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Rotorua

Nature & Adventure

Our most recommended Rotorua Nature & Adventure

Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+

1. Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+

Relax and unwind at the Polynesian Spa, a world-leading, natural mineral bathing and luxury spa retreat in Rotorua. Geothermal waters nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles, aches and pains, while decadent therapies rejuvenate through ancient and modern techniques. This ticket provides access to the premium bathing area, the Deluxe Lake Spa, which includes a range of mineral rock pools at various temperatures. Using both alkaline and acidic mineral springs, the Deluxe Lake Spa is the ultimate geothermal bathing experience. The therapeutic waters at this spa come from two different natural springs. The Priest Spring is named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was "cured" of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water from the Priest Spring relieves tired muscles and aches and pains. The Rachel Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachel Spring are blessed with ageless beauty. The combination of these two types of mineral waters is only found at the Polynesian Spa. This spa was built on the site of historic bath houses, which originally made the city world-famous in the 1800s. It continues to evolve and focus on health and wellness, introducing passive and active bathing experiences for increased immunity and greater energy levels. In the Pavilion Pools, elements of early buildings and baths have been carefully retained and the site is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath & Sulphur Spa

2. Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath & Sulphur Spa

Experience the best of Hells Gate Geothermal Park with a self-guided geothermal walk and historic spa experience. The park is located approximately 15 minutes drive from the town's centre.  Discover the geothermal features using a self-guided map or join a guided tour. Learn about the history, features and uniqueness of the geothermal area. After learning about the unique healing muds of Hells Gate, experience New Zealand’s historic spa experience for yourself! Soak in unique thermal mud and acidic sulfurous waters that have been used by the local Maori for more than 800 years. The warm geothermal mud opens and cleans the skin’s pores, while the sulphur spas give your skin a gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing.  Note that a complimentary shuttle service picks up from central Rotorua three to four times a day (seasonally) with scheduled return services.

White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

3. White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

Take to the skies to admire the marine volcano of White Island from above. Your friendly and professional crew will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout your experience. You’ll receive a flight and safety briefing before heading out onto the tarmac to your aircraft. Be sure to bring your camera, as everyone gets a window seat. Enjoy fantastic views as your enthusiastic pilot shares local insights. Fly over the township of Whakatane before heading offshore over Moutohora (Whale) Island, an extinct volcano that is now a wildlife refuge. Continue on to White Island, keeping a lookout for a bird's eye views of dolphins and large schools of fish. During several turns around the island, you’ll have the opportunity to see the volcano from all angles and shoot plenty of stunning photos. You’ll get closer each time and the pilot will dip the wing for uninterrupted views. Your pilot will give you tips for capturing the best photos and alert you when a good opportunity arises. Peer directly into the crater, smell volcanic gasses and admire incredible views of sulfur vents, bubbling mud, and acid lakes. Enjoy the most time above the crater out of any of the local flight operations before the scenic return flight to Whakatane airport.

Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

4. Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

Discover the Hells Gate/Tikitere Geothermal Reserve, one of the most active in New Zealand.  Enjoy a self-guided walk of the spectacular reserve, located approximately 15-minutes drive from central Rotorua. Hells Gate boasts New Zealand's largest active mud volcano, the Southern Hemisphere's largest hot water falls, and even examples of land coral. See boiling hot pools and erupting waters with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Celsius. Discover steaming fumaroles, hot water lakes, sulphur crystals and deposits. Learn about Hells Gate’s extensive history independently or join an interactive guided tour, available daily at 10:30 AM or 2:30 PM. A complimentary shuttle service picks up from central Rotorua three to four times a day (seasonally) with scheduled drop offs.

Tarawera and Lakes 2-Hour Duck Eco Tour

5. Tarawera and Lakes 2-Hour Duck Eco Tour

Discover Tarawera and Lakes on a unique 2-hour fully-guided adventure that takes place on land and water on-board a genuine WWII amphibious Duck. One of the best ways to appreciate the scenery of the Rotorua lakes district and learn more about the history of the land, the people, and the devastating 1886 eruption of Mt. Tarawera.  Your tour begins right in the heart of Rotorua and ventures out of town to the spectacular lake’s district where you will experience your first splash down into the sheltered calm waters of Lake Okareka. Your ConDUCKtor will then take you further, exploring the natural beauty of the lakes district with a backdrop of the magnificent volcanic domes of Mount Tarawera. After plunging into the deep blue water of Lake Tarawera, the return trip will see you viewing the sacred Lake Rotokakahe (The Green Lake) before splashing down on Tikitapu (the Blue Lake) your forth and final lake visit before the homeward journey back to the sulphurous aroma of Rotorua’s city centre. This tour is suitable for all ages and the whole family, combining fun, learning and new experiences during a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in an authentic WWII amphibious Duck.

Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

6. Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Rotorua. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. As you drive, pass through the pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, Blue Baths, Thermal Springs and Polynesian Spa. From here enjoy the option to add on up to two of Rotorua's most popular activities and attractions (additional cost). Please add on the activities or attractions you would like to include during the booking process. Maybe head to the famous geothermal park and Maori cultural village of Te Puia, bathe in the geothermal waters of the Polynesian Spa, experience some farm culture at the Agrodome Sheep Show, or ride the gondola at Skyline! Or you can simply choose to explore the city at your own pace before your return to Auckland.

Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

7. Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to continue southwards towards the active geothermal area of Rotorua. During the drive, pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, the Blue Baths, Thermal Springs and Polynesian Spa. Take some time to rest for lunch and then head to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland considered one of the most surreal places on earth. Here, admire the Champagne Lake, Devil’s Bath, local mud-pools, geothermal craters and other geothermal wonders before a fully guided trip back to Auckland and the end of your tour.

Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

8. Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

Join an epic grade 5 whitewater rafting expedition on the Kaituna River and get an adrenaline rush in its deep warm water canyons. Located a 25-minute drive from central Rotorua, the rafting base is next to the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve.  Join an expert guide on an action-packed, 50-minute adventure down 14 epic rapids. Brave the famous 7-meter Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. A must-do for adrenaline junkies and first-time rafters alike, the adventure is run by super-friendly guides to give you the safest and most entertaining trip on the river. Stretch your legs on the nearby walking track at the end of your raft to watch the rapids tumble over the falls, or head to the nearby cafe to enjoy some food and the best selection of craft beer in Rotorua.

Rotorua: The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

9. Rotorua: The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

Located just a 15-minute drive from Rotorua, the Buried Village of Te Wairoa features an interactive museum, scenic walking trails, and a look at the devastating effects of one of New Zealand’s greatest natural disasters: the Mt. Tarawera volcanic eruption of 1886, which wiped out a natural landmark known as the Pink and White Terraces. The award-winning museum sheds light on the hardships suffered by this once-bustling European and Maori village settlement.  Expect to spend at least 1 and a half hours at the site to get the most out of the experience, which includes audio guides, living history tours, and talks by costumed guides scheduled throughout the day. Gain firsthand insight into the chaos of the night that Mt. Tarawera erupted and destroyed Te Wairoa, a village of Maoris and missionaries excavated under the Kaitiakitanga of the Smith family for nearly 90 years. Refresh at Smith & Co, the onsite cafe offering delicious scones with whipped cream and jam, Kiwi's favorite selection of pastry pies, and Devonshire tea. Take the opportunity to dress up in Victorian style clothing. On the waterfall trail, learn about the native flora and fauna and experience the beauty of a land recovering from violent destruction. Experience the Te Wairoa Falls in a special way as you stand in the mist of the waterfall. At the end of the day, check out the wide range of goods at the gift shop and bring home a special memento.

Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

10. Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

After being picked up from your hotel in Rotorua, enjoy a pleasurable and scenic drive through the New Zealand countryside and learn about the region from your professional local driver/ guide. Travel in the comfort of your modern and fully air-conditioned vehicle. Set off on a journey of discovery at the infamous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Sit back and relax as you take a magical boat ride beneath thousands of glowworms. Discover more about the 120 years of cultural and natural history on this fully guided tour and marvel at this mesmerizing natural light display as you silently glide through the wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto.  Continuing your fantastical journey, step into Hobbiton, where an official guide will show you around this breathtaking and impressive movie set. Wander into Hobbit holes, including Bilbo and Frodo's home, and take a turn around their vegetable patches with giant pumpkins! At the end of the tour, be transported to Middle Earth as you enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon Inn. If you're looking to experience some of New Zealand's top attractions, or are an avid Lord of the Rings fan, then this is a truly unmissable and unforgettable experience! 

Frequently asked questions about Rotorua Nature & Adventure

What are other things to do than Nature & Adventure that are worth visiting in Rotorua?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Rotorua

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What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 374 reviews

The tour is fabulous! Visit several of New Zealand's North Island's top tourist attractions with engaging commentary from your guides. The staff of the company is most charming! If there is any problem on any of the days of the tour with any of the activities that are planned, they reorganize it so that you can enjoy each of them. In addition, they make your vacation as easy as possible by picking you up and dropping you off wherever you ask them! Regarding the tour itself, transportation is in very comfortable minibuses. The accommodation is in a wonderful hotel, with all the comforts you can expect (it even has a spa, although it is not included in the tour). Each and every one of the activities that are included are unforgettable experiences and I could not keep just one. Spectacular landscapes and adorable people! In general, many incredible emotions running through your body at the same time! One of the best tours I've booked in my entire life!

Mark our guide was brilliant at the history facts and knowledge about the geothermal activities plus life support from the natural resources. Further he was jovial and made humorous comments that were exciting Would recommend this to any traveller

Due to Wai O Tapu was closed, we end up doing just the Hobbiton Town. The tour was fantastic, prompt pick up, the driver was really friendly n we all had a wonderful tour.

Highlight of our NZ holiday. Johnny and Nui (hope spelling is ok!) were amazing guides. We had the best time!

Fantastic experience! Awesome scenic flight with great views. Highly recommend.