10 Unique Experiences You Need To Have In Rotorua

Kia Ora (hello), New Zealand!

Rotorua is a place like nowhere else in the world. It has explosive geysers, fascinating Maori culture, relaxing spa pools, adrenaline activities and so much more. Although you might notice a pungent smell from time to time, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable time there! Nowhere does the earth feel more alive than in Rotorua!

There is so much to do in this ‘little town’ in the North Island that you could literally stay for weeks in a row and still haven’t done everything. With so much to choose from it’s hard to decide which activities are best for you. That’s why we created a list with the 10 most unique experiences you need to do in Rotorua!

1. Visit Te Puia – the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere

Te Puia erupting in Rotorua. Source: Flip Flop Wanderers.

Rotorua is famous for it’s geothermal activity so let’s not waste any time and get straight to a place like that! Te Puia has it all: Maori culture, mud pools and geysers. It is home to the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pohutu Geyser, which usually erupts once or twice an hour and can reach a height of 30 meters! This geyser isn’t the only one, there are even a few more.

Another cool thing to see is the bubbling mud pools, it’s so funny to see the mud splashing up! Besides all the geothermal attractions, there is also a lot of Maori culture to explore. There are amazing Maori buildings with the most beautiful wood carving, and you can attend some cultural performances inside too. You can even see wood carvers at work, as it is home to the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving.

Tripsle yourself to Te Puia!

2. Dive into culture at Mitai Maori Village

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

If you really want to experience Maori culture, then the best way to do this is by spending an evening at Mitai Maori Village. This village incorporates a blend of music, dance, storytelling, dining into one package which is very entertaining, but also tells you more about the Maori culture.

Here you can view warriors in a waka (war canoe), watch a real Maori performance and you even get the chance to see glowworms in their natural habitat! The evening ends with one of the best things in Maori culture: a traditionally cooked Hangi meal.

Visit Mitai Maori Village with Tripsle!

3. Enjoy a FREE foot spa at Kuirau Park

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

After walking around all day, there is nothing more relaxing than soaking your feet in a hot pool. Actually there is: it’s soaking your feet in a FREE hot pool! In Kuirau Park you can admire some geothermal activities like bubbling mud pools, steaming ponds and they have a foot spa to sit and relax for a bit.

4. Admire the views from the Skyline Luge

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Go up the mountains on the Skyline Gondola to admire the beautiful views over ‘RotoVegas’ and its lakes. But that’s not all! There are heaps of adrenaline-pumping activities up here: A 50-meter high sky swing, mountainbike downhill parcours, ziplines and the best of them all: the Luge!

This downhill ride is a combination of a go-kart and toboggan and is so much fun! There are three tracks: a scenic track (which is a pretty fast ride already if you want to), the intermediate and the advanced track. You should try them all!

Tripsle me to the Skyline Luge!

5. Relax at Hell’s Gate Mud Bath & Spa

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

The best way to experience all these geothermal activities is to jump in it! At Hells Gate you can start off with a hot mud bath. Cover yourself with the geothermal mud, which is really good for your skin, and just enjoy the warm soothing water. It’s seriously so much fun and you will be as happy as a pig in mud! Afterwards you can enjoy the nice sulphur spa to leave totally relaxed.

If you’d like you can also visit the geothermal area, featuring boiling hot pools, hot water lakes and a mud volcano.

Tripsle a relaxing mud spa at Hell’s Gate

6. Zorb down a hill!

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

This is the funniest activity ever! Zorbing is rolling down a hill in a huge inflatable hamster ball. You can choose between a wet or a dry ride, but we can definitely recommend the wet one.

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

You’ll jump inside the ball, filled with a little bit of water, and then you’ll roll down a straight or curvy track down a hill while flying and sliding around inside! We have to warn you: once is never enough!

7. Wander through Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Feel really small surrounded by all these big towering Californian Redwoods in the Whakarewarewa forest. You will be impressed by the size of these trees. There are numerous walking and mountain biking tracks, in different classifications, so there is something for everyone.

You could also walk the Redwoods Treewalk, which is a network of swing bridges up in the top of the trees. While this walk costs a bit of money, the rest of the forest is totally free!

8. Swim in Kerosene Creek

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Rotorua is famous because of its hot and smelly springs, and Kerosene Creek is a small river full of this hot water. It even has a hot water waterfall where you can swim in! The water has a lovely temperature and the best thing is: it’s free! The river is long and has enough swimming holes for everyone to chill out here, so it will never get too crowded.

9. Drive around the lakes of Rotorua

The Landing. Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Due to the fact that Rotorua is a very geothermal active place, you’ll find many crater lakes everywhere. In total there are 18 sparkling lakes and three major rivers in the area, all mainly formed as a result of a volcanic eruption.

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Of course you have Lake Rotorua, the big lake where Rotorua is located, but a bit further east of Rotorua you have some other really beautiful lakes as well which you definitely have to visit. If you start driving to the South East of Rotorua you will first pass the Blue Lake (Lake Tikitapu) and Green Lake (Lake Rotokakahi) with a beautiful viewpoint in between. A bit further down that road you can continue to Lake Tarawera which is truly stunning! Take a swim in the chilly water or go fishing for the famous big rainbow trout. And to top it all of: stay the night and wake up early to catch an amazing sunrise over the lake!

10. Take a day trip to Waitomo Caves

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

Rotorua makes a great base for a day trip to the Waitomo Caves. Waitomo is known for its extensive underground cave systems, where you can see thousands of glowworms. The three main caves you can visit are: Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Ruakuri Cave and Aranui Cave. They are all different from each other and highly recommended. You can only visit these caves on guided tours, so make sure you buy a ticket beforehand.

Another great way to experience the caves is by an exciting black water rafting adventure. During this adventure you float through the cave in a tube and jump down waterfalls, all while you experience the sight of illuminating glowworms above your head!

Tripsle your way to Waitomo Caves!

About Flip Flop Wanderers

Source: Flip Flop Wanderers

We are Bram (30) and Manon (29), an adventurous Dutch couple traveling the world together. Since the 30th of October 2016 we are on our 2nd world trip, and not planning on stopping soon! From our passion for travel, photography and writing we started Flip Flop Wanderers. Why ‘Flip Flop Wanderers’? Simply because we prefer to walk on flip flops every day during our travels!

Flip Flop Wanderers mainly focuses on backpacking, undiscovered places, warm destinations, travel photography, but above all sharing a big passion: traveling. Hopefully we can inspire you to follow your travel dreams!