Must-See Destinations to Travel to in Rotorua

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Rotorua is a beautiful city located on New Zealand’s North Island, which is famous for its geothermal wonders! The city is home to a number of hot springs and mud pools, which make it incredibly appealing to photographers, hikers, and all round nature enthusiasts. Not only is Rotorua well loved for its natural beauty, but it also boasts a fascinating Māori culture. In fact, the name Rotorua is a Māori word that means ‘second lake’. We’ve compiled a few must-see attractions for those travelling to Rotorua for the first time.

Glow Worm Caves

You can’t visit Rotorua without checking out the famous glow worm caves! There are a number of caves located in and around the city that are illuminated by bioluminescent glow worms, making this truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is useful to research some of the excursions available, so that you can make your decision based on your budget. This being said, one of the most magical ways to experience the caves is to embark on a kayaking tour, where you paddle through the glowing caves. There are also a number of paths and spots where you can see the glow worms for free, including the Okere Falls, Tutea Caves and the Blue Lake Circuit. 

To book the Kayak Glow Worm Tour, click here

glow worm cave in new zealand

Rotorua Rafting

Due to the vast number of waterfalls within Rotorua, white water rafting has become a highly popular activity amongst both tourists and locals alike! If you’re a thrill seeker, then rafting in Rotorua is an absolute must. Prepare to whizz down some pretty steep inclines, including Tutea Falls which has been named the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the worldboasting a seven-metre-high drop! If you’re interested in booking this experience, visit this link

people white water rafting on a lake in new zealand

Hell’s Gate

Tikitere is an area of Rotura that has been nicknamed ‘Hell’s Gate’ due to it being the country’s most geothermal reserve. This region features a number of hot springs and mud baths the mud boils, bubbles, and releases steam which dissipates into the air, giving it the appearance of something unworldly. Tikitere is open to the public, who can visit and bathe in the warm mud pools, which are said to be filled with nutrients and have healing properties. Hell’s Gate was also considered a sacred location to the Māori people and is linked to a number of Māori legends from over 650 years ago. 

photo of hells gate in rotorua


If you’re a fan of the film franchises The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, then you cannot leave Rotorua without visiting Hobbiton. Hobbiton is the movie set used in both of these iconic film series and it features a range of recognisable backdrops and buildings. The set is located on a 1,250-acre working sheep farm and boasts stunning surrounds of the leafy scenery, making it a particularly picturesque day out. Tickets to Hobbiton can be purchased online and costs between $44 and $89 per person, while children under eight get in for free. Not only does Hobbiton offer walking tours of the impressive movie sets, but it also offers banquet packages with which visitors can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner onsite. 

photo of hobbit house in hobbiton

Lake Taupo

There are a number of excursions that take tourists from Rotorua to Lake Taupo — a glistening lake with a great deal of cultural and historical significance. This lake holds a lot of meaning in the Māori culture and was formed following a volcanic eruption that took place thousands of years ago. Tourists can travel to Lake Taupo via an InterCity bus which takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes. When at the lake, it is recommended that visitors embark on a boat trip to see the world-famous Māori Rock Carvings located in the Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay.

To book a Māori Rock Carvings boat trip, click here.

Huka falls near lake Taupo, New Zealand