The borders are opening! If a memorable holiday is on your must-do list, check out all the NEW things to do in Rotorua.
On two wheels
The recently opened 33km Whakarewarewa Forest Loop is a circular mountain biking route, one way, through its famous namesake forest. The Grade 2 trail (with some Grade 3 bits) has been designed to be accessible for people of almost all ages, abilities and fitness levels. Riders, including those on e-bikes, are loving it, and the trail builders hope it will gain New Zealand Cycle Trails’ Great Ride status. Click the link above for more details, FAQs, and how to plan your ride.
At Whakarewarewa - The Living Māori Village, the self-guided Whaka Geothermal Trails walking tour introduced in 2020 was such a hit that the team at Whakarewarewa Village have taken that exploration experience to the next level. They’ve teamed up with Electric Bike Rotorua to offer an exclusive Whaka E-Bike Trail experience into previously non-accessible areas of the Whakarewarewa Valley Reserve.
This is a great leisurely outdoor activity for families, couples, and small groups of up to 10, and for nearly all levels of fitness. Children can ride independently or on a dual-carry electric bike, and you can select the two, four, or six-hour bike hire rate, and even take the bikes through our famous Whakarewarewa Forest just a five-minute ride away. In fact, if you’re going for the long haul, pre-order a picnic hamper to take with you.
Near the forest
Secret Spot Hot Tubs, tucked away along the edge of Whakarewarewa Forest, has created a new space for families and friends to hang out and enjoy a refreshing drink (alcohol or non) and nibbles.
Secret Spot already has the Eddie Out Chill Zone, but when the weather packs it in or it’s a bit chilly, the new BaseCamp safari tent with bar and lots of seating is the perfect backup. Whether you’ve just finished a mountain bike ride, a soak in one of Secret Spot’s freshwater cedar hot tubs or Shinny Dip, or you’re just in the area and looking for a chill place to sit back and relax, check out BaseCamp. Plus, who doesn’t love sitting around a fire, catching up and sharing adventures of the day?
On two feet
Back on foot, follow in the steps of New Zealand’s first tourists, and uncover the stories of the Pink and White Terraces and the Tarawera eruption during The Round Trip at Waimangu Volcanic Valley. This full-day tour includes return transport from Rotorua, guided walk at Waimangu, boat cruises on lakes Rotomahana and Tarawera, and the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.
Up high in the forest
If you’re one of the estimated one million visitors per year who’ve been to Redwoods Treewalk, you’ll want to add this attraction to your Rotorua itinerary again to see – and walk through – the newest lantern added to the suspended forest walkway.
Horoeka Lantern (pictured above and at top), created by world-renowned designer David Trubridge, is a towering nine-metre-tall eco-friendly installation perched 15 metres from the ground. Think treehouse that lights up at dusk! As with the entire Redwoods Treewalk system, the Horoeka Lantern is eco-suspended, using no bolts or anchors into the trees. There’s no additional charge to enjoy the new lantern.
On top of a mountain
Kaitiaki Adventure’s new 6.5-hour Mt Tarawera Volcanic Crater Experience is next level. Through the generosity and vision of mana whenua, Ngāti Rangitihi (Ruawahia2B Trust), an extended option has been made to the world-class crater excursion, adding a hike around the Tarawera dome above lakes Rotomahana and Tarawera, and linking back up with the hugely popular half-day excursion on the summit of the highest of three peaks, Ruawahia.
This culturally steeped hiking expedition encompasses the unique environment and history of the area, including the historic events etched into its landscape. This tour offers guests further world-class views and a deeper dive into the history of one of New Zealand’s pristine natural heritage sites.
On the farm
Rotorua’s favourite farm show is back! After a brief hiatus, Agrodome re-opened has brought back their legendary farm shows that showcase 19 breeds of sheep, including rare and endangered breeds, live sheep-shearing (pictured above), and a fun sheep auction. There are also remarkable farm dogs, cows, ducks, and lots of laughs.
As border re-openings expand and Agrodome hosts more visitors, the offering will be expanded to a full agricultural experience featuring show jumping, Western riding, wood-chopping, honey-spinning and more.