Rotorua and family friendly go hand in hand. With so many unique experiences here, there really is a bit of magic in the mix in this special part of New Zealand. From the great outdoors to cultural encounters, adventure and fantasy, it’s the perfect playground for families to create moments that truly matter. Here are Rotorua’s top 6 family friendly activities for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
1. Redwoods Treewalk™
A walk like you’ve never experienced before – Redwoods Treewalk™ literally takes things to a whole new level. From daytime to evening experiences (you can even do both) this will definitely be a highlight of your time in Rotorua. Even wee bubbas who can’t walk yet can cruise above the forest floor on some pretty awesome, purpose-built strollers that are available for guests to use free of charge.
Kids will be ooh-ing and aah-ing as you make your way across stunning bridges high above the forest floor where you are presented with a bird’s eye view of the mighty Redwoods surrounded by New Zealand’s iconic silver ferns. Once the sun sets, this natural wonderland turns into a magical, mystical forest illuminated with giant lanterns and light projections that are simply out of this world.
2. Skyline Rotorua
Skyline Rotorua is a hub of exciting activities that offers something for everyone. It all starts with a scenic Gondola ride up with some spectacular views of Lake Rotorua and the stunning geothermal landscape. For a speedy downhill ride, you can hop on the part go-cart, part toboggan luge for some gravity fuelled fun together. There are 12 km mountain biking trails for some two-wheeled adventures, Zoom Ziplines to propel you across the sky above the majestic Redwood forest, and New Zealand’s only Skyswing so you can scream your hearts out 50 metres above Skyline. Stargazing, nature trails, shopping and dining – Skyline delivers a fun mix of all-day activities to experience you may find it hard to leave.
3. Te Puia
Māori culture, architecture, arts & crafts, kiwi encounters and geothermal wonders – it’s all here at Te Puia. A visit to Rotorua wouldn’t be complete without an authentic Māori experience so you can book either a daytime or evening experience at Te Puia, whichever suits your itinerary. Te Puia is also home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute where master carvers, weavers and other traditional artists help budding students hone their craft.
If you visit during the day, you’ll come face to face with the Pōhutu Geyser – the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere which erupts once or twice an hour and reaches heights of up to 30 metres/100 feet so make sure you have your cameras handy. Kids will also love the chance to see a real-life brown kiwi – another national icon you can view during a daytime visit to Te Puia.
If you book in the evening experience, you’ll participate in a traditional Māori welcome ceremony (pōwhiri), enjoy a feast of authentic Māori cuisine (kai) as well as an intimate concert performance.
4. Lake Tarawera
For a spectacular day out, head out to Lake Tarawera. Scenic boat tour, natural hot springs, picnic by a secluded lake, what more could you ask for? Kids can spend hours on end soaking up the natural thermal waters at Lake Tarawera’s Hot Water Beach – your own piece of paradise for the day. Water taxis can be booked with several pickup and drop off times available throughout the day from The Landing on Lake Tarawera. But before you jump on board, grab a coffee or a bite (and the views) from The Landing.
The stunning 15 km Tarawera Trail is also accessible from The Landing, so you’ll likely spot some avid hikers making their way by foot to Hot Water Beach.
Basic toilet facilities are available at Hot Water Beach, but you will need to bring plenty of your own drinking water (and snacks) for the day.
5. Velocity Valley
From racing the world’s only pedal powered pods to Freefall Xtreme, Velocity Valley is a must-do for families looking for a bit of adrenaline fuelled fun, in a safe way of course. It’s a great place to teach the kids about big picture stuff, like being brave and how important it is to face up your fears right? Leaping off Rotorua Bungy together will instantly do that for you.
With six exhilarating rides and multi-ride packages on offer, you can spend the entire day here living life to the fullest together. There’s a BBQ and picnic area available, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating as well as free parking on-site, you might as well invite the aunties and uncles too!
6. Polynesian Spa
When it’s time to unwind, the family pools at Polynesian Spa is your go-to. Kids will get tired out in the heated freshwater pool, sliding down the hydro slide or kicking it in the toddler’s area. There are two adjacent mineral hot pools for a relaxing soak that mums and dads can thoroughly enjoy for planning the best family holiday ever in Rotorua. There’s even an on-site day spa to pamper mum while dad and the kids enjoy some treats at the café.