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Rotorua Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Rotorua Nature & adventure

Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath & Sulphur Spa

1. Rotorua: Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath & Sulphur Spa

Discover the best of Hell's Gate Geothermal Park in Rotorua with daily guided tours, a map for a geothermal walk, and multiple spa experiences. Enjoy mud baths, a mud foot pool, sulfur spas, Māori carving, and more. Located approximately 15 minutes from the town's center, Hell's Gate awaits. When you arrive, choose to start your visit by discovering the geothermal features using an included map or join one of the daily guided tours. After learning about the history, features, and uniqueness of the geothermal area and the unique healing muds of Hell's Gate, experience New Zealand’s historic spa for yourself. Soak in unique thermal mud and acidic sulfurous waters that have been used by the local Maori for more than 800 years. The warm geothermal mud opens and cleans the skin’s pores, while the sulfur spas give your skin gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing. 

Rotorua Forest 3-Hour Zipline Canopy Tour

2. Rotorua Forest 3-Hour Zipline Canopy Tour

Join in a small-group zipline tour that will have you soaring through Rotorua's forest canopy. Switch between the six zipline cables suspended 22-meters above the ground and see the forest from a different perspective.  When you arrive at the base, you'll receive a warm welcome from the front office team. Check-in and meet your down-to-earth highly experienced kiwi guides who will kit you out with all necessary equipment for the day's weather. A quick 10-minute van ride and you'll arrive at the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve.  Your guides will share fascinating New Zealand eco-tour knowledge with your group, which is limited to just 10 people. At the first platform after a safety briefing, you’ll be off, exploring the native forest on 1.2 km network of Rotorua ziplines, swing bridges and treetop platforms. In total there are 6 ziplines totaling more than 650 meters, the highlight for most being the jaw-dropping 220-meter 'tui song' zipline that departs from 22 meters up a 1000-year-old tree.  Your trusty guides will be clipping you on and off all of the safety systems during your tour, your guide will even slow you down as you arrive at each platform. You will not be required to operate any of the equipment on the tour. This allows you to enjoy the ziplines and take in the magical native forest. 

Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

3. Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

Drive to the Rotorua Rafting base, just a 20 minute drive from Central Rotorua. Meet your guide at the base and dress up in your wetsuit to stay toasty warm for the day. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know. Don't worry if you've never been whitewater rafting before, you don't need any experience. Non-swimmers are even able to tackle the river. In the summer months, the river is 25 degrees Celsius, making it the warmest river in the country. A quick hop across the road will see you arrive at the river ready to tackle 14 epic rapids and 3 waterfalls. The highlights will be jumping, swimming, surfing, and plummeting over the highest commercially rafted waterfall on the planet. After an hour of action, you will arrive back at the base ready to get changed and check out the photos that were taken throughout the adventure.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley Morning Tour

4. Waimangu Volcanic Valley Morning Tour

Discover Rotorua’s most popular geothermal parks: Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Join a small-group morning tour capped at 11 guests for a personal experience led by a knowledgeable guide. You will be picked up from your Rotorua accommodation between 8:05 AM and 8:30 AM. Enjoy a 25-minute scenic drive through forestry and farmland before arriving at New Zealand's largest boiling mud pools. Your next stop will be the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Your guide will explain the Mt Tarawera eruption which blew open this spectacular bush-covered geothermal park. Pause at the Waimangu Volcanic Valley Cafe for lunch at 12:00 PM before being dropped back to your accommodation between 12:30 PM to 1:00 PM. Due to staff shortages, Wai-O-Tapu is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. As an alternative option, the activity provider will substitute this site for the beautiful Lake Rotomahana boat cruise at Waimangu on these specific days.

Rotorua: Secret Spot Hot Tubs

5. Rotorua: Secret Spot Hot Tubs

Be greeted by the facility’s friendly staff on arrival and hear more about your hot tub experience. Use the customized changing room facilities and refresh in the cedarwood showers before heading outside and following the signs to your personal hot tub. Slip into the soothing water of your hot tub and feel your body relax. Invite friends and family to share the spacious tub and take in the serenity of the surrounding forest. Enjoy complimentary drinking water, or use the push button service to order from the bar without leaving the water. Sample a craft beer or cider, tea, Manuka roasted coffee, or a wine from the Mills Reef selection. During the day listen out for local birds chirping in the trees, and by night gaze up at the stars you can see above the forest darkness. After your 45-minute hot tub soak has finished, feel free to slip your feet into a “Shinny Dip” tub to end the experience.

