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 12 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 is 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 (more info on Klook, KKday, Viator and Tripadvisor) and the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools (on Klook, Viator or Tripadvisor). Alternatively, mix your hot pools experience with the therapeutic benefits of Rotorua mud at Hell’s Gate (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or Kkday).
Location: Polynesian Spa – 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua city centre. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools – 648 Waikite Valley Road, Waikite Valley, approximately 28km (17 miles) from Rotorua city centre. Hell’s Gate – 351 State Highway 30, Tikitere, approximately 16km (10 miles) from Rotorua city centre.
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, Tripadvisor and Klook.
Location: 525 Ngongotaha Road, Fairy Springs, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Rotorua city centre.
3. Culture Yourself at a Maori Show (That’s Under Cover)
A few Maori attractions offer “covered” Maori 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). Find out more about Te Puia on Klook, KKday, Viator and Tripadvisor.
We also recommend Whakarewarewa – The Living Maori Village for a rainy day as their culture show is also under cover. Find out more on Klook, Viator or Tripadvisor. Additionally, see more options in 13 Places to Experience Maori Culture in New Zealand.
Location: Te Puia – Hemo Road, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Rotorua city centre. Whakarewarewa – 17 Tryon Street, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Rotorua city centre.
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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), while Te Puia has the largest and most impressive geyser in the area (on Klook, KKday, Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, Waimangu Volcanic Valley covers a much larger area with spectacular craters, huge steaming lakes, bubbling hot springs and more (on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook).
Otherwise, there are plenty of free geothermal attractions, such as Kuirau Park and the bubbling mud pools just outside of Wai-O-Tapu. For more ideas, take a look at the 8 Best Geothermal Parks in New Zealand.
Location: Wai-O-Tapu – Waiotapu Loop Road, approximately 53km (33 miles) from Rotorua city centre. Te Puia – Hemo Road, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Rotorua city centre. Waimangu Volcanic Valley – 587 Waimangu Road, approximately 25km (15.5 miles) from Rotorua city centre. Kuirau Park – Kuirau Street, Rotorua city centre.
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, Tripadvisor or Klook and see more experiences like this in the 10 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids.
Location: 1241 Fenton Street, Rotorua city centre.
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, Tripadvisor and Klook), Kaituna Cascades (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) and Kaitiaki Adventures (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: River Rats Rafting – 837 Te Ngae Road, approximately 9km (5.6 miles) from Rotorua town centre. Kaituna Cascades – 18 Okere Falls Road, approximately 20km (12 miles) from Rotorua town centre. Kaitiaki Adventures – 1135 Te Ngae Road, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Rotura town centre.
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 4km (2.5 miles) from Rotorua city centre.
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. Find out more about 3D Trick Art Gallery on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook.
Location: 171 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs, approximately 10km (6 miles) from Rotorua city centre.
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 their 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 “Taste Indigenous New Zealand” degustation menu. For more recommendations, head over to The Foodie 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.
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. Gondola tickets are available on Klook. And if you’re more of a beer sort of person, then 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 5km (3 miles) from Rotorua city centre. BREW Craft Beer Pub – 1103 Tutanekai Street, Eat Street, Rotorua city centre.
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 22m (72ft) 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.
Location: 147 Fairy Springs Road, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Rotorua city centre. Accommodation pick-ups are included.
12. Enjoy a Lake Cruise
Keep dry (and well-fed) on the Lakeland Queen paddleboat cruise on Lake Rotorua. The cruise departs every morning and afternoon to explore highlights like Sulfur Bay, Kawaha Point and Mokoia Island while you indulge in a buffet breakfast or lunch. Learn more about why the Lakeland Queen cruise is one of the best things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day on Klook, KKday, Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Lakeland Queen – Lakefront Drive, Rotorua city centre.
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 Maori 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.
14. Get a New Zealand Tattoo
Getting a tattoo in New Zealand, especially a Maori-inspired one, is a pretty popular way for travellers to remember their adventures. Rotorua is bathing in Maori 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.
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 take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.
[CLOSED] Visit the Rotorua Museum
[Update: The Rotorua Museum is 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.