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Lake Rotorua by Julian Apse

Top 7 Must-Do Activities in Rotorua

Rotorua is well known for it's geothermal wonders and adrenaline-pumping activities, but did you know it's also a haven for mountain biking? Check out some of our top must-do activities.

North Island
Walking and Hiking
1. Geothermal Wonders

This will come as no surprise to those acquainted with the town's reputation for being a bit whiffy at times, but we promise it's absolutely worth braving the sulphurous scent to explore the weird and wonderful geological features that are abundant in and around Rotorua. There are so many, we've even picked our Top 9 Geothermal Hostspots to Explore In Rotorua.

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Te Pohutu geyser at Te Puia


2. Maori Cultural Experiences

Rotorua is also famous for having an awesome array of Maori cultural experiences that include traditional art, architecture, performance, food, and more! You'd be remiss not to visit one of the amazing operators that offer a YHA member or guest discount like Tamaki Maori Village, Te Puia, and Mitai Maori Village - we highly recommend chatting to our reception staff to see which experience suits you best and grab a deal while you're at it!


Tamaki Maori Village


3. On Ya Bike

This town competes for the title of mountain biking capital of New Zealand (check out the other contenders here), so it should be no surprise there are some top notch MTB spots easily accessible from town. Try the Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest (details below), or the 15km Tarawera Trail which winds around the edge of Lake Tarawera towards Hot Water Beach. Or for more of park experience, spring for a Gondola to the top and experience the Skyline Gravity Bike Park, home to some pretty epic mountain biking events in Rotorua each year.


The Redwoods Rotorua by Graeme Murray


4. Tree Hugger

Even if you're not into biking, the Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest is worth a visit. It's full of excellent walking trails winding through these majestic giants so you can take a leisurely stroll - you might even come across people riding horses or running with their doggos. Alternatively, you can experience the forest from above the ground with the beautiful Rotorua Treewalk - they've even got a night option which is all lit up for your viewing pleasure.


Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua


5. On The Water

With aqua aplenty nearby, you'd be silly not to get out on the water! Choose one of the 20 different lakes for your choice of boating, jetskiing, biscuiting, kayaking, paddle-boarding and more. Trout fishing is popular too! Rotorua is also known as a rafting hotspot, with plenty of local companies and a variety of grades depending on your adrenaline tolerance.


Kaituna River Rafting


6. Conquer the Canopy 

Canopy Tours is not your average ziplining experience! This eco-adventure features platforms, swing bridges, and yes, ziplines suspended high above ancient bush. Learn about their conservation efforts under the canopy of native New Zealand forest, then challenge your fears by soaring above it. There's a reason this attraction wins awards. Talk to our reception about how you can grab a discount.


YHA team at Canopy Tours Rotorua


7. Get Ya Heart Racing

This town rivals Queenstown for getting your adrenaline fix! Try one of these on for size:

  • Jump in a giant inflatable ball (optional: filled with water!) and roll down a hill with Zorb. 20% off for YHA members.
  • After a scenic gondola ride up the hill, try luging, zipling, or a skyswing to get your pulse racing at Skyline Luge & Gondola. Special deals at YHA reception.
  • Get a YHA member discount at Velocity Valley to try free-fall machines, jet-boating, bungy, swoop and more!
  • Try Karting and 4WD adventure activities at Off Road NZ with 10% off for YHA members.


Our helpful team at YHA Rotorua can help you book all of these activities and more. Get in touch or chat to them on arrival to plan your trip!

Velocity Valley

Emma Crequer

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