Rotorua Things to Do Tips by worldkiwi
Rotorua Things to Do: 269 reviews and 502 photos
Kuirau Park, Rotorua.
Kuirau Park, on the western side of downtown Rotorua has plenty of parking and lots of free mudpools to look at! This public area is a nice place to picnic or wander during the day. When I was a kid there was a miniture railway that was a lot of fun. Sadly, it has now been removed. One of the intriguing things about Kuirau Park is that the ground it stands on is fairly thermally active. New mudpools and steam vents regularly open up!
Unfortunately, this place is not worth wandering around at night. In the past few years, muggings and petty crime have taken place here. I was saddened by the amount of rubbish that was in some of the pools when I was there last. Even in New Zealand these things happen.
Directions: You can enter the park from Pukuatua Street. There is also an entry/exit point on Lake Road.
Government Gardens and the old Bath-house.
This beautiful old building was originally built as a government owned bath-house for tourists in the days when spas were fashionable. It today houses the Rotorua Museum and is surrounded by Government Gardens.
Address: Government Gardens, Rotorua.
Directions: 3 mins walk from Visitor Information Centre.
Phone: 07 - 349 4350
Lady Knox Geyser, Wai-o-tapu.
The Lady Knox Geyser at Waiotapu is unusual in that it is induced to play regularly at 1015 each day. I was very dubious about going to see this for the first time in July 2004, but the story that is told before the geyser is woken up is an interesting one and puts the whole show into some context. If you are on a limited budget, I'd say save your money at Waiotapu and just go to Whakarewarewa in the city to see Pohutu Geyser, which is natural and far more spectacular.
See my Wai-o-tapu travelogue for more pictures of this valley.
Address: State Hwy 5.
Directions: 27kms Sth of Rotorua/Taupo Hwy.
Phone: 07 - 366 6333
Warrior's challenge in the powhiri.
At 1215 each day there is a Maori cultural performance at the Rotowhio Marae. The show begins with a semi-traditional powhiri, a formal greeting onto a marae. This is a memorable experience because of the haunting karanga that are called out and the warrior's challenge to a tourist who volunteers to be the leader of the manuhiri (visitors). The show then moves into the meeting house (wharenui).
Address: Hemo Road, Rotorua.
Directions: Follow Fenton Street to its southern end and then go through the round-about into Hemo Road. The park is clearly signposted.
Note: the Tyron Street entrance is not for this park.
Phone: 07 - 348 9047
Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua.
Whakarewarewa is an historic thermal reserve and cultural centre in Rotorua. Since the local council introduced legislation to limit the draw on the thermal field by homeowners, the Pohutu Geyser seems to have returned to its glory days, reaching up to 30 metres in the air (100 feet). It is an amazing sight to see the hot steam and water jet out of the ground. There is an extensive path system through the valley. Winter is the best time to see the boiling mud. The local Te Arawa people pride themselves on the Maori cultural centre here and you can learn about carving and weaving. The village at the lower end (city end) of the valley now has a separate entrance fee and there is no entry into the thermal attractions from that end. To enter the thermal park you must enter at the Maori Institute gate, just north of the State Highway 5 junction to the south of the city. Entrance is steep now at $NZ19.95 per adult!
Champaigne Pool, Waiotapu.
Wai-o-tapu is just a few more kilometres south of Rotorua than Waimangu. It has a geyser, though, it's not as good as Whakarewarewa's. It is called the Lady Knox geyser and is induced to play at 1015 daily by having soap flakes thrown into it's vent! There are some remarkably colourful pools here and plenty of boling mud. The picture shows the Champaigne Pool and the Artist's Palette (foreground).
Entrance is NZ$18.50 per adult (as at July 2004).
Directions: Take State Highway 5 south from Rotorua. The Wai-o-tapu turn-off is about 4km past the State Highway 38 junction.
Skyline Gondolas in Rotorua.
Take a ride on the "Skyline" gondola and get a fine view of Rotorua and Lake Rotorua from Mount Ngongotaha. There is a cafe at the top and also the Luge - an exhilarating ride on a sled-like thing down a concrete track.
Directions: Ngongotaha, northwest of the city centre.
Waimangu Thermal Valley is about 25km south of Rotorua. There is a walk through the valley which passes some amazing boiling pools. There is a small silica terrace at the end of the walk. You can access the shore of Lake Tarawera through here and see the brooding Mt Tarawera, still looking menacing after all these years.
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