Discover the sights, sounds and smells of Kuirau Park

Discover the sights, sounds and smells of Kuirau Park

Only minutes walk from Rotorua's vibrant inner city you'll find Kuirau Park, bubbling and hissing with geothermal wonders. A much-loved location for markets, outdoor gatherings and sporting events, Kuirau Park is located within walking distance of accommodation, activities, attractions, parks, restaurants and great shopping. 

The park has changed quite a bit since the days of Toot n Whistle when children rode the park's miniature train - creating so many special memories for families. The train was retired after increasing geothermal activity compromised the stability of the land. Te Amorangi Museum now offer miniature train rides in Rotorua. The Museum is run by a group of passionate volunteers and has many special artifacts from around the region.

Kuirau Park meanwhile has undergone developments including upgrading of the paths and gardens and a revamp of the iconic foot pools. Numerous walkways, paths and cycle tracks now wind their way through the geothermal setting of the park, offering views of the bubbling mud pools, steaming lakes and other geothermal wonders.

Looking over the lake at Kuirau Park Rotorua
Image by Adrian Hodge: Looking over the Lake in Kuirau Park towards the foot pools and Mt Ngongotaha.

How did Kuirau Park get it's name? Legend tells us that Kuirau Park is named after a beautiful young woman called 'Kuiarau' who was bathing in the waters of a small lake in the park. A Taniwha grabbed her and dragged her to his lair. The gods were angry and made the lake boil so the Taniwha would be destroyed. And since then the bubbling lake and steaming land around it have been known by the name of the lost woman - although the spelling has changed just a bit.

Kuirau Park Revitalisation has included new picnic tables and BBQ areas and widening of parks for cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

Just west of the park is Rotorua's Aquatic Centre with indoor and outdoor spas, a lazy river, a 25 metre pool, a learner pool and an outdoor 50 metre pool. Great for during the school holidays and a perfect indoor escape from wet weather. In the warmer months take a picnic and relax in the sun while a sheltered play area keeps the little ones busy.

There is plenty for kids to do in Kuirau Park too. The playground has two play areas, swings, climbing frames and picnic tables. During summer, the shallow paddling pool with a water fountain is a perfect way to let the kids cool down. And the steaming mineral foot pools are one of the best ways to relax after a full day of sightseeing and adventure in Rotorua.

On Saturday morning the year round Kuirau Park Rotary Market is a great stop for your fruit and vegetables, coffee, second-hand treasures and plenty of freshly cooked food for breakfast or lunch. 

Discover more great family friendly activities to do for free in Rotorua.