The Top Places to Visit Near Rotorua
As a geothermal hotspot and a hub for Māori 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.
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 Trip from Rotorua for Couples
Travel time by car: 1 hour one way
Relevant tour: Taupo Day Trip with FlexiToursNZ.
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, 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 20 Best Things to Do in Taupo.
Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Park
The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 1 hr 15 mins one way
Relevant tour: Whirinaki Forest Tour with Foris Eco Tours.
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.
Hobbiton and Matamata
The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Families
Travel time by car: 1 hour one way
Relevant tour: Hobbiton Day Tour with GreatSights.
A popular trip for fans of The Lord of the Rings and movies alike, the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours (more info on Viator and Klook) 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 Best Things to Do in Matamata for more activities on this day trip from Rotorua.
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 20 Best Things to Do in Tauranga & Mt Maunganui.
Whakatane and Ohope Beach
The Best Day Trip from Rotorua for Luxury Travellers
Travel time by car: 1 hr 15 mins 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 15 Best Things to Do in Whakatane.
More About Rotorua Day Trips
That’s it for the best day trips from Rotorua. For more day trips to nearby towns, you might like to hit the following destinations:
- 10 Best Things to Do in Te Puke
- 10 Best Things to Do in Cambridge
- 10 Best Things to Do Katikati
- 10 Best Things to Do in Opotiki