8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com
8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day

15 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day ☂️ [2024]

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All-Weather and Indoor Activities in Rotorua – Perfect for a Rainy Day!

New Zealand‘s geothermal hotspot has lots to offer even when the weather is morbid. Aside from the obvious cinema, bowling and afternoon in the pub, the city of Rotorua can still offer an awesome time even when the weather is not compliant. Although it might be tempting to stay in your accommodation, moving from the lobby to the room following the WiFi connection, you can seriously do better in Rotorua. With that in mind, here’s a list of fun things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day!

And when the weather clears up, be sure to have the 50 Best Things to Do in Rotorua at the ready!

1. Unwind in One of the Hot Pools

With the city branded as a “geothermal wonderland”, there are more thermal pools than you can count! Stewing in one of the 5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua while it is raining is the perfect mix of hot and cold.

If you don’t like the raindrops falling on your head, however, there are always sheltered options, such as some of the pools at the Polynesian Spa (bookable on Klook and KKday), Wai Ariki Hot Springs and the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. Alternatively, mix your hot pool experience with the therapeutic benefits of Rotorua mud at Hell’s Gate (on Viator and Klook).

Location: Polynesian Spa – 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua city centre. Wai Ariki Hot Springs – 1047 Whakaue Street, Rotorua city centre. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools – 648 Waikite Valley Road, Waikite Valley, approximately 28 km (17 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Hell’s Gate – 351 State Highway 30, Tikitere, approximately 16 km (10 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

2. Race Down a Hill in a Zorb Ball

Zorb can be enjoyed whatever the weather because you’re going to get wet anyway! The concept is simple: get into a hollowed-out giant inflatable ball with shallow water and let gravity do the work as you roll down the array of fun-filled tracks. Keep warm between rolls in the soothing spa pool – it’s one of the perfect things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day! Find out more about Zorb on Viator and Klook.

Location: 525 Ngongotaha Road, Fairy Springs, approximately 6 km (4 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Culture Yourself at a Māori Show (That’s Under Cover)

A few Māori attractions offer “covered” Māori shows, so you needn’t miss out on the cultural aspects of Rotorua when it’s raining. Your best dry options include Te Puia with a cultural show taking place inside their large whare (meeting house)..

We also recommend Whakarewarewa – The Living Maori Village for a rainy day as their culture show is also under cover. See more options in the 50 Places to Experience Māori Culture in New Zealand.

Location: Te Puia – Hemo Road, approximately 3 km (2 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Whakarewarewa – 17 Tryon Street, approximately 3 km (2 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

4. See Geothermal Wonders Steaming More Ferociously Under the Rain

We can’t promise that you won’t get wet but we can promise you that the colourful pools, silica terraces, steamy lakes and geysers of Rotorua’s geothermal parks look more vibrant and steamy under the rain. With the warm steam billowing onto you, you’ll manage to keep warm – all you need is a rain jacket.

Geothermal parks can be found in various locations in Rotorua. For vibrant colourful and steamy lakes, visit Wai-O-Tapu, while Te Puia has the largest and most impressive geyser in the area. Alternatively, Waimangu Volcanic Valley covers a much larger area with spectacular craters, huge steaming lakes, bubbling hot springs and more.

Otherwise, there are plenty of free geothermal attractions, such as Kuirau Park and the bubbling Waiotapu Mud Pools. For more ideas, take a look at the 10 Best Geothermal Parks in Rotorua & New Zealand.

Location: Wai-O-Tapu – Waiotapu Loop Road, approximately 53 km (33 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Te Puia – 20 Hemo Road, approximately 3 km (2 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Waimangu Volcanic Valley – 587 Waimangu Road, approximately 25 km (15.5 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Kuirau Park – Kuirau Street, Rotorua city centre. Waiotapu Mud Pools – Waiotapu Loop Road, approximately 27 km (17 mi) from Rotorua.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

5. See Rotorua’s Sights and Lakes with Rotorua Duck Tours

A duck doesn’t care if it’s raining and neither does Rotorua Duck Tours! Whatever the weather, jump in one of these unmissable WW2 amphibious buses for a comprehensive tour of Rotorua’s city highlights, hot pools and historical sites, as well as into the famous natural attractions, the Blue Lake and Lake Orareka. Learn more about Rotorua Duck Tours on Viator or Klook and see more experiences like this in the 10 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids.

Location: Tours depart from 1241 Fenton Street, Rotorua city centre.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© Rotorua Duck Tours - Destination Rotorua

6. Experience Epic White Water Rafting on the World’s Highest Rafted Waterfall

Since you will already be wet from the rain, you may as well be drenched! Rotorua is home to some of the most epic white rafting in New Zealand with the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Doing the trip in bad weather makes it more dramatic, while the equipment provided will keep you warm. Rafting trips are available with River Rats Rafting (more info on Viator and Klook)Kaituna Cascades (on Viator and Klook) and Kaitiaki Adventures.

Location: River Rats Rafting – 837 Te Ngae Road, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Rotorua town centre. Kaituna Cascades – 18 Okere Falls Road, approximately 20 km (12 mi) from Rotorua town centre. Kaitiaki Adventures – 1135 Te Ngae Road, approximately 12 km (7 mi) from Rotura town centre.

9 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© James Heremaia - Tourism New Zealand


7. Play Mini Golf, Tenpin Bowling, Laser Tag and More at Motion Entertainment

Grab your travel buddies or family and enjoy some quality time at Motion Entertainment. The all-in-one indoor entertainment centre is one of the ideal things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day with an array of activities to get stuck into. Try the mini golf course, which takes you through mining tunnels, or work together to solve the puzzles of the escape rooms. Bowling, arcade games, a trampoline park, laser tag and a bar and restaurant are also on the entertainment menu.

