Rotorua
Meet the Locals

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Our most recommended Rotorua Meet the Locals

Waimangu Volcanic Valley Morning Tour

1. 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.

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From Auckland: Hobbiton & Rotorua Tour with Lunch at Te Puia

2. From Auckland: Hobbiton & Rotorua Tour with Lunch at Te Puia

Enjoy the magic of Middle Earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set and delight in Maori culture at Te Puia Maori Village in Rotorua on a day tour from Auckland. Travel in comfort with a small group and an experienced local guide in a late-model Mercedes or a similarly configured the vehicle to provide extra leg room and space for your comfort.  After the pick-up from your hotel, journey through gorgeous Waikato scenery to Hobbiton. On arrival, set off on an official 2-hour guided tour through the picturesque twelve-acre site. Learn fascinating details of how a beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-Earth. At the end of your tour, savor a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Climb back into the vehicle for the 55-minute drive to Rotorua. Arrive at Te Puia Maori Village where you will have a freshly prepared hangi lunch featuring traditional Maori food. With plenty of time to explore, discover the Pohutu geyser, mud pools, hot springs, silica formations, and the iconic Kiwi bird. Visit the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving. Then explore Rotorua, visiting the lakefront and the government gardens, before the return journey to Auckland. You can opt for drop off in Rotorua, just select this option when booking. 

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Rotorua: Tamaki Māori Village Cultural Experience

3. Rotorua: Tamaki Māori Village Cultural Experience

Experience the warmth of the Maori people with an evening of ceremonial rituals, cultural performances, storytelling, and hangi feasting at Tamaki Maori Village. Return transport provided from the Gathering Place in Tamaki. Warriors emerge from the forest by canoe to perform the powhiri, an ancient ceremony of welcome that allows visitors safe passage into the village. As you wander beneath the stunning forest canopy, the pre-European village is alive with sights, sounds & activity of days gone. See haka, poi, tattooing, carving, and arts of warrior training.  Watch as the earth is carefully scraped away to reveal baskets of food cooked beneath the ground. Enter the ancestral meeting house and enjoy a powerful cultural performance before dining on the traditional hangi buffet feast. The evening ends with the Poroporoaki (official closing ceremony) before you are returned to the Gathering Place in Tamaki.

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Hobbiton Movie Set & Rotorua Premium Day Tour from Auckland

4. Hobbiton Movie Set & Rotorua Premium Day Tour from Auckland

This full-day excursion begins with a pick-up at your preferred location in Auckland, and a scenic 2-hour drive into Waikato with the possibility of stops for photos en route to the Hobbiton Movie Set. On arrival, you’ll spend 30-45 minutes at the official Hobbiton Gift Shop and have a chance to grab a drink or a bite to eat at the famous Shire's Rest Café. Next you’ll embark on a 2-hour guided tour of the 1,250-acre sheep farm with amazing views of the Kaimai Ranges. Your guide will then lead the way through the 12-acre site that’s home to Hobbit Holes, the Old Mill and the Double-Arched Bridge. Stop for a complimentary drink at The Green Dragon Inn. Your tour then continues to Rotorua, where you'll visit Te Puia and explore Te Whakarewarewa, a 60-hectare geothermal valley. You’ll also have an opportunity to see the kiwi bird house and viewing enclosure, watch traditional Maori carving and weaving, learn about Maori art and history and take a walk around a model pre-European Maori village and sacred marae. If you like, you can enjoy a meal prepared using ancient geothermal cooking techniques, watch a Maori haka performance and learn about Maori culture inside the sacred marae. At the end of the program it will be time to sit back and relax on the scenic drive back to Auckland.

