Five Awesome Things to Do in Rotorua, New Zealand

As soon as you enter Rotorua the scent of Sulphur in the humid air fills your nostrils, smelling like Satan’s eggy farts. Don’t worry, although it’s a bit stinky here you get used to it quickly and you’ll be too busy having fun to notice. The city of Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island, smells like this because it is part of the Volcanic Zone, which is a geothermal field that extends from White Island in the Bay of Plenty all the way to Mount Ruapehu. This North Island destination is rich with steaming hot springs, bubbling pools of boiling mud and spurting geysers. Here are the top 5 things to do in Rotorua during your visit.

Top 5 Things to Do in Rotorua: Champagne Pool at Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Area
Champagne Pool at Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Area

Top 5 Things to Do in Rotorua

1. Attend a Hangi

35% of the population in Rotorua is Maori and at Mitai Maori village you can have the opportunity to experience a traditional hangi feast, which involves cooking food with hot rocks buried in a pit underground. Mitai Maori village hosts a full experience package that includes pickup from your Rotorua accommodation, traditional dance and music performance and a feast.

Maori Carving Rotorua New Zealand
Maori Carving

2. See the Pohutu Geyser Erupt

This famous geyser blows its top up to 20 times per day to a height of up to 30 meters. Its name means “explosion” or “big splash.” It is pretty incredible to watch, but make sure that you don’t get too close to it! It is located near the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, which is also an interesting attraction that is worth checking out.

Pohutu Geyser at Te Puia Geothermal Area Rotorua New Zealand
Pohutu Geyser at Te Puia Geothermal Area: Photo by Carl Lindberg / CC BY-SA 3.0

3. Take a Dip in Some Natural Hot Pools

Rotorua is rich with geothermal activity and there are lot of natural hot pools around the city that you can bathe in. For example, you can check out Kerosene Creek, Wairua Stream, Wai-O-Tapu or the baths where you can dip your feet at Kuirau Park.

4. Take a Walk in the Government Gardens

The lovely Government Gardens in Rotorua are considered sacred to the Maori and they have a very interesting past, as a battle and a burial ground. Now they have been turned into elegantly landscaped gardens surrounding a Tudor-style spa bath and a Mediterranean style public swimming pool.

Top 5 Things to Do in Rotorua: Government Gardens and Museum of Art and History New Zealand
Rotorua Government Gardens and Museum of Art and History

5. Visit the Rotorua Museum of Art and History

This excellent museum will give you a glimpse into the past of Rotorua and teach you about the history and the people of the area. It is located within a stunning Elizabethan style heritage building that has been a spa, a restaurant and a nightclub before it was turned into a museum.

Consider these top 5 things to do in Rotorua so you’d have an awesome time while you are visiting Rotorua in New Zealand. This intriguing geothermal city has so much to see and do!

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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