Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland rich in Maori culture and adventure activities, offers a unique blend of experiences for travelers. Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, this city is an essential stop on any motorhome tour. Here’s how to make the most of a four-day visit, with recommendations for dining, adventure, and exploration.
Day 1: Geothermal Wonders
Morning: Start your Rotorua adventure at Te Puia, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Here, you can witness the iconic Pohutu Geyser, explore mud pools, and learn about Maori culture through guided tours and live demonstrations of wood carving and weaving.
Afternoon: After soaking in Maori culture, head to the Polynesian Spa for an afternoon of relaxation. Enjoy the therapeutic properties of the mineral-rich waters in one of the many hot pools overlooking Lake Rotorua. The spa offers a variety of pools with different temperatures and mineral compositions, catering to all preferences.
Evening: Dine at Eat Streat, a vibrant dining hub with a variety of restaurants offering everything from local New Zealand fare to international cuisine. Atticus Finch is a standout, featuring a menu that emphasizes local ingredients and bold flavors. The lively atmosphere of Eat Streat, combined with its quality dining options, makes it a perfect place to end your first day.
Day 2: Adventure Awaits
Morning: Embark on an adventure in the Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest. Known for its towering Californian Coast Redwoods, the forest offers numerous walking and mountain biking trails. For an aerial view, tackle the Redwoods Treewalk, a series of suspension bridges among the ancient trees.
Afternoon: For adrenaline junkies, the next stop is Agroventures Adventure Park. Here, you can experience a range of activities, including the world’s first commercial jet sprint, bungee jumping, and the unique Swoop sky swing. Each activity provides a different thrill, offering something for every level of adventure seeker.
Evening: Return to your motorhome for a relaxing evening at the Blue Lake (Lake Tikitapu) campsite. Prepare a meal in your mobile kitchen and enjoy dining al fresco beside the tranquil waters of the lake. The surrounding area is perfect for an evening stroll or a night under the stars.
Day 3: Cultural Immersion
Morning: Visit the living Maori village of Whakarewarewa to experience the daily life of the indigenous people amidst geothermal wonders. Take a guided tour to learn about Maori traditions, see geothermal cooking in action, and enjoy a cultural performance including the famous Haka dance.
Afternoon: Explore the Rotorua Museum for a deeper understanding of the region’s history and culture. Although the museum’s main building may be closed for restoration, various exhibitions are often hosted around the city. Check current locations and exhibitions to enrich your knowledge of Rotorua’s heritage.
Evening: Experience a traditional Hangi feast at Mitai Maori Village. This authentic evening includes a cultural performance, a canoe (waka) parade, and a delicious meal cooked in an earth oven. It’s a memorable way to immerse yourself in Maori culture and cuisine.
Day 4: Nature’s Playground
Morning: Start your day with a visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to see the Champagne Pool, Lady Knox Geyser, and the vividly colored Artist’s Palette. The park’s unique geothermal features make it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.
Afternoon: Head to the Skyline Rotorua for panoramic views of the city and Lake Rotorua. Enjoy a gondola ride up Mount Ngongotaha, then race down the luge tracks—a fun activity for all ages. The Skyline also offers mountain biking trails, a zipline, and a skyswing for more adventurous visitors.
Evening: Conclude your Rotorua journey with dinner at the Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar at Skyline Rotorua. Offering stunning views and a buffet with a variety of international dishes, it’s the perfect place to reflect on your adventures as the sun sets over the city.