What’s new in Rotorua?

In Rotorua there’s always something new popping up, so even if your last visit was just months ago, the chances are high that you can book a whole new itinerary without doubling up.

In addition to the following newbies, special mention goes out to long-time favourite Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland re-opening on Saturday, 22 October.

Rotorua Ziplines

One of the newest adrenalin adventures to open its doors in Rotorua was created by local guy and longtime adventurer Sam Sutton. The Rotorua Rafting owner recently opened Rotorua Ziplines (pictured here and at top) which soars over Kaituna River’s waterfalls and through beautiful native forest, and claims to have the steepest and fastest zipline in the country.

More Luge tracks

If, during past visits, you loved the thrill of flying down the side of Mt Ngongotahā in a Luge at Skyline Rotorua, there’s now even more to love – three new Luge tracks, four new corkscrew turns, and more tunnels lit up with 430 colourful metres of LED lighting. Plus, Night Luging is back on Friday and Saturday nights until 8pm.

The Airstream Project

After more than a decade of feedback and ideas from both clients and crew, the Pure Cruise team has dreamt up, designed and hand-built a totally unique 9.2-meter pontoon vessel with electric drive. The shape, form and finish draw inspiration from classic 1960s Airstream caravans, World War II aircraft, and Italian speed boats. This silent-running, floating work of art (a work in progress picutred above) will be available for private charter as well as daily cruises to Lake Rotoiti Hot Pools from early 2023.

Volcanic Crater Experience

Kaitiaki Adventure’s new 6.5-hour Mt Tarawera Volcanic Crater Experience has extended their world-class crater walk by 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.

The Round Trip

The Round Trip at Waimangu Volcanic Valley has you follow in the footsteps of New Zealand’s first tourists. You’ll uncover the stories of the Pink and White Terraces and the 1886 Tarawera eruption. This full-day tour includes return transport from Rotorua, guided walk at Waimangu, boat cruises on lakes Rotomahana and Tarawera, and a visit to the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.

Geothermal wonders and Māori culture combo

Māori cultural performances are back at Te Puia! The Te Rā Guided Experience + Haka combo takes you through the carving and weaving schools at New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, the Kiwi Conservation Centre, and the geothermal valley which includes the Southern Hemisphere’s largest active geyser, Pōhutu. The cultural performance includes a pōhiri (traditional welcome), waiata (song), mōteatea (traditional chant), poi and haka (traditional dance).

New experiences – and name – for Tamaki Māori Village

New Zealand’s most-awarded cultural attraction is now called Te Pā Tū – and they’ve 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 into the tawa forest canopy for seasonal kai horotai (canapés) and a lantern-lit walk to a lavish three-course family-share hākari (feast).

Whaka Geothermal Trails

Whakarewarewa - The Living Māori Village has 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 activity for families, couples, and small groups up to 10, and for nearly all levels of fitness. Children can ride independently or on a dual-carry electric bike, and you can pre-order a picnic hamper to take with you.

New Zealand’s newest Great Ride

A new mountain biking trail, the Whakarewarewa Forest Loop, has opened and recently been named New Zealand’s newest Cycle Trail Great Ride. The 33km trail is perfect for confident riders of almost any age and fitness level, and takes riders through some of the iconic features that Rotorua mountain biking is renowned for: fun trails, Māori culture, towering California redwood trees, geothermal activity and stunning views.

BaseCamp at Secret Spot Hot Tubs

Secret Spot Hot Tubs has created a new space for families and friends to hang out and enjoy a refreshing drink (alcoholic or non) and nibbles. The new BaseCamp features a safari tent with bar and lots of seating indoors and out, plus a campfire.

Sweet treats

Goody Goodies in the city centre offers a delicious range of freshly baked treats that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Trying to decide between their signature loaded brownies, scrummy slices, Nan's melting moments, mini cupcakes and more is likely to be your toughest decision to make. For savoury lovers, grab one of the giant sausage rolls.

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