We’re heading to Rotorua today for a long weekend of excitement, adventure and hopefully a little romance too! We haven’t finalised all our plans so I thought I’d open the floor to your suggestions for travelling to one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist towns. I’ll let you know our plans so far, so please pitch in if you have any must-see’s, must-do’s or must-eats!
My little sister works there, so she’s helped me put together this list of the top things to do in Rotorua (big credit to Judy of Novotel Rotorua)!
What we’ve got planned:
1. Te Puia – I’m most excited about the Mâori cultural experience Te Ra + Te Po at Te Puia. Though I’ve lived in New Zealand for 17 years, this will be my first ever Hangi (the meal) at Pa (marae). Having visited the Treaty grounds at Waitangi, I have seen some Mâori song and dance, but Rotorua really is the place to experience Mâori culture in all its forms.
2. Horse Trekking Lake Okareka – Few people know that I used to be a keen rider, though I’m not sure I’ll be volunteering that information before our trek. We’ll be heading through native bush and Rotorua’s beautiful green pastures overlooking Lake Rotorua, Lake Okareka, Lake Tarawera and Mount Tarawera on our Horse Trekking journey with – a blogger’s dream!
3. Redwoods Treewalk – Rotorua has a myriad of forest walking tracks, but the Redwoods Treewalk in Whakarewarewa Forest might just be the most special. The number 1 attraction on Trip Advisor, it’s also only around $20, so it’s a no-brainer. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot of this on Instagram.
4. Polynesian Spa – The name really speaks for itself, but Polynesian Spa has been named among the world’s top 10 thermal, medical and natural spas six times in the past ten years by Conde Nast Traveller. The deluxe spas are surrounded by native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, two waterfalls and a grotto, and they’re open until 11pm, which gives us plenty of time to relax.
5. Kawarau Jet – I reckon I might be looking for an adrenaline hit by Sunday so we’re set for a spin (and a splash) with Kawarau Jet on Lake Rotorua, one of Rotorua’s 18 lakes. We’re heading on the Mokoia Island experience, which is apparently the site of one of our country’s most famous love stories, that of Tutanekai and Hinemoa. I haven’t been jet boating since growing up around Rakaia, and Blair has never been jet boating in all his 33 years, so we’re pretty excited!
6. Skyline Gondola – Finally, it wouldn’t be a trip to Rotorua without a return to the place of one of our first dates to Rotorua in 2008. Of course, we’ll take a couple of photos to recreate the shots we took that day so long ago, but I’m not sure if I’ll get back on the Sky swing after last time…
7. Over to you! Okay, so I really only put together the top 6 things to do in Rotorua, but I know that with other local’s or tourists’ suggestions, this could be the top 10 things to do in Rotorua – so tell me what else I should be doing with my long weekend here?
Update: Thanks so much to my Facebook friends who had the following awesome advice!
Come out to tamaki maori village for a top, interactive, cultural experience! The hangi is pretty spech but I can guarantee you will meet some super awesome locals and laugh at least a hundred times!
You have to go to agroventures!! The Shweeb was my absolute fave. then go up the gondola and have lunch (better view obviously during the day). Josh and I still talk about our adventures in Rotorua it was so fun and spontaneous! eeeep enjoy!
Off Road Nz the go karts, can go 100km round a 1.2km long track it’s so cool we just went last Saturday! And VolcanicAir helicopter rides down the waterfront 💖 ok & the Stratosphere for dinner!! 🍴 we loved Rotorua
Mud Baths, Zorb, Ogo, Luging, Atticus Finch for Dinner, Green and Blue Lakes, the list goes on! If you want to read about our trip, head on over to Romance in Rotorua.