Rotorua Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

6. Rotorua Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

Relax and unwind at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa – a world-leading, natural mineral bathing and luxury spa retreat. Geothermal waters nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles and aches and pains, while decadent therapies rejuvenate through ancient and modern techniques. Combined with the healthy café, Polynesian Spa restores the body inside and out. This ticket provides access to the premium bathing area, the Deluxe Lake Spa, which includes a range of mineral rock pools at various temperatures. Using both alkaline and acidic mineral springs, the Deluxe Lake Spa is the ultimate geothermal bathing experience. The therapeutic waters at Polynesian Spa come from two different natural springs. The Priest Spring is named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was "cured" of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water from the Priest Spring relieves tired muscles and aches and pains. The Rachel Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachel Spring are blessed with ageless beauty. The combination of these two types of mineral waters is only found at Polynesian Spa. This spa was built on the site of historic bath houses that first made the city world-famous in the 1800s. At Polynesian Spa, elements of early buildings and baths have been carefully retained and the site is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

7. Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

Enjoy a therapeutic mud bath and sulfur spa at Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve, located just a 15-minute drive from central Rotorua. A round-trip shuttle service option from Rotorua is also available. Soak in the thermal mud and acidic, sulfurous waters as the local Maori have done for over 800 years. Apply the natural geothermal mud to your skin while relaxing in the warm sulfurous waters for 20 minutes. Follow the mud spa with a cool shower before relaxing in the hot sulfur mineral spa. The warm geothermal mud opens and cleans the skin’s pores, and the sulfur spa provides a gentle exfoliation and deep cleansing.

Rotorua City and Lakes Duck Tour

8. Rotorua City and Lakes Duck Tour

Discover Rotorua city and its lakes on a unique 90-minute sightseeing adventure that takes you over land and into the water by amphibious vehicle. This is the best way to see the city and experience the beauty of the lake region on a single tour. Your tour begins right in the heart of the city, where you’ll see the city’s top sights and learn about the diversity that makes Rotorua such a unique destination. Venture out of town to the spectacular lake region and take in magnificent views of Mount Tarawera. Splash down into Lake Tikitapu and Lake Okareka. The tour is educational and fun for the whole family. Everyone is sure to enjoy this unique adventure in an authentic WWII-era amphibious vehicle.

Whaka Village Guided Tour & Self-Guided Geothermal Trails

9. Whaka Village Guided Tour & Self-Guided Geothermal Trails

Decide whether to take the guided tour first or do the Geothermal Trails to start. Experience the untouched natural landscapes, steaming lakes, and bubbling hot pools on the Geothermal Trails. Get stunning views of the Geysers and over the village from the top lookouts with great photo opportunities.Learn first hand about the history and traditions of the people who have occupied the village for over 100 years, and how they utilize the Geothermal that the village sits upon to cook and bath in their everyday lives.

Kaituna River: 3.5-Hour Whitewater Rafting Experience

10. Kaituna River: 3.5-Hour Whitewater Rafting Experience

Take on a thrilling rafting adventure with experienced and local Kiwi guides. From first timers to white rafting enthusiasts - there's something for everyone. Navigate a wildly beautiful landscape while learning about Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and protection of the land. A quality adventure is blended with Maori culture for a memorable experience. You can self-drive or benefit from courtesy transport from your door to the relaxing River base situated in the middle of Rotorua's native Kahikatea Forest. You're welcome to make use of the volleyball court or 3D maze located onsite. Receive an in-depth safety briefing on land and clamber into high-quality river gear. It's a quick bus ride to the Okere section of the Kaituna River where you'll train and hone your rafting skills before dropping into the gorge and commencing your adrenaline packed activity. Snake through steep New Zealand native bush clad canyons. Be thrilled by fourteen awesome rapids and tree waterfalls including the world-renowned 7-meter Tutea Falls. Once your amazing journey on the river comes to an end, jump back on the bus and head back to the River base. Re-live the rafting action through photos snapped by a professional adventure photographer along the way. 

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What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 374 reviews

I did that rafting tour years ago. This time I took my boys (15 and 17 yrs) with me. And I have to say we all really enjoyed it, no we LOVED it. Cam, Nate and Lucas were lovely, we felt welcome from the minute we walked in there. We felt safe at all times on the raft. We even got to know the history of the river which was cool. Totally a must do activity while in Rotorua!

The activities is great definitely recommend But if you are joining the hike and rafting combo, be reminded that to bring a small lunch to have because the schedule is quiet tight and there is no restaurant near the rafting meeting point in the afternoon.

A very enjoyable experience for the whole family (kids 8, 13 & 15). Be mindful that sulfur will continue being expressed from your pores for days afterwards and your clothing will retain the odour.

One of the best geothermal walks I have been on during my time in New Zealand! Spa would’ve been nice if I had the time!

It was a great tour & our guide was very informative. I’d suggest everyone receives a bottle of water to stay hydrated.