Explore historic gardens that surround a Tudor-style spa bath house (Blue Baths) and an elaborate Mediterranean-style public swimming pool. Peer through the steam into ancient bubbling geothermal pools. Originally known as Paepaekumana, Government Gardens is situated on the lake's edge in downtown Rotorua. This site is of legendary and historical significance to the local Māori people.

The area has strong spiritual meaning as a wahi tapu (sacred place) for the Ngāti Whakaue tribe where in Māori legends, a powerful chief Ngatoroirangi created the geothermal features as well as a place where important chiefs were buried and battles were fought. It has traditional values as a source of food, especially fresh water species and birds; for gathering of plants for fibre dyeing and medicinal properties, and the medicinal values of the thermal pools and mud.

The Blue Baths were among the first baths in the world to allow both males and females in the same pool. Rather than medicinal, the purpose of the Blue Baths was to have fun and socialise in the style of Hollywood movie stars. Fully restored to their original glory, the Blue Baths offer you the chance to relax in heated waters in an architecturally stunning setting.

At Government Gardens you can also experience the Rotorua Museum of Art and History, a bowling green, croquet lawn, and the luxurious Polynesian Spa.