Ultimate Travel Guide Rotorua

Visiting Rotorua: A Complete Travel Guide

Get ready for an extraordinary journey as we unveil our Rotorua Travel Guide! From mesmerizing geothermal wonders to immersive Māori cultural experiences, we’ve handpicked the absolute best for you so that you can get the most unforgettable trip possible. 

Time Zone

New Zealand Standard Time (GMT+12)

Best Time to Go

Here’s the lowdown: you can enjoy this captivating destination all year round. However, the most popular time to visit Rotorua is during the summer as it’s perfect for outdoor adventures and exploring geothermal wonders.

Now, if you prefer a quieter experience with great weather, spring is Rotorua’s best-kept secret. The temperatures are mild, the landscapes come alive with vibrant colors, and you’ll find fewer crowds.

Things to Know

Currency: New Zealand Dollar
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: English and Māori

Calling Code: +64

How to Get Around 

Public transportation: Rotorua’s Rotorua Urban Bus Network is a convenient and reliable way to get around the city. With 11 routes running seven days a week, it’s easy to reach your desired destinations. Fares start at 2.80 NZD for a one-way trip when using a Bee Card.

Bike rental: With bike rentals in Rotorua, exploring the city has never been easier. Rent a bike from a trusted shop like Mountain Bike Rotorua and enjoy the freedom of pedaling through Rotorua’s streets and scenic trails. 

Taxi: Getting around Rotorua is a breeze with reliable taxi services. Rotorua Taxis and Taxi Cabs Rotorua are among the top choices. To hail a taxi, simply wave one down on the roadside or call in advance to book your ride.

Ride-sharing: Uber has arrived in Rotorua, providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis. While it’s generally cheaper, fares can add up quickly.

Where to Stay in Rotorua

1. Millenium Hotel Rotorua

Address: 1270 Hinemaru Street, Ohinemutu, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 347 1234

Pricing: $$$

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The Millenium Hotel Rotorua’s central location is what makes it a promising hotel to stay in while in the city. The hotel provides easy access to Rotorua’s attractions and activities, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a sophisticated and convenient stay.

The hotel boasts a relaxing spa, a heated pool, and an on-site restaurant serving delectable cuisine.

2. Sudima Lake Rotorua

Address: 1000 Eruera Street, Central, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 1174

Pricing: $$

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Situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua, the Sudima Hotel offers a comfortable and scenic retreat. The spacious rooms feature modern decor and stunning lake views. 

The best part? Guests can indulge in the hotel’s geothermal hot pools, perfect for relaxation. Plus, there’s an on-site restaurant and bar that serves delicious local cuisine.

3. Novotel Rotorua Lakeside

Address: Lake End, Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 346 3888

Pricing: $$

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Besides the apparent view of Lake Rotorua, many travelers flock to the Novotel Rotorua Lake for the amenities it offers.

Among the favorites are the heated indoor pool, the fitness center, and the spa. Their spacious rooms are also one hell of a reason to stay there, as each features a contemporary design and offers a comfortable retreat. 

4. Prince’s Gate Boutique Hotel

Address: 1057 Arawa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 1179

Pricing: $$

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Steeped in history and elegance, the Princes Gate Hotel is a charming heritage hotel in Rotorua. The boutique-style rooms are tastefully furnished, offering a blend of modern comfort and classic charm. 

But that’s not all, as the hotel prides itself on its renowned restaurant, known for its fine dining experience. So, savoring a gourmet meal should definitely be on your itinerary while in here. 

5. YHA Rotorua Backpackers

Address: 1278 Haupapa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 210 887 4431

Pricing: $

Book Now

For budget-conscious travelers, YHA Rotorua offers affordable accommodation without compromising on quality. The hostel provides a range of room options, including dormitories and private rooms – all clean and comfortable!

Conveniently located near Rotorua’s main attractions, YHA Rotorua is a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers looking for a friendly and affordable stay.

Where to Eat in Rotorua

1. Atticus Finch

Address: 3010/1106 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 460 0400

Pricing: $$

Website

Atticus Finch is an exciting culinary destination where every bite tells a story. From juicy, gourmet burgers bursting with unique flavors to innovative vegetarian creations, Atticus Finch takes you on a mouth-watering journey. 

Don’t forget to explore their daily specials and sip on their handcrafted cocktails!

2. Terrace Kitchen

Address: 1029 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 460 1229

Pricing: $$

Website

Terrace Kitchen is a popular eatery known for its contemporary New Zealand cuisine and warm, welcoming atmosphere. Their menu showcases a range of dishes, from gourmet burgers to locally sourced seafood and hearty mains.

With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, Terrace Kitchen offers a delightful dining experience for food lovers.

3. Indian Star Restaurant

Address: 1118 Tutanekai Street, Eat Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 343 6222

Pricing: $

Website

For authentic Indian cuisine, head to the Indian Star Restaurant. Known for its flavorful dishes and friendly service, this restaurant is a go-to spot for curry lovers. 

