As the nights start to get lighter and the daffodils begin to bloom, the winter gloom starts to lift all around New Zealand. The spring months are the perfect time to plan a little weekend getaway and Rotorua is a great place to visit at this time of year. With temperatures starting to rise, Rotorua start to come back to life and with so many things to do in the city, there’s a bit of something for everyone whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend away and some relaxing spa treatments, a weekend away mountain biking with friends or just a relaxing weekend taking in some Maori culture.
Check out our top five things to do in Rotorua this spring and get planning your weekend break today.
1. Geothermal Wonderland
Once you get over the smell in Rotorua (the sulphur can get a bit pongy at times!) the geothermal activity in the area is pretty incredible and there are lots of places you can visit to check this out. Here are some of our favourites:
- Wai-O-Tapu – this is one of our favourite geothermal attractions in Rotorua and the Champagne Pools are a definite highlight.
- Te Puia – check out the famed Pohutu Geyser which erupts up to 20 times a day, reaching heights of up to 30 metres.
- Waimangu Volcanic Valley – formed after the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, Waimangu is the youngest geothermal eco-system in the world.
2. Relaxing Hot Springs
If you are looking for a nice romantic weekend away or maybe a weekend away with the girls, then Rotorua has plenty of great options when it comes to spa and hot spring facilities. The most popular is the Polynesian Spa which is nestled on the shores of Lake Rotorua. The waters that feed the resort are fed from two natural hot springs and they supply 28 hot mineral pools at Polynesian Spa. This place is heavenly and a great place to rest, relax and reset.
If you are looking for something a bit more casual and laid back, there are lots of free hot springs you can access in and around Rotorua. The Bridge and Kerosene Creek are two popular sites located close together near Wai-O-Tapu. Kerosene Creek features a 2m high waterfall which bathers can sit under and contemplate how lucky they are in life! If you are looking for something a bit close to the city, head to Kuirau Park in the CBD where you can dip your feet in the geothermally heated waters.
3. Maori Culture
Rotorua has a rich history with the city’s heritage on show wherever you go. There is still a strong Maori presence in Rotorua which makes it a great place to learn about the culture and traditions and find out more about New Zealand’s great past. Some of the top spots to visit include:
- Rotorua’s beautiful Government Gardens is a Waahi Tapu area and is sacred to Maori.
- The Rotorua Museum is a must. Situated in the Rotorua Bath House, the museum is spectacular both inside and out and a great place to learn about New Zealand’s fascinating history. Currently closed for Earthquake strengthening, keep an eye out when you are planning your trip as it is definitely worth a visit
- The Buried Village of Te Wairoa – buried by the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, The Buried Village is a great place to visit to find out more about the eruption and learn more about New Zealand’s most famous volcano eruption.
- Tamaki Maori Village – if you want to immerse yourself in some Maori Culture, head along to Tamaki Maori Village where you can see what it was like to live in a Maori Village, learn more about the skills and crafts of the Maori and enjoy a traditional Hangi cooked dinner. Overnight stays are also available.
4. Adventure capital of the North Island
Whilst Queenstown may lay claim to ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand” (and possibly the world!), Rotorua can certainly lay claim to that title in the North Island. This area is packed with ‘them parks’ and adventure activities to suit everyone. Here are 3 of our personal favourites:
- Agroventures Adventure Park – there are heaps of activities you can get stuck into here including Agrojet, one of New Zealand’s fastest jet boats, Rotorua Bungy, Swoop – a 141ft super swing and Shweeb, the world’s only suspended pod race. Awesome!
- Skyline Luge – take the scenic Skyline Gondola to the top and then race your way down one of the three luge tracks. Part go-cart, part toboggan, the specially designed luge carts are great fun for the whole family
- Zorb Rotorua – if you have never done it before, there is no better place to give Zorbing a try. Zorbing was invented in Rotorua and basically involves you throwing yourself down a steep hill in a giant inflatable ball. Sound like fun? Give it a go in Rotorua!
5. Mountain Biking
This one could have fitted into Adventure Activities but the mountain biking is so good in Rotorua we thought it deserved its own category! Rotorua offers up some world class mountain biking trails and every year the city welcomes the best mountain bikers from around the world for the annual Crankworx Festival and Rotorua Bike Festival. The two most popular spots to head in Rotorua are the Redwoods (Whakarewarewa Forest) where you will find over 130kms of trails catering for all levels of mountain biker.
Another popular spot is the Skyline Gravity Park. Take all the hard work out of mountain biking by taking the Skyline Gondola up to the top where you will find the MTB Gravity Park which has 10.5kms of downhill trails to explore.
Rotorua is an awesome place to visit at any time of the year but we love the spring months when the beautiful flowers are starting to bloom and the anticipation of the summer ahead puts people in such a great mood.