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
If you’re travelling on a budget, there are still so many experiences you can enjoy with your family.
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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
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
Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or an immersive animal experience, Rotorua caters for families with a range of of activities that kids (both big and small) will enjoy.
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!
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.
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.
Rotorua Duck Tours
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.
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.
Family friendly eateries
One of the best parts of travelling is getting to eat lots of new and delicious food. Whether you’re looking for a lunch spot or somewhere to have a nice family dinner, here are some of Rotorua’s best eateries that have great options for little foodies.
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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
Instead of heading to Rotorua on a road trip, why not spend the weekend? Rotorua is a hub of activity, so most of the accomodation options are central to the main tourist attractions and natural wonders. For family friendly stays, we recommend checking out the below.
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.
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!