyline Rotorua. With three different track options and more than 5kms of track to ride, once is never enough! Riders have full control over the three-wheel, gravity-based luge cart, and little ones can ride tandem with Mum or Dad.
An iconic adventure activity is whitewater rafting. Kaituna River is home to the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall, Tutea Falls, at 7 metres tall. Several rafting companies host this amazing experience which starts out with a few ‘smaller’ waterfalls and some awesome rapids along this beautiful river before descending The Big One.
To mix adventure with a relaxing treat, how about a high-adrenaline jet boat tour with Katoa Lake Rotorua and add in a soak in secluded hot pools along the edge of Lake Rotoiti.
For the super-active people on your Christmas list, send them to Redwoods Altitude where they can channel their inner Indiana Jones on a crazy course of bridges eco-suspended high among towering trees. At the same time, everyone else in the family can enjoy the same forest but through a different perspective at Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights.
Another must-do activity is ziplining through ancient native forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours. Both the Original and the Ultimate tours are incredible experiences your loved ones will remember forever.

Combine New Zealand’s iconic geothermal playground with Māori culture

Spouting geysers, bubbling mud pools, steaming vents, boiling lakes and colourful sinter terraces are just about everywhere in and around Rotorua, and most of them have historic connections to and deep meaning for our Māori population.
Visitors can see, hear, feel and learn about our incredible geothermal reserves, as well as learn about local Māori stories and culture at Te Puia (pictured above), Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village.
If your Secret Santa recipient has “helicopter ride” on their bucket list, or aspires to visit as many mountain summits as possible, purchase a voucher from Volcanic Air (pictured at top) for the former, and Kaitiaki Adventures for the latter. Both offer incredible experiences that take guests on an unforgettable journey to the summit of historic Mount Tarawera, and if you can’t choose one, choose both with the Mt Tarawera Heli Fly/Drive Combo.

Hot pools & spa treatments

We can thank the geothermal activity for the numerous hot pools and spas in Rotorua. If you know someone who’d love a bit of relaxing, pampering ‘me time’, send them to Hell’s Gate, Polynesian Spa, Secret Spot Hot Tubs, or Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. Each place is vastly different from the other, so you might need to toss a coin to choose!

Family faves the put a smile on everyone’s dial

Besides the aforementioned Skyline Rotorua, Heritage Farm Tour and 3D Trick Art Gallery, aMAZEme, and Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park are at the top of the list for younger families.

Budding bird lovers will be enamoured with the tours at The National Kiwi Hatchery, and Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre.

Rotorua Duck Tours feature a different type of bird. Well, not a bird at all, actually. Rather, “duck” is the nickname of the WWII amphibious landing craft that takes visitors through Rotorua’s city and splashes down onto its lakes. It’s a fantastically fun and unique way to view New Zealand’s Lakes Region.
This is just a sample of the awesome experiences available in Rotorua, so be sure to check out the Things To Do section of our website for a whole lot more.

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