Easily one of New Zealand’s top three destinations, Rotorua is a hub of activity that is perfect for the whole family. From thrill seeking adventures to stunning geothermal walks and cultural influences throughout the city, Rotorua is a place you can come back to over and over again.
Whether you’re planning to head away over the school holidays or just want to escape on a mini-break, we’ve put together some of our favourite places to stay, eat and play so you can create some lasting memories with your family.
Please note: Venue information was correct at the time of publication. Please check with individual venues for the latest opening dates, times, prices, etc, before making plans.
Free family activities
- Kuirau Park – Geothermal pools and mud, footpools and kids playground. Also has the council pools for a budget friendly swim.
- Blue and Green Lake track – in the carpark there is a viewing point at which you can see one lake either side of you
- Redwood Forest – walk amongst the majestic Redwoods. There are many tracks including family friendly short walks
- We highly recommend walking along the treetops day or night (preferably both) – the treetop walks do have a price attached which you can find here
- Lakefront walk as Rotorua steams around you
- Saint Faith’s Church, Ohinemutu Village – beautiful stained glass window depicting Jesus walking on the lake
Fun family experiences
Get out on a real NZ farm at the Agrodome! See their world-famous Farm Show starring a cast of talented animals…and you! Or join a Farm Tour to feed lots of friendly animals! Afterwards you can visit the Farmyard Nursery, which is home to their cutest baby animals who are available for cuddles and photos!
The Big Splash ride
Exciting Bird Show
Rainbow Springs offers an action-packed, fun-filled, day out for the whole family! Each day their wildlife team run lots of close-up Animal Encounters which allow you to get closer than ever to the wonderful birds, bugs and beast that call NZ home. You’ll be amazed at the Bird Show and have endless fun on the Big Splash ride and Water Play area!
High viewing platform
View Nightlights after dark
Get back to nature
Discover Rotorua’s peaceful, ecological hideaway! The Redwoods Treewalk is a 553-m walkway, with 23 suspension bridges among the majestic 115-year-old trees of the Redwood Forest. Gradually climb to up to 12 metres above the forest floor to get a bird’s eye view. Allow 30 to 45 minutes. Suitable for anyone who can walk unaided.
Luge day or night
Mountain bike course
Set high on the side of Mount Ngongotaha with extensive views of Rotorua city, Lake Rotorua, geothermal areas and surrounding hinterlands, Skyline Rotorua provides the ideal venue for a day of family fun, an evening for two or an event with that all-important wow factor.
Enjoy the family pool
Have a massage
Family & private pools
It’s easy to unwind with Polynesian Spa’s central location in the historic Government Gardens overlooking Lake Rotorua. Polynesian Spa is just a five minute walk to the central city shops and a three minute walk to Rotorua Museum, the Energy Events Centre, Millennium and Sudima Hotels.
Learn local history
Visit the museum
Follow the nature trail
Rotorua Duck Tours
See Rotorua uniquely
View a volcano
Get a great introduction to Rotorua’s rich history and view some of its most spectacular scenery. The fun begins as soon as you climb aboard one of their amazing WWII Military Landing Craft (known as Ducks), where you will meet your legendary ‘Conducktor’ who is in charge of your guided tour.
Explore the maze
Visit the butterflies
At aMAZEme your children will delight in the small animal petting experience, aviary and effectively designed playground. The object of this maze is to find your way to the centre. Once in the maze you will find openings in the hedge which you may or may-not choose to go through.
Have a picnic
Pool and water toys
Pools for sunny or rainy days
Where to eat
Cobb and Co – The Rotorua location serves their full menu ALL day EVERY day! Their special kids area is situated around a large fish tank and is equipped with Playstations and toys galore. It keeps the Little Cobbers occupied for hours while you relax and enjoy time with friends and family, knowing the kids are preoccupied in their own little haven. They serve fresh simple kiwi food and have a tot, kids and teens menu available. It’s perfect for the whole family!
Te Puru cafe at Jet Park Hotel – Their boutique style café serves fresh, seasonal food and is located in the hotel’s lobby. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere overlooking the pool, filled with light, and in the “hub” of the hotel. Children are most welcome at Te Purū Cafe and can dine at half-size portions for half the price on their All-day Menu.
- Eat Streat is one of Rotorua’s coolest hot spots in the city. At the lake end of Tutanekai Street, you will enjoy quality restaurants, cafés and bars as well as the famous Lady Jane’s Ice Cream Parlour.
- St Pierre’s Sushi – Sushi is a healthy way to keep full during the day. Made with fresh ingredients daily, St Pierre’s offers combinations to delight even the fussiest eaters. If you’re are pregnant or would like something that is sold out, be sure to ask the chef’s to create fresh sushi for you.
Where to stay
Holiday Inn Rotorua is minutes from the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, and Whakarewarewa Forest.
After an adventurous day out, enjoy a soak in Holiday Inn Rotorua’s geothermally heated outdoor pool which is open year round and provides fun for the whole family. You will find the locally famous Chapmans Restaurant with its extensive buffet and a la carte options. Kids aged 12 and under stay for free when sharing their parents’ room. Up to four kids ages 12 and under eat free any time of the day in any Holiday Inn® on-site restaurant. T&Cs apply.
Jet Park Hotel
Your holiday starts when arriving at your ‘home away from home’, Jet Park Hotel.
Savour the best of what New Zealand has to offer: family dine options using the freshest local ingredients, quality yet affordable family accommodation, excellent services, and facilities including a dedicated indoor kid’s play area on the second floor, a library located on the first floor lobby, outside kid’s playground, swimming pool and outdoor spa pool, plus an easy 5 minute stroll to the town centre, supermarkets, and shopping to stretch the legs
All Seasons Holiday Park Rotorua
The All Seasons Holiday Park Rotorua is only eight minutes from downtown Rotorua, but just far enough away to avoid the sulphur smells!
Located on 7 acres of peaceful parkland with just a short stroll to Lake Rotorua, the park’s affordable accommodation options include motel rooms, family units, studio units, and cabins plus camping sites. A fully kitted-out park kitchen, amenities block and laundry are on site along with a free spa pool and BBQs. The kids will love the enclosed, heated swimming pool, which is free to swim in all year round, and an awesome playground. The highlight will be discovering the 18 dinosaurs spread round the park!