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From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

5. From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

Get picked up from your accommodation or an agreed-upon meeting point in Auckland or Rotorua and set off for Hobbiton. Upon arrival, you'll have some time to get something to eat or explore the Shires Rest souvenir shop before joining a two-hour walking tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, which includes a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Transfer to the movie set on one of the tour operator's buses and hear about how this set was used for all filming of both "The Lord of the Rings" and the "The Hobbit" movies. After the tour, take 15 minutes to relax in the Green Dragon Inn before traveling to Waitomo Caves. Between the two stops, you'll have time to enjoy your picnic lunch. At Waitomo Caves, join a group of up to 12 people on the Black Labyrinth tour, which includes cave tubing and caving in the river that runs through the bottom of the Ruakuri Cave. After arriving at the cave, you will be given a briefing on the art of cave tubing before starting your rafting excursion. Float through a glow-worm grotto, jump over small waterfalls, and enjoy other adrenalin-filled experiences. The tour runs about three hours, 1.5 of which are underground.  Rejoin the main transport for the day and travel to your drop-off destination. On some occasions, the activities may be reversed. After you have completed the final activity, you will be taken to Auckland or Rotorua. You can start and finish in the same place, or choose to make this a one-way journey beginning or ending in Auckland or Rotorua.

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Tauranga: Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers Shore Excursion

6. Tauranga: Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers Shore Excursion

Join a small-group shore excursion from Tauranga to explore North Island's top attractions. Experience geysers, mud pools and steam vents with Maori culture and visit the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set. You will be picked up from Tauranga Port, dependent on your ship's arrival time, and journey to Rotorua. For centuries Whakarewarewa village has been home to the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao people.This is a unique location with the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere and an official Maori guide will meet you for your visit. Encounter a strange landscape of sights, sounds and smells and marvel at the way the Maori's have tamed this land for their own purpose.  Here you'll get the chance to see the iconic Kiwi bird in a purpose made Kiwi bird enclosure. Admire boiling mud pools, native bush, and the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving. Then depart Rotorua and its geothermal wonderland to travel to the second venue of your tour, Hobbiton Movie Set!   Discover the magic on a guided tour with an official guide for an experience to tantalise your senses. Find yourself engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire, at the home of the Hobbits, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.  After your tour, enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon (either alcoholic beer or non-alcoholic ginger beer) that is included in your tour.  You will be returned to Tauranga Port, guaranteed to be back in plenty of time for your ship's departure.

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Rotorua: Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour

7. Rotorua: Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour

Experience the warmth of our Legacy Guided tours through NZ’s iconic living Maori village. Our village guides are direct descendants of early Māori guides, who have shaped tourism in New Zealand for generations. Their insights, knowledge and legendary hospitality (manaakitanga) adds depth and richness to the experience you’ll have at Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village. On the Whakarewarewa Guided Tour, you will explore an authentic Māori village, where people use natural geothermal resources to cook, bathe and heat their homes as they have for centuries. Learn what it’s like to live in the challenging geothermal plateau where daily life includes cooking in the bubbling pools and steam vents, and bathing takes place in the refreshing therapeutic waters. You will view the geothermal wonders of Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, including the world-famous Pōhutu geyser, boiling mud-pools, steam vents and bubbling pools. Take in our various historic landmarks and buildings, including an active Marae (meeting grounds and focal point of Maori communities), our WWII Memorial Archway, historic churches, and tapu (sacred) burial grounds.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Rotorua

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What people are saying about Rotorua

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 321 reviews

It was such an awesome experience, loved the performances, the welcoming at the beginning was so good! The team had such beautiful voices. I tell you, there's only about 10-12 in the group but when you hear them singing....sound like a whole choir!! Amazing! The HANGI was deeeelicious, I swear this was the highlight of our stay in Rotorua and highly recommend it. #KIAORA

We enjoyed everything about the night. The staff were all very happy, informative and entertaining. We went away smiling too, thanks. The most entertaining bus ride there and back also John, the motel pick ups were right on time.

My partner loved learning about maori culture it was definitely an experience to behold

Awesome tour for both. Drivers were amazing made the whole tour a seamless experience.

My family and I had a fantastic experience. We loved the village.