nz north rotorua kaituna waterfall
nz north rotorua waimangu volcanic valley
nz-north-rotorua-volcanic air-peak
nz north rotorua mountain biking trail
nz north rotorua kaituna waterfall
nz north rotorua waimangu volcanic valley
nz-north-rotorua-volcanic air-peak
nz north rotorua mountain biking trail


Rotorua is known for its volcanic wonders and rich Maori culture. Be captivated by a geothermal wonderland, intriguing Maori villages, thrilling adventure activities and stunning landscapes. Get up close to spectacular geysers and crater lakes. Rejuvenate your skin with a relaxing mud bath. Or pamper yourself with a soak in a natural hot stream.

Two people on bikes riding through a white entrance arch
Get your walking, cycling and mountain biking fix here
Maori women preparing food in a forest
Immerse yourself in culture at a Maori village
© Miles Holden


Rotorua, a Maori word meaning "second lake", was originally settled by the Maori of the Te Arawa iwi. It is surrounded by many beautiful, small lakes and is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. The central city is easy to explore on fooot or by bike and you can explore the thermal reserve which features bubbling mud pools and vibrant hot lakes.

Two people on a swing bridge high up in a forest of green trees
Discover the best tourist attractions for your trip
A couple walking in a dense forest with sunlight streaming through
Go for long walks in lush beautiful forest
© Miles Holden

Take a bike ride past major geothermal attractions and stop along the way for a dip in a natural hot river. Or visit a Maori village and learn about how they incorporate geothermal activity into their everyday lives.

Rotorua offers a range of options for swimming or relaxing in the magnificent thermal waters. Warm-up in a natural lakeside hot pool, stand under a hot waterfall, or float under the Milky Way in a hot stream. The city also features several luxurious thermal spas.

Smiling man and woman in a volcanic mud pool
Rejuvenate your skin in a volcanic mud pool
© Miles Holden
Family watching smoke rise out of a volcanic mountain
Experience geysers, hot springs and bubbling mud pools
© Miles Holden

Maori Culture

Rotorua is a place of great significance when it comes to gaining a deep understanding of Maori culture and history. Many famous Maori legends and stories are based in this area including Hinemoa and Tutanekai, perhaps New Zealand's most famous love story about the beautiful Pink and White Terraces that were destroyed in the Mt Tarawera eruption.

Rotorua is the heartland of New Zealand Maori culture

Visit a Maori village, taste the food, hear stories and traditions of the past, and be amazed by beautiful song and dance.

Maori culture | New Zealand holiday
Learn about Maori culture and traditions
A Maori woman and a tourist face to face greeting
Experience a warm Maori welcome

Whakarewarewa, The Living Maori village

It is the home of the Tuhourangi - Ngati Wahiao people, who have been sharing their stories for hundreds of years. Experience the unique culture, heritage and eco-system of the village. See how geothermal waters were used to cook, bathe and do the washing in Maori homes.

A man and woman standing against a tree holding fishing spears
Discover traditional fishing techniques
Discover the Maori culture | New Zealand holiday
Appreciate the rich history of the area

Geothermal activity

Rotorua is a volcanic phenomenon with extraordinary landscapes and incredible geothermal attractions - each with its unique features, rare flora and fauna, and all rich in Maori history.

Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, the region has one of the world’s most active geothermal fields. The legendary Pohutu Geyser in Te Puia, just five minutes from Rotorua city central, erupts to a height of 30 metres up to 20 times a day. The pungent smell of sulphur and clouds of steam from volcanic activity is a natural part of life in Rotorua.

Green plants that are in a coil shape
Marvel at the rare flora and fauna
White smoke coming out of a geyser on a sunny day
Witness extraordinary natural phenomenons

"My first trip to Rotorua has been incredibly memorable because of all the Volcanic activity. You can see mud pools, geysers, silica terraces and so much more at every corner which is simply breathtaking."

Nicole, travel specialist

Things to do

Rotorua packs a punch with things to do from enchanting geysers and adrenaline-pumping activities. One of the best ways to truly appreciate the magical landscape is to take a scenic flight and step foot onto the summit of Mount Tarawera. Or soak up the scenery with a floatplane flight over Lake Rotoiti and enjoy a water landing. Then relax in secluded hot pools usually only accessible by boat or a five-hour walk.

Three people standing on a mountain peak with a helicopter behind them
Take a scenic flight and land on the summit of Mt Tarawera
© Miles Holden
View of lush green forest surrounding a beautiful lake
Lake Rotorua is the perfect birdwatching spot

Raft down a waterfall

Get your heart pumping with a rafting adventure going over the edge of a seven-metre high waterfall. And live to tell the tale. This amazing feat requires no rafting experience. All you need is a sense of humour, adventure and a change of clothes.

