Get yourself in hot water


Get yourself in hot water

Rotorua offers an interesting mix of adventure and relaxation. Located on one of the world’s most lively geothermal fields, the city of Rotorua has a rather unique character with steam rising unexpectedly from drains and cracks in the ground, and a strong eggy sulphur smell in the air.

Rotorua region marker

But don’t let that turn you off. After a day of adventure, it’s this same geothermal activity that makes Rotorua the perfect place to unwind in one of a number of hot pools and spas located around the town. So what can you do in Rotorua to earn that hot soak? Traditional outdoor activities like walking, hiking and mountain biking are all on offer along with some unique activities like schweebing and zorbing. Intrigued?

Here are approximate travel times and distances to and from Rotorua.

Drive times

  • Auckland to Rotorua: 230 km / 143 miles – 3 hours
  • Hamilton to Rotorua: 105 km / 65 miles – 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Rotorua to Tauranga: 65 km / 40 miles – 1 hour
  • Rotorua to Taupo: 80 km / 50 miles – 1 hour 10 minutes

Travel times can vary significantly, particularly in popular areas during peak visitor months (December – February). For current travel times and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures, use the NZ Transport Agency journey planner before travelling. It’s always a good idea to allow extra time for photo stops and, when travelling longer distances, rest stops.

Rotorua airport is 10 to 15 minutes from the city centre via taxi, shuttle bus or public transport.

  • Auckland (AKL) to Rotorua (ROT): 45 minutes
  • Wellington (WLG) to Rotorua (ROT): 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Christchurch (CHC) to Rotorua (ROT): 1 hour 45 minutes

Summers (December – February) are hot, dry and occasionally humid. Temperatures do reach the high 20s but the average summer high is 23 °C / 73.4 °F and the average low is 12 °C / 53.6 °F.

Winters (June – August) are cold and while snow is rare, winter frosts are common. The average winter high is 13 °C / 55.4 °F and the average low is a chilly 3 °C / 37.4 °F.

Spring and autumn do have their share of mild days but it cools down quickly in the evenings so best to be in a hot pool.

Check current conditions and get the latest Rotorua weather forecast on

While there’s not much you can do about the weather once you’re here, it’s worth knowing what to expect at different times of the year and in different parts of the country. These two articles are well worth reading:

Top things to do in Rotorua

Looking for ideas to help you plan the ultimate New Zealand outdoor adventure? Here are some of the top things for active travellers to see and do in the Rotorua region.

Visit Whakarewarewa ‘The Redwoods’ Forest

Located just a few minutes south of Rotorua town, this forest with its native and exotic trees along with towering Californian Redwoods is popular with both locals and tourists. There’s a mix of walking and mountain biking tracks for those who want to stay firmly on the ground or, for a different perspective, there’s a treewalk made up of 21 suspension bridges high in the forest canopy. You can find out more about this and all other activities on offer on

Whakarewarewa Redwoods

Get your adrenaline pumping

If adrenaline-based activities are what you’re after, Velocity Valley adventure park is where you need to go. There’s bungy jumping and a giant swing that will get you from 0-130km/h in 1 second. Or you could try out the schweeb racer, pedal powered pods suspended on a 600m track. Not unusual enough for you? How about ‘zorbing’, or rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball with OGO.

For another forest activity, try ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours or, if you don’t mind getting wet, and you will, try rafting or sledging with Kaitiaki Adventures.

Rotorua Canopy Tours

Explore geothermal hotspots

No visit to Rotorua would be complete without visiting at least one of the area’s geothermal attractions with their bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and unbelievable colours.

Champagne Pool

Relax and unwind

Thermal resorts in Rotorua provide the opportunity to enjoy geothermal hot mineral waters with options for both communal and private bathing. Or you can go for the full spa experience with massages and treatments using volcanic mud.

Polynesian Spa