The Best Day Trips from Rotorua
The Best Day Trips from Rotorua

The Best Day Trips from Rotorua đźš— [2022]

© Tourism Bay of Plenty

The Top Places to Visit Near Rotorua

As a geothermal hotspot and a hub for Maori cultural experiences, Rotorua is its own unique destination. Not only that, but the small city on the North Island also makes an excellent base for exploring remote forests, New Zealand’s largest lake, coastal hotspots, as well as Hobbiton. With all of that in mind, it’s easy to plan a few day trips from Rotorua. Don’t worry, we also include some awesome day tours from Rotorua should you not have access to a vehicle.

For more trip-planning success, head to The Complete Guide to Rotorua. Plus, find a place to stay in The 50 Best Accommodations in Rotorua.

5 Best Day Tours from Rotorua

Before checking out some of the self-drive day trips from Rotorua, consider some of the day tours where you don’t need to worry about organising or driving yourself.

Guided Day Tours from Rotorua

The Best Day Trips from Rotorua© Unsplash

Taupo

The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Couples

Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
Relevant tour: Taupo Day Trip with FlexiToursNZ (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).

Head to the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake and the edge of a supervolcano by visiting Taupo. Aside from visiting geothermal wonders on the way to Taupo, like Orakei Korako (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), the town itself offers stunning lake tours by kayak, sailing ship, fishing charters and more.

Plan your activities for this day trip from Rotorua using the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Taupo.

The Best Day Trips from Rotorua© Tourism Bay of Plenty

Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Park

The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Budget Travellers

Travel time by car: 1h15mins one-way
Relevant tour: Whirinaki Forest Tour with Foris Eco Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).

Enter a Jurassic-like world by exploring the forests of the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park. Hike or mountain bike through the ancient forest, seeing picturesque waterfalls, glowworms, lagoons and an array of native birdlife. It might be one of the longest journeys on this list of Rotorua day trips, but we promise you, the destination is worth it.

Check out the various walks of the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Park on the Department of Conservation website.

The Best Day Trips from Rotorua© Unsplash

Hobbiton and Matamata

The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Families

Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
Relevant tour: Hobbiton and Waitomo Day Tour with New Zealand Discovery Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).

A popular trip for fans of The Lord of the Rings and movies alike, the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) is a manageable drive from Rotorua. If you want to make the most of your day, however, take a side trip to the North Island’s highest waterfall, Wairere Falls, and check out the Hobbit Hole information centre in the rural town of Matamata.

Check out the 10 Things to Do in Matamata for more activities on this day trip from Rotorua.

The Best Day Trips from Rotorua© Unsplash

Tauranga

The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Foodies

Travel time by car: 55 minutes one-way

Sprawling along the Pacific Coast, Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty region and an excellent day trip destination. Pop by the suburb of Mt Maunganui to climb The Mount and feel your toes in the sand at the Main Beach or Papamoa Beach. In the city itself, you have a wealth of eateries, as well as the free-entry Tauranga Art Gallery and much more.

Find out more about Tauranga using the 10 Best Things to Do in Tauranga.

The Best Day Trips from Rotorua© Tourism Bay of Plenty

Whakatane and Ohope Beach

The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Luxury Travellers

Travel time by car: 1h15mins one-way

A smaller town on the coast of the Bay of Plenty, Whakatane is worth visiting for its beaches and island excursions. It neighbours Ohope Beach, which has been ranked as Kiwis’ favourite beach to visit and looks out to the offshore volcano of White Island and Moutohora Island. Take a trip to the bird sanctuary of Moutohora Island or try your luck spotting kiwi birds in the Ohope Scenic Reserve.

For more ideas of activities to do on this Rotorua day trip, check out the 11 Amazing Things to Do in Whakatane.

More About Rotorua Day Trips

That’s it for the best day trips from Rotorua. For more day trips, you might like to hit the following destinations:

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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