Bay of Plenty Region Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Bay of Plenty Region 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 Lake: Deluxe Lake Spa Geothermal Hot Spring Bathing

2. 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.

White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

3. White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

Take to the skies to admire the marine volcano of White Island from above. Your friendly and professional crew will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout your experience. You’ll receive a flight and safety briefing before heading out onto the tarmac to your aircraft. Be sure to bring your camera, as everyone gets a window seat. Enjoy fantastic views as your enthusiastic pilot shares local insights. Fly over the township of Whakatane before heading offshore over Moutohora (Whale) Island, an extinct volcano that is now a wildlife refuge. Continue on to White Island, keeping a lookout for a bird's eye views of dolphins and large schools of fish. During several turns around the island, you’ll have the opportunity to see the volcano from all angles and shoot plenty of stunning photos. You’ll get closer each time and the pilot will dip the wing for uninterrupted views. Your pilot will give you tips for capturing the best photos and alert you when a good opportunity arises. Peer directly into the crater, smell volcanic gasses and admire incredible views of sulfur vents, bubbling mud, and acid lakes. Enjoy the most time above the crater out of any of the local flight operations before the scenic return flight to Whakatane airport.

Rotorua: Kaituna River Rafting Expereince

4. 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.

Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

5. Kaituna River and Tutea Falls Whitewater Rafting

Join an epic grade 5 whitewater rafting expedition on the Kaituna River and get an adrenaline rush in its deep warm water canyons. Located a 25-minute drive from central Rotorua, the rafting base is next to the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve.  Join an expert guide on an action-packed, 50-minute adventure down 14 epic rapids. Brave the famous 7-meter Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. A must-do for adrenaline junkies and first-time rafters alike, the adventure is run by super-friendly guides to give you the safest and most entertaining trip on the river. Stretch your legs on the nearby walking track at the end of your raft to watch the rapids tumble over the falls, or head to the nearby cafe to enjoy some food and the best selection of craft beer in Rotorua.

Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

6. Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Rotorua. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. As you drive, pass through the pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, Blue Baths, Thermal Springs and Polynesian Spa. From here enjoy the option to add on up to two of Rotorua's most popular activities and attractions (additional cost). Please add on the activities or attractions you would like to include during the booking process. Maybe head to the famous geothermal park and Maori cultural village of Te Puia, bathe in the geothermal waters of the Polynesian Spa, experience some farm culture at the Agrodome Sheep Show, or ride the gondola at Skyline! Or you can simply choose to explore the city at your own pace before your return to Auckland.

Rotorua: The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour

7. Rotorua: The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour

The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour is a special opportunity to gain insight into and view this highly regarded conservation center. From humble beginnings in 1995, the team has hatched, raised and released over 2,100 kiwi back into the wild, making The National Kiwi Hatchery the most successful in the world. Recently redeveloped with the visitor experience in mind, the hatchery boasts special viewing opportunities and is hosted by kiwi expert guides who ensure guests leave fully informed and all questions answered. Learn all about New Zealand’s intriguing national icon and the efforts of the kiwi husbandry team, see and discover what it takes to hatch and rear chicks. Stand in a human-sized kiwi burrow, sit in a giant kiwi egg, and see real kiwi in the nocturnal enclosure.  100% of your ticket entry goes straight back into the Kiwi hatching programme.

Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

8. Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

Departing from Whakatāne Wharf, the journey to Moutohorā is just a short 15-minute boat ride aboard a comfortable catamaran “The Moutohorā Cat”. Designed to be able to nestle right onto the shore, disembarking is as easy as walking down some stairs and stepping onto the beach. Once ashore, a fully-guided tour means you can learn about the island's unique flora and fauna and the conservation effort focused on Moutohorā for the past 50 years. Since becoming pest-free, bird life on Moutohorā has flourished and there is a chance to see a number of different species including saddleback/tieke, kakariki/red-crowned parakeet, little brown kiwi, bellbirds, tui, grey warbler; many of which are endangered or seldom seen on the New Zealand mainland. The walk includes a visit to the island's saddle (the dip between the two highest summits) for spectacular views out to White Island and a visit to Sulphur Bay where geothermal hot springs come up through the sand allowing for you to dig your own hot pool on the beach. Please note there are no changing facilities or bathrooms on the island. After enjoying a swim, you will return to Boulder Bay and re-board “The Cat” where, if conditions permit, the catamaran may circumnavigate the island before returning to Whakatāne.  There may also be an opportunity to stop and spend time with any marine life encountered along the way. Due to the precious nature of this pest-free island, access is highly restricted to the general public. The only way to visit the island is with a Department of Conservation approved concessionaire. This tour operator is permitted to take a small number of visitors to the island each day. 

Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience

9. 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.

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 Bay of Plenty Region

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 426 reviews

Had a wonderful time on the trip. Flexitours did a great job of reacting to a weather issue and finding us new activities to do, and was also willing to allow new additions to the itinerary that we discovered along the way. Great trip!

Awesome, amazing. I was a bit nervous to begin with, but sooo glad I did it and would do it again. Highly recommend. The rafting guides are experienced and knowledgeable

Great Tour! You learn really interesting facts about the Kiwis. Our Guide was really nice and funny. Definitely worth a visit!

Highly recommended activity when in Rotorua. Go for the walk around the area as it is a very scenic and beautiful 2km walk.

Excellent skydive overlooking the beautiful Mount Maunganui! A definite must do experience :)