Family Adventures in Rotorua

Rotorua’s cinematic landscapes and dramatic natural wonders set the scene for an unforgettable family trip. Named after the lake it sits on, Rotorua sits within the Pacific Rim of Fire, which means it is a hub of geothermal activity like geysers and natural hot springs. It’s also a living, breathing centre of Māori culture, and is New Zealand’s first officially bilingual city, sharing between the native language and English. This rare gem of a city is filled with opportunities for family adventures, from learning about Māori customs to zip lining over an ancient forest. In this blog we’ll give you the top four family activities to enjoy on your trip to Rotorua. Let the adventure begin… 

Whakarewarewa Forest Geysers
Bike Along the Te Ara Ahi Trail

Strap on your helmets and start pedalling. The Te Ara Ahi Bike Trail will take you past some of the most extraordinary geothermal sites in Rotorua. You’ll stop at Te Puia, a geothermal wonderland which is home to the famous Pohutu Geyser, which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Watch the powerful, steaming geyser erupt up to 30 metres in height, and then stroll around Te Puia to take in the complex Māori arts and crafts and the Kiwi Conservation Centre. If you’re hungry, stay for lunch with a view at the Pātaka Kai restaurant. When you get back on your bike, you can keep riding towards the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Once you’re there, you can take in Inferno Crater Lake, a hot spring with intensely blue water. It’s the perfect, eye-catching photo opportunity for you and the family. 

If you’re riding a Mountain Bike, you can take the trail’s opportunity to sidetrack into the magnificent Whakarewarewa Forest, and look in awe at its soaring Californian Redwood trees.

Ohinemutu Maori Village
Ōhinemutu Village

For a learning experience unlike any other, drive the 5 minutes from Rotorua’s town centre to Ōhinemutu Village. This is an active Māori village, home to the Ngāti Whakaue tribe, whose chief, Pūkākī, you can see on New Zealand’s 20 cent coin. At the centre of the village is the intricately carved Maree, which serves as a lively meeting house for the entire community. The town is located directly above a hotbed of geothermal activity, so you can see puffs rising from the vents, and traditional buildings looking out over a steaming thermal lake, giving the place an otherworldly feeling.  

While this is a real village with Māori people living their lives, the tribe makes a generous effort to extend their Manakitanga (hospitality) to the many interested visitors who cross their threshold. You can take a guided walking tour of Ōhinemutu and see their outdoor bathing sheds and the ways they harness the natural steam to cook traditional meals. A trip to Ōhinemutu Village will definitely satisfy a curious mind. 

Rotorua Canopy Tours
Canopy Tours

Test the family’s fear of heights on a canopy tour, where you’ll walk, climb and zipline for 3+ hours over the beautifully preserved ancient forests of Rotorua. This tour is safe and exciting for kids as young as 6, and is a great way to create a sense of connection with the lush natural surroundings of Rotorua. Featuring custom swing bridges, tree platforms and staircases, the ziplines are designed to immerse you in nature without causing any damage, so it’s an enchanting way to appreciate the local flora and fauna while helping to preserve it. All canopy tours begin at a base less than 10 minutes drive from the centre of Rotorua, where you’ll be prepared before taking a further 13 minute journey by coach to the ziplines themselves. There are set times and group sizes, so make sure that you book this special experience in advance.

To make sure you spend your time in Rotorua adventuring with your loved ones instead of sifting through car hire paperwork, pre-book a car with Dollar NZ. We’ll make sure you’re set for an easy and exciting trip in this flourishing, culturally-rich city.

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