Two days in Rotorua is ample time to expand your reach to a multitude of natural and cultural attractions around the New Zealand city. Get a lay of the land in a variety of ways, from relaxing strolls alongside gurgling hot pools to sky-high adventures over a stunning geothermal landscape. Here’s how to make the most of a 2-day stay.
Day 1: Exploring Around Town
Morning: Discover the features that make Rotorua famous while city sightseeing with a guide who points out historical landmarks. Then head past town borders to the boiling mud pools and geysers of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. After your on-the-ground introduction, ride the Skyline Rotorua Gondola for panoramic views.
Afternoon: Kids love observing the wildlife at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, which includes the Kiwi Encounter and a water ride on the Big Splash. Alternatively, take part in farm life at the Rotorua Agrodome. A visit to the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute lets you watch your steam lunch being cooked the traditional way.
Night: Spend the evening digging into a hangi (pit-oven–cooked) feast, served buffet-style at a marae (traditional Maori meeting grounds). Take the family to watch a cultural performance that starts with a welcome ceremony and leads to spirited singing and haka war dances—a great way to learn about the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Day 2: Aerial and Aquatic Adventures
Morning: A duck tour provides informative narration on city landmarks, including the Blue Baths building located in the Government Gardens, followed by a splash into Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Okareka. For something a little more exciting, zip around Lake Rotorua on an exhilarating jet-boat ride.
Afternoon: See the stunning Lakes District from the air and snap pics of clear and colorful waterways, including Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake), during a scenic float-plane ride. View Mt. Tarawera, the Steaming Cliffs, and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The water take-off and landing can’t be beat!
Night: Finally, it’s time to relax. Visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland if you want to see more bubbling pools and gushing geysers, or simply soak in one of the many thermal spas. Another alternative for weary travelers is the Polynesian Spa, with a variety of developed mineral pools—both public and private.