Things to do in
Rotorua

Discover geothermal wonders, breathtaking natural beauty, and the vibrant Maori culture.

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Our most recommended things to do in Rotorua

Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

1. Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

Enjoy a therapeutic mud bath and sulfur spa at Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve, located just a 15-minute drive from central Rotorua. A round-trip shuttle service option from Rotorua is also available. Soak in the thermal mud and acidic, sulfurous waters as the local Maori have done for over 800 years. Apply the natural geothermal mud to your skin while relaxing in the warm sulfurous waters for 20 minutes. Follow the mud spa with a cool shower before relaxing in the hot sulfur mineral spa. The warm geothermal mud opens and cleans the skin’s pores, and the sulfur spa provides a gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing.

White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

2. White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

Take to the skies to admire the marine volcano of White Island from above. Your friendly and professional crew will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout your experience. You’ll receive a flight and safety briefing before heading out onto the tarmac to your aircraft. Be sure to bring your camera, as everyone gets a window seat. Enjoy fantastic views as your enthusiastic pilot shares local insights. Fly over the township of Whakatane before heading offshore over Moutohora (Whale) Island, an extinct volcano that is now a wildlife refuge. Continue on to White Island, keeping a lookout for a bird's eye views of dolphins and large schools of fish. During several turns around the island, you’ll have the opportunity to see the volcano from all angles and shoot plenty of stunning photos. You’ll get closer each time and the pilot will dip the wing for uninterrupted views. Your pilot will give you tips for capturing the best photos and alert you when a good opportunity arises. Peer directly into the crater, smell volcanic gasses and admire incredible views of sulfur vents, bubbling mud, and acid lakes. Enjoy the most time above the crater out of any of the local flight operations before the scenic return flight to Whakatane airport.

Rotorua City and Lakes Duck Tour

3. Rotorua City and Lakes Duck Tour

Discover Rotorua city and its lakes on a unique 90-minute sightseeing adventure that takes you over land and into the water by amphibious vehicle. This is the best way to see the city and experience the beauty of the lake region on a single tour. Your tour begins right in the heart of the city, where you’ll see the city’s top sights and learn about the diversity that makes Rotorua such a unique destination. Venture out of town to the spectacular lake region and take in magnificent views of Mount Tarawera. Splash down into Lake Tikitapu and Lake Okareka. The tour is educational and fun for the whole family. Everyone is sure to enjoy this unique adventure in an authentic WWII-era amphibious vehicle.

Rotorua: Secret Spot Hot Tubs

4. Rotorua: Secret Spot Hot Tubs

Be greeted by the facility’s friendly staff on arrival and hear more about your hot tub experience. Use the customized changing room facilities and refresh in the cedarwood showers before heading outside and following the signs to your personal hot tub. Slip into the soothing water of your hot tub and feel your body relax. Invite friends and family to share the spacious tub and take in the serenity of the surrounding forest. Enjoy complimentary drinking water, or use the push button service to order from the bar without leaving the water. Sample a craft beer or cider, tea, Manuka roasted coffee, or a wine from the Mills Reef selection. During the day listen out for local birds chirping in the trees, and by night gaze up at the stars you can see above the forest darkness. After your 45-minute hot tub soak has finished, feel free to slip your feet into a “Shinny Dip” tub to end the experience.

Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+

5. Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+

Relax and unwind at the Polynesian Spa, a world-leading, natural mineral bathing and luxury spa retreat in Rotorua. Geothermal waters nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles, aches and pains, while decadent therapies rejuvenate through ancient and modern techniques. This ticket provides access to the premium bathing area, the Deluxe Lake Spa, which includes a range of mineral rock pools at various temperatures. Using both alkaline and acidic mineral springs, the Deluxe Lake Spa is the ultimate geothermal bathing experience. The therapeutic waters at this spa come from two different natural springs. The Priest Spring is named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was "cured" of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water from the Priest Spring relieves tired muscles and aches and pains. The Rachel Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachel Spring are blessed with ageless beauty. The combination of these two types of mineral waters is only found at the Polynesian Spa. This spa was built on the site of historic bath houses, which originally made the city world-famous in the 1800s. It continues to evolve and focus on health and wellness, introducing passive and active bathing experiences for increased immunity and greater energy levels. In the Pavilion Pools, elements of early buildings and baths have been carefully retained and the site is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

6. Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

Drive to the Rotorua Rafting base, just a 20 minute drive from Central Rotorua. Meet your guide at the base and dress up in your wetsuit to stay toasty warm for the day. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know. Don't worry if you've never been whitewater rafting before, you don't need any experience. Non-swimmers are even able to tackle the river. In the summer months, the river is 25 degrees Celsius, making it the warmest river in the country. A quick hop across the road will see you arrive at the river ready to tackle 14 epic rapids and 3 waterfalls. The highlights will be jumping, swimming, surfing, and plummeting over the highest commercially rafted waterfall on the planet. After an hour of action, you will arrive back at the base ready to get changed and check out the photos that were taken throughout the adventure.

Rotorua Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

7. Rotorua Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

Relax and unwind at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa – a world-leading, natural mineral bathing and luxury spa retreat. Geothermal waters nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles and aches and pains, while decadent therapies rejuvenate through ancient and modern techniques. Combined with the healthy café, Polynesian Spa restores the body inside and out. This ticket provides access to the premium bathing area, the Deluxe Lake Spa, which includes a range of mineral rock pools at various temperatures. Using both alkaline and acidic mineral springs, the Deluxe Lake Spa is the ultimate geothermal bathing experience. The therapeutic waters at Polynesian Spa come from two different natural springs. The Priest Spring is named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was "cured" of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water from the Priest Spring relieves tired muscles and aches and pains. The Rachel Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachel Spring are blessed with ageless beauty. The combination of these two types of mineral waters is only found at Polynesian Spa. This spa was built on the site of historic bath houses that first made the city world-famous in the 1800s. At Polynesian Spa, elements of early buildings and baths have been carefully retained and the site is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

8. Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

Join an epic grade 5 whitewater rafting expedition on the Kaituna River and get an adrenaline rush in its deep warm water canyons. Located a 25-minute drive from central Rotorua, the rafting base is next to the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve.  Join an expert guide on an action-packed, 50-minute adventure down 14 epic rapids. Brave the famous 7-meter Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. A must-do for adrenaline junkies and first-time rafters alike, the adventure is run by super-friendly guides to give you the safest and most entertaining trip on the river. Stretch your legs on the nearby walking track at the end of your raft to watch the rapids tumble over the falls, or head to the nearby cafe to enjoy some food and the best selection of craft beer in Rotorua.

Rotorua: ZORB Inflatable Ball Rides

9. Rotorua: ZORB Inflatable Ball Rides

Take on an iconic New Zealand experience in Rotorua. Roll down a hill inside a specially designed giant inflatable ball. Choose from a single, double or triple ride option when booking. On the day, opt for a H2OGO (wet) ride. On warm days, superman dive into the H2OGO on your own or with friends as you slip, slide and laugh your way down the slope. The specially designed ball means you remain will right-side up and not get dizzy. On cold days, stay warm in the H2OGO with warm water used for the rides. Hot spas will keep you toasty in between rides, an outdoor fire will pump serious warmth, and there will be heated changing rooms for afterwards. Delicious coffee made by baristas will also available on-site. 

Whakarewarewa: Entrance to the Geothermal Trails

10. Whakarewarewa: Entrance to the Geothermal Trails

Experience New Zealand's diverse natural landscapes with this entrance ticket to the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Trails. Walk through Jurassic Park-like scenes as you pass by bubbling waters, which some believe have healing properties. Find yourself face-to-face with hot springs lakes, mud pools, geysers and native manuka bushlands. Combine views of native ferns, edible plants and colorful steaming lakes and thermal pools. Snap unique photos in this facinating landscape.

Other Sightseeing Options in Rotorua

Want to discover all there is to do in Rotorua? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,352 reviews

Being in the mature age bracket we were a little hesitant to do this tour. However Nathan and the very very tall guy (forgot name sorry) were absolutely fantastic. Made the ride down the rapids easy, enjoyable and a whole heap of fun. Thanks guys. Advice to prospective customers, just do it. You will enjoy.

We had a great time. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and a great story teller. We didn't know what to expect, but loved the tour and were surprised to get to try corn cooked right from the hot spring.

Well planned and executed trip. A good mix of people on the trip doing various things. Very good for solo travel.

The staff here made the experience so much more amazing will definitely be back

We did the self-guided walk. Plenty of seats along the way to rest.