Photo taken by: Derek Craddock (Flying Kiwi Traveller)

About Rotorua - what to see and do

Rotorua - Tour Highlights

Rotorua is incredibly rich in geothermal activity and culture and definitely worthwhile visiting. You will marvel at steamy vents on the roadside, the intense smell of sulphur, see bubbling mud pools and geysers and learn more about New Zealand’s unique culture. There is no other city in the country more dynamic than Rotorua.

Situated in the heart of New Zealand’s geothermal volcanic country, Rotorua is so incredibly rich in geothermal activity and culture that it is definitely worthwhile visiting. You will marvel at steamy vents on the roadside, the intense smell of sulphur, see bubbling mud pools and geysers and learn a bit more about our unique culture. There is simply no other city in New Zealand this dynamic as Rotorua. But wait.. there’s more!

Rotorua boasts a world class mountain bike park that is free for all users and has dozens of excellent trails to suit any level from beginners to ‘hard-outs’. For those interested in a more sedate experience there are plenty of naturally heated hot pools; seems pretty appropriate when visiting such a unique city famous for it’s geothermal activity!

Time spent here while on a Flying Kiwi tour:

We spend 1 night in Rotorua.

Tours that take you here:

Ultimate Explorer - 27 or 28 days     Northern Wanderer - 8 days
Total Aotearoa - 24 days Northern Light - 5 days
Grand Traverse - 15 days Hot Rocks - 9 or 10 days

Where we stay: 

Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park – The best place to experience the most active geothermal area of our country. It offers us the opportunity to deep in thermal pools, and its proximity to the Pohutu Geyser it’s only one of its delights.

- Free hot mineral thermal pools
- Swimming pool (seasonal)
- On-site café
- Free access to 9-hole golf course
- Laundry
- Internet access
- Cabin upgrade

Things not to miss:

Rotorua is rich in geothermal activity so why not take the opportunity to swim in a naturally heated hot pool? There are a number of them in the area for you to explore.

Things to do:

Sculptured from volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is considered to be New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape where the key to what you see lies below the earth’s surface. This is one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand and completely FREE when travelling with Flying Kiwi.



Free Things to Do:

Can you imagine a hissing, bubbling and steaming geothermal activity right in the heart of the city? See it in Kuirau Park!

Insiders Tip:

Night and weekend markets. If you like the ambience, smells and colours you can sense in the markets, you should visit the Thursday night or Saturday morning markets at Kuirau Park.


wai o tapu

Hiking Options:

There is a great walking trail that circles the town and lakefront of Rotorua.  Packed full of interesting geothermal features, the government gardens and Rotorua’s nature and heritage trail wind around the lakefront.  Here you can spot black swans and is a perfect, well-marked trail for those who want to learn more about this incredible city by foot.

Cycle Options:

Redwoods Mountain Bike Forest – - Pick any trail that appeals and do as little or as much as you like. Fantastic and interesting trails with lots of variety throughout the forest. (allow 1-3hrs)

The Te Ara Ahi Cycle Trail – - Another option targeted toward those more interested in a leisurely ride. This trail also visits geothermal and cultural features. Perfect for those not doing any optional activities on this day.

Our pick of Rotorua Activities:




Experience the real Middle-Earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the setting for The Shire that featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. Take a tour of the twelve-acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie set was created. You will then travel by shuttle back to Rotorua joining up with your flying Kiwi group for the evening.


Tamaki Maori Village

Evening Tour (7pm). The Ultimate Maori cultural experience including dinner! Journey to an authentic Maori village nestled in Rotorua’s native forest and be formally welcomed into the sacred grounds. Here amidst crackling village fires you will discover ancient rituals Maori art forms and traditions. Share in song and dance and enjoy a 3 course meal with your Maori hosts.


H2OGO - Straight

1.5-2hours. Either by yourself or with 2 or 3 people together. Add 40lts of water and slip, slide and laugh all the way down the 250m straight track

ogo tile 02

H2OOGO - Sidewinder

1.5-2hours. Dive in, add 40lts of water & slip, slide & laugh all the way down the 350m Zigzag track.


Gondola & 2 Luge Rides

2-3hours. Enjoy the scenic Gondola ride up to the Skyline Rotorua complex, then explore over four kilometres of thrilling, scenic Luge tracks, the longest of all Skyline Luge tracks!

canopy tours

Rotorua Canaopy Tours

12:30 - 4pm. Experience the thrill of flying high above untraversed native forest valleys in this 3 hour zipline adventure. Take in the whole picture of ecology from great heights with classic Kiwi guides who help visitors handfeed wild native birds, while sharing first-hand knowledge of the bird song, flora, fauna and efforts to restore the forest's magical ecosystem.

polynesian spa

Polynesian Spa

Open 8am - 11pm. Adult Pools & Priest Spa, this popular area offers seven hot mineral pools with views of Lake Rotorua. Three cascading, marble-lined pools (38˚C to 39˚C), feature alkaline water. The large deeper alkaline pool (38˚C) is an excellent place to stretch out. The three Priest Spa pools (39˚C to 42˚C), offer special thermal bathing in acidic water from the Radium hot spring, long renowned for its therapeutic properties.