Summer's the perfect time for night-time activities!
After you've ticked off your list of daytime activities like rafting the famous Kaituna River, ziplining through an ancient forest canopy, or marvelling at our geothermal landscapes, there's still heaps to do in Rotorua by the light of the moon.
1. Geysers under the stars
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, this new 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.
2. Redwoods Nightlights
Feel the spirit of our iconic Whakarewarewa Forest, aka "the Redwoods", from a bird’s-eye view as you traverse 700 metres of walkways eco-suspended between 110-year-old Californian redwood trees up to 75 metres tall. The award-winning Redwoods Nightlights can be enjoyed during the day and then at night, the experience is brought to life by beautifully designed David Trubridge lighting. With a height ranging from six to 12 metres, this unique experience is a great way to explore nature at night.
3. Journey into the heart of Māori culture
Te Pā Tū (formerly Tamaki Māori Village) has created new guest experiences that celebrate seasonal kai (food) and Māori culture. For Māori, kai is integral to any special gathering, so you'll experience the mystical Ahi Taitai (fire ceremony) before stepping in to the tawa forest canopy for seasonal kai horotai (canapes) and a lantern-lit walk to a lavish three-course family-share hakari (feast).
4. Night-time mini golf with live bunnies
Mini 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.
5. Galaxies of glow worms
Glow 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 (pictured at top). 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, a 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.
6. Grab a bite
All 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 page for ideas, as well as our stories on where to find five great burgers (including the Smash Burger from River's Catch pictured above), your favourite kind of hot chips, where to go to refuel and quench your thirst after an epic mountain bike ride.
We also encourage you to check out the variety of cuisines at Rotorua Night Market every Thursday (weather permitting) from 5-9pm on Tutanekai Street.
7. Enjoy the nightlife
The heart of our nightlife is located on Eat Streat. 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, makes this local hot spot ideal for year-round gathering and dining.