Long renowned as a geothermal wonderland, a nature-lover and outdoor-adventurer’s playground, and a center of Maori culture, the list of things to do and places to visit in Rotorua – one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations – is both a long one and a fun one!

The mix of natural, manmade and cultural attractions and activities on offer to visitors caters to different interests, tastes and ages… and ranges from the adrenaline pumping to the blissfully relaxing. Think of boiling mud pools, steaming geysers and hot springs, mountain biking, forest trekking, trout fishing, ziplining…
Add to the mix a great place to stay that offers an awesome location, comfortable rooms, excellent facilities and a friendly atmosphere, and you have all the makings of a fantastic holiday. A leader in Rotorua hostel accommodation, Haka House Rotorua is a short stroll from the shores of picturesque Lake Rotorua and an ideal base from which to explore this popular destination.

A literal stone’s throw from the hostel is Kuirau Park, a geothermal public park with walkways that meander past mud pools, hot springs and a crater lake. A few minutes’ drive away on the other side of town is Te Puia, spread across 70 hectares of the historic Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest natural geyser – Pohutu Geyser – which erupts some 15 times a day!

Definitely among the places to visit in Rotorua, Te Puia is also home to the Kiwi Conservation Centre, while skilled carvers and weavers demonstrate their skills at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Visitors can explore the geothermal landscape of native bush, geysers and mud pools during the day, and for a totally different experience, at night.

If mountain biking is your thing, then Rotorua is the place for you. Lovingly referred to as the ‘mountain biking capital of New Zealand’, there are over 160 km of world-class mountain biking trails to enjoy, much of this in lush forest. The area is an internationally known mountain biking hotspot, and hosts various national and world championships, downhill and endurance events.

Among the top places to go mountain biking are Whakarewarewa Forest – five minutes from the town center and where there are popular trails graded from easy to expert that thread through towering redwoods; Skyline Gravity Par – 10 minutes from town with easy to expert trails offering great views of Lake Rotorua; Rainbow Mountain – 30 minutes south of Rotorua where experienced riders can enjoy challenging advanced rides through geothermal terrain; and Moerangi Track – 90 minutes from Rotorua where an advanced track takes the rider through picturesque forest.

There are many things to do in Rotorua, New Zealand’s longest established tourist destination which has been welcoming visitors for well over 100 years. Adventure lovers are certainly well catered to, with a choice of different thrills on offer. Perched high above the city atop Mt Ngongotaha is Skyline Rotorua, with its gondolas, downhill luge rides, zipline and the country’s only Skyswing. A 10 minute drive out of town is Velocity Valley, where visitors can ride a BMX bike into a huge airbag, have a go at the reverse bungy, zip through the water at 100 km an hour on the Agrojet, try the Shweeb Racer human powered monorail racetrack and much more.

After all the fun and adventure, there’s no better place to relax and rejuvenate than at Polynesian Spa. Picturesquely located alongside Lake Rotorua and also among the popular Rotorua activities for families, here there are 28 mineral pools fed from two natural springs to enjoy, while naturally there’s a range of health and wellness treatments on offer too.

Another of the must places to visit in Rotorua is the Agrodome, 10 minutes from town and set across 350 acres of farmland. For over 40 years this renowned attraction has been entertaining visitors from around the world with its Farm Show featuring 19 different breeds of sheep and other animals, and guided tour of the farm and orchard.