Squeeze in a visit to Rotorua between the Auckland and Wellington games of the Lions Rugby Tour. You won’t regret it!
Leaving Auckland after game day (24 June), do a customary stop at the world-famous Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata before making your way further south to visit Rotorua – NZ’s geothermal capital and an adventure-packed playground. You’ll get 3-4 days in Rotorua before the Wellington game on 1 July.
Here are some things you could get up to in NZ’s coolest hot spot when you’re in the country for the Lions Rugby Tour.
Plunge down waterfalls
Seven metres may seem like nothing, but flying down it in an inflatable boat is quite the adventure for most. Located just a short drive from Rotorua’s city centre (so it’s easy to do during your stay for the Lions Rugby Tour), on the Kaituna River, the Tutea Falls are the world’s largest commercially rafted waterfalls and must-do for thrill seekers. Tours can be booked with us here at Kaitiaki Adventures and combine a little bit of Maori culture and history.
Take a dip in the hot pools
You’ll be missing out if you don’t soak in some of the natural hot springs and hot pools in Rotorua while you’re here for the Lions Rugby Tour – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking one. There a few free natural hot springs that have become quite popular, including Kerosene Creek and The Bridge (a.k.a The Secret Spot). But it will be the middle of winter, so we suggest heading to one of the indoor places – Polynesia Spa is absolutely delightful. Along with hot pools, you can even treat yourself to Rotorua’s famous mud spa.
Witness the earth’s raw fury after the Lions Rugby Tour
Prepare to have your mind blown away when you visit one – or more – of the geothermal parks in Rotorua (you could easily fit in a couple in the short time you have here). Bubbling mud, steaming volcanic crater lakes in distinctive rusty and blue colours, and erupting geysers, Rotorua is a hot bed for volcanic activity. Wai-o-Tapu, Waimangu, Whakarewarewa and Hell’s Gate are popular geothermal parks that also give you an insight into Maori legends that surround this mystical land.
There is no shortage of cultural experiences in Rotorua. Be welcomed into a traditional Maori Village, take part in a haka and enjoy a memorable Maori feast (hangi) at Tamaki Maori Village.
You may also appreciate a visit to Ohinemutu – a village home to the original Maori settlement of the Ngati Whakaue Tribe where you can see ancient Maori carvings and the historical church.
Check out Eat Street & Night Market
Active adventures call for plenty of pit stops to refuel. And Rotorua doesn’t disappoint in what it has to offer. Just head out to Eat Street and enjoy the buzz of packed cafes, restaurants and bars. The street’s thermally-heated footpaths will keep you warm in the cold evenings. Our top suggestions for places to hang out are SO Bar and Brew Craft Beer Pub. Nearby Capizzi Pizzeria and Sabroso (Latin American cuisine) are great eateries.
To enjoy the best of local kai (food), head to Rotorua Night Market, held every Thursday Night in the city centre. Live music, food stalls and great entertainment, it’s the place to be on Thursdays.