Rotorua – a Family Paradise!

rotorua family holiday

Looking for a place to base yourself for a few days, with enough things to see and do for families of all ages? Well, Rotorua sounds like the perfect spot for you and your family! Rotorua is about three hours south of Auckland is famous for its geothermal activity, its wide range of activities, and Maori cultural experiences.

Geysers and Mud Baths

Bubbling hot pools surround the city, which you can view for free at Kuirau Park, or visit the colourful Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, or Hells Gate where you can try your hand at Maori carving or bath in a thermal mud spa. It’s great for your skin!


There are so many options for those that want a unique experience without too much adventure, right through to high adrenaline excursions. But for younger children a day out could include...

Rainbow Springs Nature Park

View the bird aviaries, reptiles and trout  and the National Kiwi Hatchery  where you can go behind the scenes to learn about  the hatching and rearing of chicks, and if you are lucky you might be able to see a baby Kiwi  between September – March. Every kiwi tour booked at the Rainbows Springs Nature Park is a donation to the Kiwi conservation program or even better you can sponsor a Kiwi and follow its progress online!
kiwi bird

Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park

Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park has a wide range of farm animals, birds, fish set in parklike grounds, a nice relaxing place to grab some lunch.  They also have a treetop walk, a fresh water spring you can drink from and the highlight is their Lions enclosure, where you can see the lions being fed.

Rotorua Lions


You can see and learn more about New Zealand famous sheep shearing culture at the Agrodome where you can see the different varieties of sheep, and demonstrations of shearing and sheep dogs working.  If you want to get up close and personal they have a farm tour, where you can hand feed the animals, perfect to keep young ones entertained!


milking cow rotorua

Rotorua's Redwood Forest

A visit to Redwood Forest is lovely way for all ages to enjoy some fresh clean air, and get back to nature. There are numerous walking tracks, you can hire bikes for a leisurely ride, or trails for all abilities for mountain bikers.  Immerse yourself in the forest up high, on the Redwoods Treewalk, where suspension bridges offer a unique viewpoint, both day and  night. Personally I love the night walk, where David Trubridge lights enhance the beauty of the forest. 

Redwood Forest Night Walk

Rotorua Gondola and Luge

One of the most popular, fun things to do is ride the Gondola for spectacular views of Lake Rotorua. Once there you can ride the luge (more like a go-cart, not the Winter Olympics type of luge!) down the windy paths, or should I say race!  This is where Dad’s get pretty competitive…! It’s very addictive, so you will definitely want more than one ride. There are also ziplines, cafes, shops and even star gazing a night.




Rotorua Luge

Maori Cultural Experience

There a many cultural centers to visit. Te Puia is one of the largest and popular, due to its geothermal activity and geysers, Maori culture shows, arts and craft centre and Kiwi viewing enclosure. You can visit during the day , or at night with a hangi dinner .

Mitai Maori Village and Tamaki Maori Village also have cultural shows and hangi dinners if you have your days full and your nights free.


Te Puia - Rotorua

For those with older children or the more active or adventurous you can enjoy nature and surroundings, with some excitement thrown in!

White Water Rafting

Rafting is definitely one of my favourite things to do, with lots of laughs, teamwork and maybe/hopefully not a few spills, or a swim!  The Rangitaiki river is a good moderate trip, with lots of time to learn, hear some stories, and enjoy the bush scenery between negotiating those tricky rapids.  There is usually an option to jump in for a swim where it is nice and safe.

For the thrill seekers the Kaituna river (Grade 5) is definitely for you, with 14 drops it boasts the world highest commercially rafted waterfall, so not for the faint hearted.

Rafting Rotorua

Rotorua Canopy Zipline Adventure

Rotorua Canopy Tours is a zipline adventure which allows you to fly at speed from platform to platform through an ancient New Zealand forest. There are two different experiences with the ultimate tour more adventurous and taking you deeper into the forest.  During the fun and immersive trip you will also learn about the company’s dedicated forest restoration work.  Truly inspiring!

Zipline Rotorua

Off Road 4WD Adventure

Off Road New Zealand gives you chance to get behind the wheel, and drive a 4WD over a selection of obstacles.  All safe, but definitely a challenge. For speedsters, they also have go karting, to test your skill and nerve.  Their monster truck ride  is also fun, but try to keep your mouth shut while you are laughing so you don’t swallow any mud!

off road new zealand

If that’s no enough, there are also jet boating, kayaking, hiking , horse riding,  and more adrenaline rides at Velocity Valley Adventure Park   where you can bungy or fly like superman on their outdoor wind column!

With so much on offer, let First Light Travel help plan what might suit your family ‘s interests for the time you have.  I’m sure it will be a memorable time!

More articles to help you plan your trip to New Zealand Holiday of a Lifetime.

Getting to New Zealand
New Zealand Passport and Visa Requirements
Smooth as possible on arrival to New Zealand
Travel Insurance for New Zealand
Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound?
What is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?
Driving in New Zealand
Safety in New Zealand's Great Outdoors
What to Pack for a New Zealand Holiday
New Zealand Accommodation Guide
New Zealand's Need to Know Facts
What do things cost in New Zealand


Steve Taylor
Steve Taylor
: 10 Aug 2020 (Last updated: 6 May 2021)

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