Plan A Trip To Rotorua

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


agrodome rotorua
  • Farm Shows

  • Farm Tours

  • Farmyard Nursery

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!

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Rainbow Springs

visit rainbow springs
  • Animal Encounters

  • 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!

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Redwoods Treewalk

Redwoods Treewalk
  • 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.

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rotorua skyline luge
  • Luge day or night

  • Zipline experience

  • 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.

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Polynesian Spa

  • 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.

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Buried Village

buried village
  • Learn local history

  • Visit the museum

  • Follow the nature trail

Experience NZ’s most visited archaeologist site where stories of the 1886 Mt Tarawera Eruption come to life! Children can enjoy Smithy’s Guide Map searching through the excavated sites and hunt for fun clues and also explore the site which reveals the devastation of the eruption.
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Rotorua Duck Tours

rotorua aqua duck tour
  • See Rotorua uniquely

  • Explore lakes

  • 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.

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  • Explore the maze

  • Pet animals

  • 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.

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Aquatic Centre

  • Have a picnic

  • Pool and water toys

  • Pools for sunny or rainy days

If you are looking for affordable, safe, aquatic fun, then you have found the right place. Theye have something for everyone ranging from Lap Swimming Pools, Spa’s, Lazy River, Splash Pad, Grass Volleyball Court and plus a playground to BBQ units and ample FREE parking.
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Where to eat

cobb and co rotorua

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

holiday in nrotorua

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.

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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

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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!

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  1. danielle2211 27/02/2018 at 8:36 pm

    Who knew there was so many cool things to do in Rotorua? Not me! I thought it was just the mud pools but they cater for everybody. The aMazeme maze looks epic my kids would love it they are all about mazes at the moment. You don’t need to leave our beautiful country to have a great experience Rotorua is now on my ”to visit” list!

  2. Alezandra 27/02/2018 at 8:01 pm

    Visited Rotorua back when my lil one was just 10 months old. It was a bit tough with a little one. But having the carrier helped when we did some sightseeing and walking treks. He will nod off during our hike and once we reached our destination – wakes up just in time for a picture.

  3. kymmage 26/02/2018 at 9:26 am

    I have so been thinking about a Rotorua road trip. My eldest has been to Rainbow Springs before and as a kid I found the Buried Village really interesting. Youngest kid hasn’t been yet. Have always loved history. Apparently there are a few rail cart Adventures around as well, meaning you could definitely spend a full week in Rotorua without a moment of boredom.

  4. felicity beets 22/02/2018 at 1:36 pm

    There is so much to see and do in Rotorua. I would love to go to the 3d art gallery as I have seen some awesome pictures taken here.

  5. Bevik1971 22/02/2018 at 12:43 pm

    I would love to visit Rotorua again – have only been there once in my life about 20 years ago! I do remember it was a bit smelly, but heaps to do and see and I really enjoyed it. Would be an awesome weekend away 🙂

  6. Mands1980 22/02/2018 at 12:11 pm

    It would be great to go to Rotorua one day it’s a bit harder since we live in the South Island I never realised how many great family friendly things there are to do there this article. aMAZEme, rainbow springs and 3D trick gallery looks cool my kids would love these.

  7. Jen_Wiig 22/02/2018 at 11:52 am

    We’ve never been on a family holiday so it is a big on on my bucket list…. Have always wanted to take the kids to Rainbow Springs it looks like so much fun and the fact it has a hotel too deff handy… I didn’t realise just how much else there is to do in Rotorua what an amazing place!!!

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