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How to Spend 3 Days in Rotorua

How to Spend 3 Days in Rotorua

Three days in geothermal Rotorua is plenty of time to venture around town and beyond, including day trips. A choice of extreme adventures lies at your fingertips, while a selection of thermal spas to soak weary muscles is available day or night. Here are some options to ensure you get the most out of New Zealand’s so-called Sulphur City. 

Day 1: Rotorua Must-Sees and Maori Culture

Immerse yourself in the scenic beauty, long history, and rich culture of Rotorua today. Start with a city sightseeing tour to get oriented to historical landmarks such as the Government Gardens and popular natural attractions including Lake Rotorua. An amphibious duck tour gets you out on the water for a shift in perspective, while the Skyline Rotorua Gondola provides magnificent panoramic views from above. After lunch, experience one of Rotorua’s top draws: Maori culture. Traditional performances most often include a greeting ceremony, singing, andhaka war dances combined with ahangi feast (cooked in a pit oven). You’ll be immersed in the lives and history of New Zealand’s indigenous people at a localmarae, or Maori village meeting grounds.

Day 2: Geothermal Lakes and Bubbling Pools

Rotorua is best known for its thermal activity. Drive through farmland and native forests to the boiling mud pool and colorful hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu, and combine your adventure with a day trip to theLord of the Rings Hobbiton set. Alternatively, take a guided tour of geysers and hot pools at Te Puia and Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, plus experience traditional culture at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. The buried village of Te Wairoa also takes you deep into the region’s geothermal past. If an evening soak is your preference, join a kayaking expedition on Lake Rotoiti and paddle to the hot pools located at the edge of the bay. Glowworm caves illuminate the scene day or night at this spectacular location just outside Rotorua. 

Day 3: Extreme Rotorua: Adventure and Adrenaline

Those who fancy a more intense thrill don’t have to travel far. Helicopter tours and seaplane flights take you soaring over the Lakes District, forests, and the volcanic fault line—some even fly over an active volcano. Land on White Island, the most continuously active of New Zealand's volcanoes, and take a guided trek up to the steaming crater. Or do the Zorb, a large inflatable plastic bubble that you ride in down a hill—totally addictive and unmissable. If you’re ready for more aquatic adventures, try white-water rafting on the Kaituna River or the easier Rangitaiki River. Attempt black-water rafting into the Black Abyss on a day trip to the Waitomo Caves, or simply relax during a boat ride under the glowworms. River sledging and jet-boat rides get you spinning on the water too. Of course, family-friendly venues such as Rainbow Springs Nature Park and the unique Agrodome farm experience offer more mellow options.

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8 Tours and Activities | All Rotorua Tours

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Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance

Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance

star-4.5
While in Rotorua, see a cultural performance and take part in a traditional Maori ‘hangi’ feast at Tamaki Maori Village. A local guide escorts you by coach to the ‘marae’ (Maori village) for an immersive evening that begins with a welcome ceremony by New Zealand's indigenous people. Learn about local customs and watch a powerful display of song and dance before a hangi dinner.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$96.47
From
$96.47
Taking safety measures

Kaituna River White Water Rafting from Rotorua

Kaituna River White Water Rafting from Rotorua

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This Kaituna River rafting adventure in the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve promises plenty of thrills! With an expert guide at the helm, you’ll paddle through Class 5 white-water rapids of the Kaituna River, including an awesome 21-foot (7-meter) drop down Tutea Falls, the worlds highest commercially rafted waterfall. Accessible to adventurous beginners, this 3-hour tour includes a safety briefing with paddling instruction, all necessary equipment and round-trip hotel transport from Rotorua.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$92.19
From
$92.19

Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner

Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner

star-4.5
Spend a magical evening kayaking on Lake Rotoiti, where you visit glowworm caves and have plenty of time to soak in natural hot springs before a barbecue picnic dinner. Paddle with an expert guide into lakeside caves only accessed by boat to see glowworms and crayfish, then revel in the sunset reflected on the tranquil waters. Instruction, equipment and round-trip hotel transport from Rotorua are all included.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$135.06
From
$135.06
Taking safety measures

Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour

Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour

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Discover Rotorua on a 1.5-hour duck tour. This sightseeing adventure takes you aboard a World War II amphibious vehicle — able to travel on land and water. Start with a city tour past Government Gardens, the Blue Baths and more before splashing down into Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Okareka. Enjoy family fun along the way with a provided duck caller, and listen to live commentary about Rotorua’s history and local landmarks.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.60
From
$53.60

Te Puia Day Pass - Geysers, Mud Pools, Kiwi, Culture, History & more

Te Puia Day Pass - Geysers, Mud Pools, Kiwi, Culture, History & more

star-4.5
Gain entry to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia on a guided tour of this geothermal hot spot. Take a walking path up to steaming vents, boiling mud pools and erupting Pohutu Geyser at Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley; observe the emblematic kiwi bird; and discover Maori traditions at the cultural center. Upgrade to include a cultural performance of Maori song and dance, including the warlike ‘haka.’ Showtimes are available several times a day during admittance.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.16
From
$32.16

White-Water Sledging Adventure

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White-Water Sledging Adventure

star-5
Take a scenic excursion through the New Zealand wilderness on this 3-hour white-water sledging adventure from Rotorua. Listen as a guide explains the challenges ahead, then — with your helmet and life vest clipped on — take to the Okere River on your floating sledge. Twist and turn through swirling river rapids, float gracefully along relaxing flats, and admire views over the mighty Kahikatea Forest. This family-friendly tour is suitable for thrill-seekers of all ages and skill levels.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$64.53
$92.19
$27.66 savings
From
$64.53
$92.19
$27.66 savings
Taking safety measures

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour and Te Puia Geysers in Rotorua

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour and Te Puia Geysers in Rotorua

star-5
Take in two of the North Island's top attractions in one day on a combination tour that visits Wai-o-tapu and the Hobbiton Movie Set. Booking this package ensures your admission to these popular attractions, and the full-day tour includes all entrance fees, hotel pickup and drop-off, and insightful commentary from your driver-guide.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$278.23
From
$278.23
Taking safety measures