Cosy winter itineraries for families, couples and solo travellers

With another hot summer done and dusted, why not plan a cheeky little chilled-out weekend in Rotorua?

Autumn and winter are great times to travel – the temps are cooler for roadies, the busy tourist season is waning, and Mother Nature starts her colourful transformation. Rotorua’s central location, natural playground, geothermal features and cultural attractions create the perfect getaway destination.

Solo adventurers

You may arrive on your own, but you’ll definitely leave Rotorua with more friends. Kiwis and travellers are great companions and here are some activities that foster connection and kinship.

Day 1

Check into your accommodation at Jack’s Hut, the most perfect little historic shepherd’s hut you’ve ever seen. Take in the incredible views of Lake Tarawera from the porch swing or the outdoor tub.
Experience our stunning lakes district, vibrant geothermal reserves and remarkable volcanoes with one of Volcanic Air’s heli or floatplane tours (pictured at top on the summit of Mt Tarawera).
Enjoy a twilight glow worm tour with Paddle Board Rotorua. The combination of sunset paddle boarding and magical glow worm caves at night creates a truly unique experience. Wetsuits and water shoes are provided to keep you warm.

Day 2

Start your day flying through an ancient native forest canopy on a network of ziplines and traversing swing bridges and a 50-metre high cliff walk with Rotorua Canopy Tours, voted the World’s Best Nature Experience by Tripadvisor.

Book in for an indulgent Restorative Journey spa and hot pools experience at the new $60 million Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa.
Finish your day with an amazing Māori cultural experience and delectable dinner at Te Pā Tū.

Day 3

Before wrapping up your Rotorua holiday, a visit to our world-renowned Whakarewarewa Forest is a must. Several walking tracks from 2km and longer provide the perfect setting to unwind and refresh, take in the crisp, clean forest air, and wander among 75-metre-tall California redwoods and fern-filled understory. Access is free. 

A couple’s time out

From high adventure activities to relaxing hot pools and Māori cultural experiences, Rotorua is a fantastic place to rejuvenate, relax and rekindle.

Day 1

Check into your accommodation at Kokako Retreat. It’s a bit remote but this bespoke, eco-friendly B&B is 100% worth it.
Starting with a coffee in one hand and your favourite person’s hand in the other, enjoy a stroll along the beautiful Lake Ōkāreka boardwalk. It’s just 12km from the city centre but you’ll feel a world away in this beautiful, serene nature reserve.
Now that you’ve got the legs warmed up, why not hit dirt gold on Rotorua’s world-renowned mountain biking trails? Head to Te Pūtake o Tawa carpark on Tarawera Road, hire an electric mountain bike and ride New Zealand’s newest Great Ride, the 33km Whakarewarewa Forest Loop.

You’ve earned a relaxing treat so head over to Secret Spot Hot Tubs for a 45-minute soak in your own freshwater cedar hot tub (don’t forget to try the cold plunge pools, too). While you’re there, grab a smash burger and other street food options from the food truck.

Day 2

Another activity to get the heart racing is whitewater rafting the world-famous Kaituna River. This awa offers everything from a gentle grade 2 scenic section, through to full-on grade 5 action featuring the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall.
Head to the Rotorua Lakefront for an adrenaline-infused 85km/hour jet boat ride with Katoa Jet.
When Te Puia guides sneak you in through a secret passage and down a dark tunnel, you’ll feel like you’ve been given special back-stage access to this famous geothermal valley at night after the park has ‘closed’. The amazing thing is that if you’ve visited during the day, the Geyser by Night tour will look and feel completely different.

Day 3

Explore Whakarewarewa - The Living Māori Village, an authentic settlement where people live, using the natural geothermal resources to cook, bathe and heat their homes as they have for centuries. Experience the warmth and authenticity of guides who are direct descendants of the legacy guides who shaped the beginnings of the New Zealand tourism industry. Their insights, knowledge and legendary manaakitanga (hospitality) add depth and richness to your cultural journey.

Fun with your whānau

Families have been making Rotorua their holiday destination for decades. There’s just so many awesome activities for kids young and old to love.

Day 1

Check into your accommodation. We suggest booking the family studio unit at Aura Accommodation, tucked away in a quiet street near the city centre.
Grab your swim gear and head to ZORB to zoom down the side of Mt Ngongotahā in a clear, giant, inflated ball. ZORB ballss can fit up to three people and you’ve got three amazing tracks to choose from.
Head down the road a smidge to Skyline Rotorua where a gondola ride takes you up another part of Mt Ngongotahā. From up here, you can race each other down the mountain on five different Luge tracks through the forest, corkscrew turns and lighted tunnels. If you work up an appetite, Market Kitchen onsite has great options for lunch, including hand-scooped ice creams.
This evening, Redwoods Treewalk and Nightlights will immerse you in 75-metre-tall redwoods as you cross 23 eco-suspended bridges and platforms through the stunning natural environment.

Day 2

Head about 20 minutes south of town to Waimangu Volcanic Valley for a self-guided tour of the fascinating geothermal features created by the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera. Add on Lake Rotomahana boat cruise to see even more volcanic activity from a unique perspective.
You’re in the neighbourhood of Waikite Valley Hot Pools, off the beaten path and set in a relaxing rural location. Here, several hot pools await, as well as Te Manaroa Spring Walkway and Eco-Trail to the largest single source of boiling water in New Zealand.
Watch, hear, feel and taste our Māori culture come to life at Mitai Māori Village through authentic live performances of songs, dances and games, including the fierce haka. Finish with an authentic hāngī dinner onsite.

Day 3

Top off your awesome holiday with family favourites Agrodome and The National Kiwi Hatchery, which are now at the same location.

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