With so much to do in Rotorua, it might be tricky planning your holiday. Fear not, just use this handy guide to help you fit in tonnes of fun over three days.
Day 1Start off with a few Rotorua must-do activities. Both Skyline Rotorua and ZORB take advantage of the slopes of Mt Ngongotahā, but in very different ways.
Head to Skyline Rotorua where the fun starts with a gondola ride up the maunga, then a ride down in your own self-driven, gravity-propelled, three-wheeled Luge cart. Once at the bottom, a chair lift returns you to the top so you can repeat on a different track. You’ll love the new tracks, tunnels, lights and corkscrews!
EAT: 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.
Just up the road a smidge is ZORB. Don your swim gear, Superman dive into a giant inflatable ball and prepare to laugh all the way 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!
If time allows, change back into your dry clothes an nip over to 3D Trick Art Gallery, a mind-boggling place where everyone becomes part of the art by inserting themselves into 50 crazy trick artworks on display. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the views you create!
This evening, check out the award-winning eco-tour Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights. 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.
TREAT: If dinner was hours ago and everyone’s feeling a bit peckish, head to the lake end of Eat Streat on Tūtānekai Street where you’ll find the iconic Lady Janes Ice Cream Parlour. On weekends they’re open until 9.30pm so grab a few scoops and head to the gorgeously rebuilt Rotorua lakefront boardwalk and epic playgrounds.
Day 2This morning is all about the animals so head to Agrodome to enjoy the legendary – and hilarious – Farm Show that introduces you to 19 individual breeds of sheep (including the valais pictured at top), plus live sheep-shearing, lamb-feeding, cow-milking, a fun sheep auction and more. Stick around after the show to meet the amazing farm dogs like Stitch, Tip and others.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Shaun the Sheep and his pal Bitzer love roaming around looking for kids to meet. Check Agrodome’s website for the best times to catch these two, and have your camera ready!
Following or preceding the show, climb aboard the all-weather, all-terrain covered trailers for a fascinating tour through Agrodome’s 350-acre working farm. You’ll get to hand-feed the sheep and alpaca, spot more rare breeds of sheep, cows and deer, spot a few rare kunekune pigs and even an ostrich named Archie.
Agrodome has great family package rates for two adults and up to three children.
EAT: No need to drive anywhere when hunger strikes! Just head over to the new family-friendly Farmyard Café onsite where the menu features delicious Kiwi food and wood-fired pizzas. Grab a locally roasted Mourea Coffee & Co bevvie and send the kids out to the awesome new playground if they need to burn off some steam.
Now that you’re all fuelled up, grab your adventure-loving whānau and head to 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 (pictured above), 4WD self-drives, 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.
From here, you could head to the city centre for your pre-booked Tarawera & Lakes Eco-Tour with Rotorua Duck Tours. This is your chance to see our beautiful region while aboard New Zealand’s only amphibious WWII vehicle! Duck Tours’ guides keep everyone laughing while exploring some of the spectacular lake scenery and sharing our rich history.
EAT: By now, it might be time to refuel again so head to Pig & Whistle Historic Pub where an extensive menu offers something for even the pickiest eaters. The kids big and small will love the curly fries!
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.
Day 3How about a slower day mixed with a bit of pampering?
A great way to wrap up your weekend is with a walk through the incredible Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the world’s youngest geothermal system. You’ll 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 add on the last boat cruise of the day which takes you across Lake Rotomahana, and you’ll finish your day around 4pm.
EAT: You’re welcome to pack along a picnic to enjoy in the valley, or grab a delicious pizza or other treats from Waimangu Local Store & Café.
Your next destination is less than 15 minutes’ drive from Waimangu. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools has harnessed Mother Nature’s amazing geothermal powers to create a series of hot pools of various temperatures between 30° and 41°C. Kids love a good splash in the family pool.
If everyone’s energy is still going strong and you’ve got a few hours available before heading home, there are still amazing experiences not to miss. Just click here to discover more.
Finding accommodationTo find the perfect place to stay in Rotorua, we recommend booking in advance when possible, and use the Rotorua isite 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!