Three-day itinerary for a fun-packed family holiday in Rotorua

When you spot a long holiday weekend just around the corner, here's some help planning the perfect three-day family getaway to Rotorua!

Here’s a guide to help you pack in as much as possible into your three-day family holiday itinerary.

two people happy and smiling in a 4 wheel drive vehicleRotorua is the perfect playground for kids and kids at heart, so put your adventure pants on and get ready for some fun!

Day 1 in Rotorua – Fun-packed family itinerary

Velocity Valley, Off Road NZ or Adventure Playground. All three have multiple activities to get the blood pumping and the laughter flowing. The fun can include Freefall Xtreme, jet boat rides, 4WD self-drives (pictured above at Off Road NZ), clay bird shooting, and the only place in the country where you can race karts imported from France on the same track as the professional racers.
Give yourself at least a couple hours at any of these spots as you’ll have trouble peeling the kids away from all the cool things.

From here, you could head to the city centre to grab some lunch before heading to your pre-booked Tarawera & Lakes Eco-Tour with Rotorua Duck Tours (pictured above). This is your chance to see our beautiful region from a unique perspective – aboard an amphibious WWII vehicle! Duck Tours’ guides keep everyone laughing while exploring some of the spectacular lake scenery and sharing our rich history. This two-hour tour on the back of a “duck” is a must-do.
By now, it might be time to refuel again so head to Eat Streat where nearly a dozen restaurants offer something for even the pickiest eaters. Kids love the board games sitting around at Our House, keeping them occupied until their food arrives.

After dinner is the perfect time to experience the award-winning eco-tour called Redwoods Treewalk (pictured above). Starting this experience at dusk means you get great views of the forest around and below you. As the sun sets, the fairy lights and oversized lanterns come to life and 28 suspended bridges gradually take you from 9 metres to 20 metres in height among the giant, evergreen California redwoods. Magical.

Day 2 in Rotorua – Fun-packed family itinerary

How about some more Rotorua specialities to start day two? ZORB and Skyline Rotorua both take advantage of the slopes of Mt Ngongotahā in very different and unique ways.
Pack your swim gear for ZORB and get ready to roll down the side of the mountain while inside a giant inflatable ball (pictured above and at top). In these cooler months, you’ll appreciate the lovely splash of warm water added to your ZORB to keep you sloshing around as you careen down the mountain. Up to three people can ride together, and you have four tracks to choose from. Or do them all!

Next up is Skyline Rotorua, just down the road. The fun starts with a gondola ride up Mt Ngongotahā, then down the mountain in your own self-driven, three-wheeled Luge cart (pictured above). The chair lift returns you to the top so you can repeat on a different track. In fact, if you’re saying “been there, done that”, new tracks have just been built and they include tunnels, lights and corkscrews!

Before heading back down the mountain, feed hungry tummies at Market Kitchen Café where you’ll find everything from gourmet pies and bakery items, to pizza, fish and chips, deli selections, ice cream and more. A barista is on hand too if you need a caffeine fix to keep up with the kids.

Your next destination is Hell’s Gate, to enjoy Mother Nature’s amazing geothermal powers. Wallow in a mud bath (pictured above) then soak in the sulphur spa. Parents will appreciate the revitalising feeling after this soothing experience, while the kids will just have fun covering themselves in mud. Take the dare and jump into the cold plunge pool afterwards.
Wrap up your day with a sunset tour to see magical glow worms in their natural habitats. Real Rotorua offers a two- to three-hour walking tour starting at 7.30pm, or you can opt to explore via three-hour Twilight Kayak Glow Worm Tour with Paddle Board Rotorua at 5pm.

Day 3 in Rotorua – Fun-packed family itinerary

If everyone’s energy is still going strong today and you’ve got a few hours available before heading home, there are still amazing experiences not to miss.

Ziplining through an ancient virgin forest with award-winning Rotorua Canopy Tours (pictured above) is an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime. Both the Original and Ultimate tours run several times a day, sometimes starting as early as 7.45am, so there should be no hassle fitting this into your day as long as you book ahead.
If you’re up for something a bit more relaxed for the adults where the kids can burn off some energy, head to aMAZEme and tell them there’s a reward for the one who can get to the middle of the maze first. Bringing a picnic lunch is welcomed, and there are lawn games, McGregor’s Garden and a small-animal petting area too.
Another great way to wrap up your weekend is with a visit to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the world’s youngest geothermal system. You and the kids will be amazed at the hot springs, mini geysers, electric-blue Inferno Crater, steaming Frying Pan Lake and more. The self-guided tour is fantastic, and if you arrive by 12.45pm, you’ll have time to catch the last boat cruise (pictured above) of the day which takes you across Lake Rotomahana, and you’ll finish your day around 4pm.

Finding accommodation in Rotorua 

To find the perfect place to stay in Rotorua, we recommend booking in advance when possible and through our i-SITE team’s expert and free booking services. Whether you’re looking for a five-star hotel, luxury lodge, B&B, holiday home or holiday park, they'll help you find the perfect place to match your budget and taste. Many are in or within a short walk of the city centre, but if you’d like to escape to the country, there are also stunning lake and countryside options too.
The team is also the only booking agent in New Zealand to offer a 100% money-back guarantee that your accommodation will be exactly as they promise – no questions asked!

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