Location: 346 Te Ngae Road, Lynmore, approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

8. Get Some Hilarious Photos from the 3D Trick Art Gallery

Sure, going to an art gallery is a pretty obvious go-to for a rainy day in any city, but 3D Trick Art Gallery isn’t just any old art gallery. Become part of more than 50 pieces of art, from 3D wall murals to convincing portraits.

Location: 171 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs, approximately 10 km (6 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© 3D Trick Art Gallery

9. Go for a Bite to Eat on Eat Streat and Beyond

Dining in Rotorua is kind of a big deal, especially since there is a whole street dedicated to eating called “Eat Streat”. A top name on such a street is Atticus Finch, which specialises in innovative plates designed to be shared. To share Kiwis’ love Vietnamese food, head to Saigon 60s for its authentic pho noodle soups and egg coffee. For something more “New Zealand”, head to Mokoia Restaurant at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort for local fare prepared with indigenous herbs and spices. At The Regent Room in the Regent of Rotorua, try their indigenous-inspired degustation menu. For more recommendations, head over to The Food Guide to Rotorua.

Location: Atticus Finch – 1106 Tutanekai Street, Eat Street. Saigon 60s – 1205 Fenton Street. Mokoia Restaurant – 77 Robinson Avenue. The Regent Room – 1057 Arawa Street.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Do Tastings at the Local Winery or Craft Beer Pub

Drink your rainy-day sorrows away with some wine tasting at the Volcanic Hills Winery. Based at the top of the Skyline Gondola, Volcanic Hills Winery provides wines made in Rotorua with grapes from all over New Zealand, available to sip to the drizzly views over Lake Rotorua. And if you’re more of a beer sort of person, don’t miss BREW Craft Beer Pub on Eat Streat, pouring a wide range of local craft beer on tap and bottled.

Location: Volcanic Hills Winery – take the gondola from 178 Fairy Springs Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre. BREW Craft Beer Pub – 1103 Tutanekai Street, Eat Street, Rotorua city centre.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© Volcanic Hills - Destination Rotorua

11. Zip Through the Trees with Rotorua Canopy Tours

With all of the wet-weather gear provided, you’ll hardly care that it’s raining when ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours. Their classic small-group tour takes you on a thrilling experience ziplining on six huge ziplines through centuries-old forest, made more vibrant when wet. Not only will you soar some 22 m (72 ft) above the ground, but you’ll also learn about the forest on this educational eco-tour. Alternatively, conquer all of the ziplines, including a tandem zipline on “The Ultimate Canopy Tour“.

Learn more about Rotorua Canopy Tours on Viator, Klook or KKdayThen, see how it compares to other zippy thrills in the country in the 10 Best Places to Zipline in New Zealand.

Location: 147 Fairy Springs Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Rotorua city centre. Accommodation transfers are included.

8 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day© Destination Rotorua

12. Enjoy Some Muddy Fun with Off Road NZ

Rain or shine, join Off Road NZ for an exciting 4WD self-drive experience. Conquer the challenging trails through the New Zealand bush on the “4WD Bush Safari” or leave the driving to the experts on the “Monster 4X4 Thrill Ride” inside an all-terrain vehicle complete with a roll-cage. If the weather clears up, don’t miss the Raceline Karting experience – a fast go-karting experience on a 1.2 km (0.7 mi) track in Sodi 390 cc 4-stroke karts that can reach speeds close to 100 kph (60 mph)! For more like this, check out the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Rotorua.

Location: 193 Amoore Road, Mamaku, approximately 25 km (16 mi) from Rotorua city centre.

15 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day ☂️ [2024]© Destination Rotorua

13. Read a Good Book at the Te Aka Mauri

Ok, this might be the grasping-at-straws option, but go to the Rotorua Library – Te Aka Mauri! Loads of good books, including a great selection on the local Māori tribes, can be read on the spot free of charge. The library also has computers and free WiFi, so you can keep in touch with home while waiting for the rain to calm down. Note: the library is closed on Sundays.

Location: 1127 Haupapa Street, Rotorua city centre.

15 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day ☂️ [2024]© Unsplash

14. Get a New Zealand Tattoo

Getting a tattoo in New Zealand, especially a Māori-inspired one, is a pretty popular way for travellers to remember their adventures. Rotorua is bathing in Māori culture, so some of the best tattoo artists in the country are here ready to ink you with either contemporary or traditional methods. Learn more about getting inked in New Zealand with our guide, Where to Get a Tattoo in New Zealand.

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15. Binge-Watch 365 Days, 365 Activities in New Zealand

Not just one of the things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day but something to do when it’s raining anywhere, get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as this intrepid pair takes on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.

[CLOSED] Visit the Rotorua Museum

[Update: Yes, the Rotorua Museum is still closed for development].

Of course, a museum makes for an excellent thing to do in Rotorua on a rainy day. Packed with exhibitions, the Rotorua Museum offers great insight into the history of the area. Its human history is detailed with a great focus on the heavy Maori presence and its geologic history is showcasing the power of the earth that dramatically impacts the city and surroundings.

Antilived on Wikipedia© Antilived on Wikipedia

More Things to Do in Rotorua

That’s it for our list of things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day. For more activity inspiration, check out the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in the 50 Best Things to Do in Rotorua.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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