No car? No worries!
Being located in the centre of the North Island means Rotorua is easy to get to from almost anywhere. And, the time you’ll spend travelling to and from the city’s famous activities is minimal, with many attractions located right in the city – easily accessed by foot, bike, bus or shuttle.
From the airport
Rotorua Airport is proudly the gateway to and from the Central North Island. If you plan to fly to Rotorua, you’ll appreciate there are daily direct flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and connecting flights from many other cities.
From the airport, the city centre is just 10 minutes’ drive, so taxis, Ubers and shuttle services are reasonably priced when compared to bigger cities.
The lime-green CityRide public buses travel every hour for 365 days a year between the airport and downtown Rotorua. Check out the BayBus Route 10 for days and times.
New Zealand’s major rental car and campervan brands such as Hertz, Avis, Thrifty and others are located within the arrivals terminal. You can hire vehicles on a pre-booked, or walk-up basis, subject to availability.
Rotorua Airport makes travelling with bikes easier too, so if you’re bringing yours, check out their Bike Zone options.
Around town by bike
Biking around the city is easy and, with the popularity of mountain biking in our Whakarewarewa Forest, you’ll find several bike shops in town, in case you need any repairs, parts, trail maps or gear.
If you don’t have your own bike, Electric Bike Rotorua offers e-cruisers and e-mountain bikes for rent, perfect for eco-touring around town at your own pace, or experiencing the amazing mountain biking trails. In fact, the new 33km Whakarewarewa Forest Loop is perfect for e-mountain bikes.
Visit Electric Bike Rotorua at one of their two locations: in the city centre on Fenton Street, or the newest office on Tryon Street near Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village, which gives you immediate access to the trails in the forest.
Shuttles to activities and attractions
Ready2Roll Shuttles and Day Tours is a family run and operated company who offer their clients an experience rather than just a journey. Not only do they provide airport transfer (with a stop to stock your milk and coffee for the hotel, if needed, or to check out a view en route), but they have a selection of tours to offer your group (and your group only), or you can work with them on a bespoke itinerary. The team was recently entrusted to transport Robin Roberts and crew from Good Morning America who filmed live from Te Puia.
Rotorua i-SITE Visitor Information Centre has also organised round-trip shuttle services to Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, which are both located about 30km south of Rotorua. A $99 fee covers round-trip transport AND your entry fee to these amazing geothermal sites. These are just a couple of the deals available through the i-SITE.
Boats, jetboats and floatplanes to secluded hot pools
Two popular yet secluded hot springs and hot pools are accessible only by water craft or floatplanes.
Manupirua Springs Hot Pools on beautiful Lake Rotoiti is accessible only by boat or floatplane. This little haven boasts eight hot pools and has been rated one of New Zealand’s best hot pool locations and is open 365 days. Visitors can also whizz down the slide and into the refreshing lake to cool off, paddle in the hot water beach, or grab a snack from the café onsite.
Lake Rotoiti Hot Pools Water Taxi offers a 2.5-hour experience that leaves daily from the VR Lake Rotorua marina at Okawa Bay on Lake Rotoiti.
One of Katoa Lake Rotorua’s jetboat tours takes a leisurely cruise across Lake Rotorua, through the Ohau Channel and into Lake Rotoiti to access Manupirua Springs Hot Pools.
Volcanic Air’s two-hour floatplane experience sees guests take off from Lake Rotorua and make a splash landing on Lake Rotoiti to enjoy a soak at Manupirua Springs Hot Pools. After you’ve had time to relax and enjoy the thermal pools, the floatplane will lift off the water once more and bring you back to their centrally located base.
Totally Tarawera offers a number tours, with the most popular one taking guests to Te Rātā Bay and Hot Water Beach on Lake Tarawera to enjoy geothermal pools along the lake’s edge, and to a secluded natural hot pool for a relaxing soak.
Totally Tarawera also offers a water taxi service with drop-offs and pick-ups three times daily to Hot Water Beach (they also provide one-way service to the head of Tarawera Trail and other popular walking tracks around Lake Tarawera). Camping is allowed at Hot Water Beach, as well. Booking the water taxi and/or camping in advance is essential.