From aromatic biryanis to sizzling tandoori specialties, their menu offers a wide variety of options to suit different palates. Enjoy the vibrant and inviting ambiance while savoring the rich flavors of Indian cuisine.

4. Capers Cafe + Store

Address: 1181 Eruera Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 8818

Pricing: $$$

Website

Capers Cafe + Store is the ultimate destination for all your dining needs – whether you’re catching up with friends, having a business breakfast, grabbing food on the go, or planning a romantic dinner date.

Step into a world where flavors intertwine with a fresh seasonal menu and a hearty food selection. From innovative dishes to classic favorites, their skilled chefs ensure there’s something to delight every palate. 

5. Yamato Japanese Restaurant

Address: 1123 Pukuatua Street, Hillcrest, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 1938

Pricing: $$

Website

Yamato Japanese Restaurant is a hidden gem for lovers of authentic Japanese cuisine. Known for its traditional flavors and meticulous preparation, Yamato offers a range of sushi, sashimi, and hot dishes. 

Surely, this is the place to go to experience a taste of Japan in the heart of Rotorua!

What to Do in Rotorua

1. Explore the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Address: 201 Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua 3073, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 366 6333

Website

Wander through the mesmerizing geothermal wonders of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Here, you can witness the vibrant Champagne Pool, the bubbling mud pools, and the famous Lady Knox Geyser, putting on a show like no other. 

Immerse yourself in the surreal landscapes and captivating colors of this natural wonderland. It was the ultimate experience for us, so we think you’ll love it!

2. Indulge in relaxation at the Polynesian Spa

Address: 1000 Hinemoa Street, Lakeside, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 1328

Website

Relax and rejuvenate your body at the Polynesian Spa, nestled on the shores of Lake Rotorua. You can enjoy the soothing geothermal mineral waters, known for their therapeutic properties. 

They have a range of spa treatments and massages, so don’t miss out on those. They’re a nice treat that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.

3. Soar above Rotorua with the Rotorua Skyline Gondola

Address: 178 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs, Rotorua 3015, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 347 0027

Website

Take a thrilling ride on the Rotorua Skyline Gondola and soak in breathtaking panoramic views of the city and Lake Rotorua. 

Once at the top, embrace the adventure with a thrilling luge ride down the scenic tracks, providing an adrenaline rush like no other.

4. Immerse yourself in Māori Culture at Te Puia

Address: Hemo Road, Tihiotonga, Rotorua 3040, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 9047

Website

Embark on a cultural journey at Te Puia, a living Māori village and geothermal wonderland. 

Witness the awe-inspiring Pohutu Geyser, explore the bubbling mud pools, and delve into the rich Māori heritage through cultural performances and traditional crafts.

5. Experience Adrenaline with ZORB Rotorua

Address: 525 Ngongotaha Road, Fairy Springs, Rotorua 3015, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 343 7676

Website

Check out the adrenaline-pumping world of adventure sports with ZORB Rotorua. Roll down the hills inside an inflatable ball, experiencing the thrill of Zorbing like never before. 

Whether you choose the straight track or the zig-zag course, get ready for a whirlwind of excitement!

6. Uncover the tragic tale of Te Wairoa at the Buried Village

Address: 1180 Tarawera Road, Lake Tarawera, Rotorua 3076, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 362 8287

Website

Uncover the wonders of the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, a preserved archaeological site that tells the tragic tale of the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption. 

Here you’ll see the remnants of a once-thriving village, including the excavated houses and the hauntingly beautiful Te Wairoa Waterfall. It’s thrilling and fulfilling at the same time – definitely a must thing to do while in the city.

7. Feel the rush of jet boating with Katoa Jet

Address: 1 Lakefront Drive, City Lakefront, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 800 538 7746

Website

Prepare for an exhilarating adventure as you immerse yourself in the thrill of jet boating on the pristine waters of Lake Rotorua and the mighty Kaituna River. 

Brace yourself for an adrenaline-fueled experience as you glide through narrow canyons, spin in heart-pounding 360-degree turns, and witness the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.

8. Try mountain biking in the Whakarewarewa Forest

Address: Whakarewarewa, Rotorua 3074, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 350 0110

Website

Gear up and hit the trails in the renowned Whakarewarewa Forest, also known as the Redwoods. It’s a great place to embark on an epic mountain biking adventure through towering trees and exhilarating tracks. 

From beginner-friendly paths to thrilling downhill descents, the forest offers something for riders of all levels. See nature and feel the adrenaline rush as you navigate twists and turns along the way. 

Where to Shop in Rotorua

1. The Living Room Collective

Address: 1131 Amohau Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 460 1056

Website

Discover a treasure trove of unique homeware, gifts, and clothing at The Living Room Collective. This eclectic store showcases a curated selection of local and international brands, blending contemporary style with a touch of bohemian charm. 

From stunning ceramics to stylish fashion pieces, explore their diverse range of products that will add a touch of personality to your home and wardrobe.

2. The Arts Village

Address: 1240 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 9008

Website

This vibrant community hub celebrates local artists and artisans, offering a diverse range of handmade goods, including ceramics, paintings, textiles, and jewelry. 