Two men standing on a viewing deck surrounded by green forest and looking at a blue volcanic valley
Walk through lush native forest in the Waimangu Volcanic Valley
© Miles Holden
Waterfall in a lush green native forest
Hike to the spectacular Kaituna waterfall

Zip-line through an ancient forest

Walk across 20-metre-high suspension bridges and experience pure exhilaration as you zip-line your way around the 119-year-old native forest. Breathe in the fresh air and feel the joy of being so close to nature. At night, you can head to Redwoods Tree-walk for a display of light and colour on the Redwoods Nightlights tour.

Mountain bike

Mountain bike 200 kilometres of trails at the world-famous Whakarewarewa Forest. Prepare for epic rides through towering trees and fresh forest air. The forest is well known for the magnificent Californian Coast Redwoods and combined with other tree species, makes it an invigorating atmosphere.

Zip-line through ancient forests
Two people on mountain bikes riding through steam in a volcanic area
Bike through trails of forest combined with geothermal activities

Be enlightened by Maori culture with local guides. Cruising in a 4WD Land Rover, you will travel from Lake Rotorua… read more

Venture deep into the ancient New Zealand forest - surfing. Spend an adventurous day amongst nature in Dansey Road… read more

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Nearby Towns


Hamurana is a popular spot located 15 kilometres northeast of Rotorua and is renowned for its stunning Hamurana Springs. Walk through a Redwood grove with beautiful views of the crystal clear stream and don't be surprised by the trout popping out of the water.


If hunting and fishing are on your bucket list, Murupura is the place to be. The sleepy timber town sits at the edge of the Kaingaroa Forest which was planted in the early 1900s. At 2.900 square kilometres, Kaingaroa is the largest plantation forest in the southern hemisphere.

White steam coming out of a hot spring
Experience the magnificence of a natural hot spring
Green forest surrounding a hot spring with white steam flowing out of it
Discover a geothermal wonder

Lake Rotoiti

Lake Rotoiti (“the small lake”) is a relatively large lake east of Rotorua and has the Manupiria Hot Springs on its shores. At the far end of Rotoiti is Hinehopu (Hongi's) track. It is a two-kilometre track that takes one and a half hours to walk. The track is a pleasant walk through a native forest with important historic and cultural value.

Okere Falls

Okere Falls is approximately 20 kilometres north of Rotorua and sits on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, at the inlet to the Kaituna River. This section of the Kaituna River is extremely popular with rafters and kayakers due the rapids and waterfalls.

Two women and a dog on stand up paddle boards on a lake
Have fun (with your dog) and test your balance on a stand up paddle board
© Miles Holden
Kids jumping off a deck into the lake
Spend summer days with friends on the lake

Best travel time

Rotorua is a great destination to visit all year round. The peak season is in summer (December to March) when there are long hours of sunlight to enjoy sightseeing and outdoor explorations. If you want to avoid crowds, Spring (September to December) is the best time to visit.

There are plenty of winter (June to September) activities to appreciate such as a hot soak at a Polynesian Spa or a visit to galleries, and restaurants and doing some shopping.

Two men walking on a path in a forest with the sun setting in the background
Go for a sunset walk through the native forest of Waimangu Volcanic Valley
© Miles Holden
A group of people hiking through a barren mountain valley
Hike with friends through a geothermal wonderland

How to get there

Being centrally located on the North Island, Rotorua is one of the most accessible cities to get to. Air New Zealand flies daily to Rotorua Airport from Auckland and Wellington on the North Island, and Christchurch on the South Island. Travelling to Rotorua city centre from the airport is an easy ten-minute drive.

Approximate Drive Times to Rotorua from:

  • Auckland - three hours
  • Wellington - five hours thirty minutes
  • Hamilton - one hour thirty minutes
  • Taupo - one hour
  • Tauranga - fifty minutes
  • Napier - two hours forty minutes
Aerial shot of a man and woman in a helicopter
Get a spectacular bird's eye view of Rotorua in a helicopter
© Miles Holden
A man and woman on bikes riding through a small town
Hire bikes for a day to explore the easily accessible area

Where to stay?

Make your trip extra special by experiencing a unique stay from our large collection of hand-selected accommodations located in Rotorua and beyond. Treat yourself to a luxury lodge nestled in an ancient forest. Or stay in a quaint farm cottage and enjoy views of Lake Rotorua from your private outdoor patio. Your travel specialist will match you with accommodation that suits your wants and needs. A journey where your accommodation is an experience in itself.

A sunny living room overlooking the water
Recharge your soul with majestic views that stretch beyond the horizon
© TravelEssence
A lodge situated on the edge of a lake with mountains in the background
Stay in an idyllic, quiet lodge

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At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.