3 day backpacker itinerary – self drive!

3 day backpacker itinerary – self drive!

Travelling with a car or camper gives you the flexibility to get out of town and explore the area at your own pace. The area’s forests, lakes and geothermal areas are all within easy reach of the CBD, and there’s adventure activities everywhere.

Day one
If you’re driving to Rotorua from Auckland, stop off on the way in Matamata for a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set. This is a must-do in New Zealand, even if you’re not a die-hard hobbit fan. The tour takes you through rolling green hills, around various Hobbit holes and ends in the Green Dragon Inn for a locally crafted brew.
As you enter the city, you won’t be able to miss OGO Rotorua’s ball park. This unique and slightly crazy activity was invented right here in Rotorua, and will see you rolling down the side of Mount Ngongotaha in a giant inflatable ball. There are now three options of track to choose from, and you can ride with up to three people in the ball.

For a chilled afternoon, grab something to eat and head up to the lakes. You’re spoilt for choice here in Rotorua, a drive up Tarawera Road will take you to Lake Okareka, Blue (Tikitapu) and Green (Rotokakahi) lakes and Lake Tarawera. You’ll find public BBQ’s, plenty of walking tracks, scenic lookouts and of course your classic lake jetty for the travel blog photo!

Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park gives you a variety of accommodation options from cabins to camping, and even has a free thermally heated pool.

Day 2
Start the day with a visit to Whakarewarewa Forest, locally known as the Redwoods. There are heaps of options to walk among the giant redwood (sequoia) trees, with all walking trails starting from the Visitor Centre. If you’re feeling more adventurous, explore some of the best mountain bike trails in New Zealand.

Then, head to Te Puia for a taste of New Zealand’s Maori culture and geothermal wonders. The Pohutu Geyser is the star of the show here, you can visit the carving and weaving schools, or the see our national bird in the Kiwi house. Add on the steam box lunch to get a taste of authentic hangi meal cooked in a geothermal steam vent

Day 3
Prepare yourself for a morning of adventure with epic views of the lake and city! Starting early, head up to Adventure Playground, with a variety of activities that will take you up into the hills. 4x4 self-drive tours, horse trekking, 4WD buggies and clay shooting will keep you entertained for hours.
Next, you can’t come to Rotorua without a play on the famous Luge! Take the scenic gondola up to Skyline Rotorua and then charge down the scenic, intermediate and advanced tracks on these gravity powered carts, guaranteed to plaster a smile on your face! The Market Kitchen at Skyline offers some great options for lunch.
Relax in the afternoon by exploring a free geothermal area right in the centre of Rotorua, Kuirau Park. You’ll find steaming, hissing vents and bubbling mud, and the walkway through the large pools offers a great opportunity for a moody Instagram snap or two!

End the day with a drive out to the natural hot pools. A perfect stop off if you’re heading on to Taupo for your next adventure.