Browse through the art galleries, participate in workshops, and support local talent by taking home a unique piece of art that reflects the spirit and culture of Rotorua. 

3. Rotorua Central Mall

Address: 1170 Amohau Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 348 8990

Website

Indulge in retail therapy at Rotorua Central Mall, the city’s premier shopping destination. This bustling mall is home to a variety of stores, including popular fashion brands, footwear outlets, specialty shops, and more. 

Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends, electronics, or unique gifts, Rotorua Central Mall offers a convenient and diverse shopping experience in the heart of the city.

4. Rotorua Farmers Market

Address: 1252 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Website

Held every Sunday at Te Manawa, this bustling market is a haven for food lovers and those seeking locally sourced-produce. There is a wide array of fresh fruits, vegetables, artisanal bread, homemade treats, and more for you to choose from. 

This is the perfect place to engage with local vendors, sample delicious food, and experience the true flavors of Rotorua while supporting the community.

5. Okere Falls Store

Address: 757A State Highway 33, Okere Falls 3074, New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 362 4944

Website

Experience the charm of the Okere Falls Store, nestled in the picturesque village of Okere Falls. This unique store combines a café, grocery store, and gift shop, offering a delightful blend of local flavors and artisanal products.

Come and indulge in delicious homemade treats, relax with a cup of coffee, and explore the shelves filled with gourmet goodies, local crafts, and souvenirs. 

Which Neighborhoods to Visit in Rotorua

1. Ohinemutu

Directions

Experience the cultural heart of Rotorua by visiting Ohinemutu. This vibrant neighborhood is known for its rich Māori heritage, evident in its traditional architecture and historic sites. 

There are a lot of things to do here, including exploring the iconic St. Faith’s Church and experiencing a traditional Māori welcome at the marae. You can also try immersing yourself in the geothermal wonders of Te Puia. 

With its stunning lakefront setting and captivating cultural experiences, Ohinemutu offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and indigenous traditions.

2. Eat Streat

Directions 

With its bustling ambiance and diverse dining options, Eat Streat is the perfect place to savor the flavors of Rotorua. 

This pedestrian-only street is lined with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars, offering an array of culinary delights. From local cuisine to international flavors, enjoy a gastronomic journey as you stroll through Eat Streat.

3. Government Gardens

Directions 

A picturesque neighborhood that exudes Victorian grandeur exists in Rotorua, and it’s called Government Gardens. 

Here you can take a leisurely stroll through manicured gardens, visit the Tudor-style architecture of the iconic Rotorua Museum, and relax in the soothing waters of the Polynesian Spa. 

With its stunning architecture, serene surroundings, and proximity to key attractions, Government Gardens is a must-visit part of the heart of the city.

4. Redwood Forest

Directions 

Escape into nature’s embrace at the Redwood Forest, a neighborhood renowned for its towering trees and tranquil trails. 

Feel the serenity of the forest as you explore a network of walking and biking tracks. Marvel at the majestic redwoods, breathe in the fresh forest air and revel in the sense of tranquility that envelops this natural haven.

5. Hamurana

Directions 

Hamurana is the place to go if you want to experience the beauty of rural Rotorua. This charming neighborhood is situated around Lake Rotorua, offering breathtaking views and a peaceful ambiance. 

While here, make sure to visit Hamurana Springs, a popular destination known for its crystal-clear waters. With its idyllic setting and serene atmosphere, Hamurana provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

What to Expect from Rotorua Weather

Spring: During spring, the weather in Rotorua gradually warms up, making it a pleasant time to explore the city and its natural wonders. You can expect temperatures ranging from around 10°C to 20°C, with occasional showers and a fresh breeze. 

Summer: Rotorua comes alive during the summer months. With temperatures averaging between 20°C and 30°C, summer offers the perfect climate for enjoying the city’s geothermal attractions, lakes, and adventure activities. It’s the peak tourist season, so expect a lively atmosphere and a higher influx of visitors.

Fall: As summer transitions into fall, Rotorua’s landscapes transform into a breathtaking tapestry of golden hues. The weather remains comfortably mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C. Autumn brings a sense of tranquility to Rotorua, making it an ideal time for nature walks and scenic drives.

Winter: When winter arrives, Rotorua embraces a cooler ambiance with temperatures ranging from around 5°C to 15°C. While it can be chilly, Rotorua’s geothermal wonders offer a cozy respite, so going there is still an option. Just remember to dress in layers to stay comfortable.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Rotorua

Rotorua App: For comprehensive information on attractions, events, maps, and local insights specific to Rotorua. 

iOs | Android

TrailMapps: Helps you explore the extensive trail network in and around Rotorua. It provides detailed maps, trail descriptions, and difficulty ratings, catering to hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

iOs | Android

Google Translate: Consider having this app to overcome any language barriers you may encounter.

iOs | Android

Booking.com: To book accommodations, flights, and activities specific to Rotorua that fit your travel preferences.

iOs | Android