Rotorua is a really hot stop, with plenty of activities and some beautiful sites you need a few days here!
Where to stay
Reserved accommodation for kiwi experience – Base Rotorua.
Recommended accommodation – Crash Palace Backpackers Rotorua. Crash palace is located right in town a few streets from the government gardens, the Polynesian spa and Pak ‘n’ Save, all places you’ll want to stop by. Crash palace has a hot tub, a great and reasonably priced bar, nice communal areas, serves brilliant coffees and good bedrooms! For the bargain price and friendly staff and manager we loved it.
How long to stay in Rotorua
Allocated time in Rotorua is 1 night. We hopped off the bus here and stayed for 5 nights (first night at the Maori village) this was a good amount of time, depending on the activities that you want to take part in. On the North island located south of the Coromandel, it is renowned for its Geothermal Activity and Maori Culture. Filled with Activities it’s a must do destination on the North Island!
Where to stay in Rotorua
I spent 4 nights in Rotorua, staying at Crash Palace backpackers hostel; it was a really great hostel! Only downfall is the bathrooms and kitchen! However it has great social areas and a hot tub! A nice bar and lovely staff! Beds are comfortable too! (22nzd pppn 10 bed dorm).
Our Top Activities in Rotorua
Mountain Biking in the Redwood Forest
We rented bikes from Bike Barn in Rotorua town centre (whole day 50nzd) and headed to the Redwood Forest, there are marked mountain bike routes through the forest and we spent three hours cycling down to the Blue Lake, there are a variety of tracks and different levels. We stuck to the level 3 tracks.
However, I did still manage to go over the handlebars and down a hill grabbing a tree branch to stop myself!
It was the first time I’ve had a bad fall on a bike, and although there was a second where I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh or cry, I was indeed ok! I had quite a few cuts and bruises! We later realised my front suspension hadn’t been and also my seat was a little too high despite having the smallest mountain bike on offer! Oops! The ride was lovely – such a beautiful forest and the lake was very welcome, providing a nice refreshing way to cool down when we jumped in for a swim! We were also fortunate that Scottish Dougie from bike barn had the day off and came with us as our unofficial guide! Thanks Dougie!
Described as a Geothermal Wonderland, Wai-O-Tapu only 27km south of Rotorua is a must do in Rotorua! We had to hire a car to get our there and split it with my brother sam and also our good friend Camilla (122nzd per day with excess cover, budget car rental) We then took a drive out to Wai-O-Taupo, there is free onsite parking for all types of vehicles! You then walk self guided around the geothermal park with the supplied map, to see the different geothermal pools – my favourite was the Champagne pool. (Entrance 32.50nzd).
Skyline Gondola and Luge
I wasn’t really interested in luging! However we had heard great things and on such a lovely day we thought we’d go and see what all the fuss was about. What is Luging? It is FUN! It is sitting in a little plastic cart, with wheels, in which you steer and also brake using the handles, and it moves using gravity, therefore the whole course is downhill and you take a cable car back up to the top! Its a bit like Mario carts and is for children, adults, everyone, it really was so much fun!! You also get stunning views over Rotorua! ($49-$56nzd depending on number of rides). Also check bookme.co.nz for offers!
Tamaki Maori Village, with Overnight stay!
I enjoyed staying at the Tamaki Maori Village, it consisted of a welcome Afternoon Tea and New Zealand scones, learning maori games, a Maori song, a simple hand movement dance, watching a traditional Haka and welcoming show, as well as other performances and songs, we were given a traditional feast, a Hangi. (There was a three vegetarian options). Then we had access to a hot tub, bar and private party. Slept in a Wharenui, a communal house with traditional wood carvings at the head of each bed in which we were told about. Then we were provided with breakfast of toast, cereal, tea and coffee. ($185nzd) Overnight stay, there is also an option to only attend the evening show and the dinner (95nzd)
Te Puia is a Maori cultural centre at a geothermal preserve with a dramatic geyser & crafts institute. It was an optional stop off on the Kiwi Bus on the way to Taupo – it was nice, however having visited the Maori village, it was a little repetitive and was rather rushed. (usual adult price $48.60/kiwi price $34). The highlight was seeing the Pohutu Geyser and eating a boiled egg, cooked in a geothermal pool.
Rotorua Food Market
On a Thursday evening, located in the centre of Rotorua there is a food market, there are all kinds of culinary treats on offer! We really enjoyed having a look around and treating ourselves to some nice food!
Government Buildings Rotorua
The government buildings in Rotorua is a public park that was created as a tourism attraction by the government, there is a museum there which sadly is closed due to construction damage! The gardens are super nice, and theres a really pretty rose garden! Free and well worth a walk around! Theres a cricket pitch, and also some public baths!
Amongst the activities we squeezed into our visit, there is plenty of other things to do in Rotorua, such as a visit to the Polynesian spa, whitewater rafting with Kaitaki Adventures, or OGOing. I hope you enjoy Rotorua as much as we did!
Love B x