Not satisfied with just daytime activities like whitewater rafting the famous Kaituna River, ziplining through an ancient forest canopy, or marvelling at our geothermal landscapes?
No problem! Many Rotorua tourism businesses have created evening experiences to allow you to see Rotorua in a whole new light. Who needs a proper bedtime on holiday, anyway?
NEW: Te Pā Tū at Tamaki Māori Village
New Zealand’s most-awarded cultural attraction has created a Matariki-inspired experience you don’t want to miss.
Te Pā Tū shares ancient concepts, performance and rituals linked to the Matariki cluster of stars which are high and bright in our winter skies, and mark the start of the new year for Māori.
In this immersive four-hour experience, hosts and guests come together to share ideas, reflect on the year passed and contemplate the year to come. In the Māori culture, food is a key component of any special gathering, especially around the time of Matariki, so you will enjoy seasonal kai horotai (canapés) under the canopy of the enormous tawa forest before being led on a lantern-lit walk to a lavish three-course family-share hākari (feast) (pictured at top) and the mystical Ahi Taitai (fire ceremony).
Geysers by starlight at Te Puia
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’. In fact, the amazing thing is that if you’ve visited during the day, the Geyser by Night tour will look and feel completely different.
Starting at dusk and armed with a flashlight, you’ll be escorted through the park’s three kilometres of night trails that end at the world-famous Pōhutu Geyser. Along the way, your hosts – some who are fifth generation guides – will share the history and stories of the valley, the geothermal features, and the Māori iwi who made this spot their home 170 years ago.
While we don’t want to give everything away, stops in the tour provide tasty treats, including one made using traditional methods.
Nature by night at Redwoods Nightlights
Feel the spirit of our iconic Whakarewarewa Forest from a bird’s-eye view as you traverse 700 metres of walkways eco-suspended up to 20 metres high between towering California redwood trees. The award-winning Redwoods Treewalk can be enjoyed during the day but by night, the experience is brought to life by beautifully designed David Trubridge lanterns, including the newest addition, the nine-metre-tall Horoeka Lantern which you can walk through. This unique experience is a great way to explore nature at night.
Galaxies of glow wormsGlow worms are the highlight of any evening, and when found in abundance they can be as breath-taking as our starry skies.
There are a few ways to find these fascinating creatures. One way is on the water as you’re guided across one of our lakes to hidden caves. Three local companies know the way – you just choose your vessel: aboard a paddle board (SUP) with Paddle Board Rotorua, kayak with River Rats, or Waimarino Kayak Tours’ sea kayak or Canadian canoe.
If you’re more comfortable with feet on terra firma, the Nocturnal Adventure walking tour into the native bush with Real Rotorua is just the ticket. You’re likely to experience other New Zealand wildlife, and you’ll top off this stellar evening by relaxing under the stars.
Hot pools under the stars at Polynesian Spa
If you’ve had a day of non-stop activities and need a bit of pampering before you head home or back to your accommodation, discover why Polynesian Spa has been voted a World Top 10 Spa multiple times by the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Although there 28 thermal pools to choose from, we highly recommend reserving a private pool to enjoy a truly relaxing soak alongside the lake and under the stars.
Night-time Mini Golf Rotorua with live bunniesMini Golf Rotorua at night is a whole new ball game! The 18-hole course is set in a tranquil garden complete with waterfalls, beautiful birds, and roaming rabbits that love your attention. But the best part comes at night when this slice of paradise transforms into a magical wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. Visit this course for a romantic date or fun night out with friends and let the good times roll.
Grab a biteAll your adventures are bound to leave you feeling a little peckish. There are heaps of great dining options in Rotorua, including a wide variety of ethnic foods. Check out our Eat & Drink section for ideas, as well as our stories on the newest eateries in town, where to find five great burgers or our favourite hot chips, where to go to refuel and quench your thirst after an epic mountain bike ride. Or taste the variety of cuisines at Rotorua Night Market every Thursday (weather permitting) from 5-9pm on Tutanekai Street.
Enjoy the nightlife
The heart of our nightlife is located on Eat Streat (pictured above). Found at the lake end of Tutanekai Street, this bustling cluster of a dozen restaurants and bars, and the iconic Lady Janes Ice Cream Parlour offers something for every tastebud. The covered central walkway, thermally heated footpaths, colourful lighting, and live entertainment make this local hot spot ideal for year-round gathering and dining.
Be sure to make time for a stroll along the newly redeveloped Rotorua Lakefront (pictured at bottom), with its beautifully lit boardwalk and gorgeous sculptures along the shore of Lake Rotorua. There is no entry fee.
If you prefer a quieter spot to enjoy a drink or two, Rotorua offers a variety of great hotel bars who serve up signature cocktails, and local and award-winning wines and spirits.
NOTE: Some of the experiences above require booking in advance. Please check individual websites or socials for the latest info and operating hours.