Plan a Foodie Trip to Rotorua
The usual tourist experiences Rotorua with a dip in a hot pool here and a Maori cultural performance there. But there’s so much more to this cultural hub of the North Island… Experience the natural earth ovens powered by geothermal activity, traditional tastes made with indigenous herbs and spices and try something new on a foodie trip to Rotorua. We’ve put together this foodie guide to Rotorua to help you discover the real New Zealand flavours through food tours, foodie experiences and even through accommodation. Get your forks at the ready!
Things to Do in Rotorua for Foodies
- Try a traditional Maori hangi at Mitai Maori Village, Tamaki Maori Village or Whakawerawera Living Maori Village
- Do the Mamaku Blue Orchard and Winery Tour
- Taste wine and craft beers at the local winery and craft beer pub
- Learn about New Zealand farming on the Agrodome Farm Tour
- Mingle with the locals at the Rotorua Farmers’ Market and Rotorua Night Market
- Enjoy a cruise with food on the Lakeland Queen or Pure Cruise
- Join a Maori master chef for a bush food tour
- Experience Rotorua’s outstanding restaurants.
For elaboration on each activity, check out the 8 Things to Do in Rotorua for Foodies.
Food Tours in Rotorua
From Maori cuisine to internationally-inspired foods created by talented artisans, Rotorua’s foodie experiences are vast and varied. A good place to start, however, is with a traditionally-cooked Maori dinner known as a “hangi”. Food is cooked in an underground earth oven over a long period of time to create melt-in-your-mouth textures and an earthy taste. Both Mitai Maori Village (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Tamaki Maori Village (on Viator and Tripadvisor) serve hangi buffets in their evening tours including cultural performances and an insight into their traditions and customs. Alternatively, Whakawerawera Living Maori Village (on Viator or Tripadvisor) cooks their meals in the natural geothermal vents of their village.
For more European flavours produced locally in Rotorua, head to some of the local tasting rooms, like 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 to go along with the commanding views over Lake Rotorua. If you prefer beer, then don’t miss BREW Craft Beer Pub on Eat Street, pouring a wide range of local craft beer on tap and bottled.
Get a behind-the-scenes experience of the local artisans on tours such as the Mamaku Blue Orchard and Winery Tour. Not the winery tour you’re thinking, the team here actually creates blueberry wine from blueberries grown in their very own orchard. Tour the orchard, the sorting and packing shed and the wine-making department to learn all about their story from bush to market. There’s also a shop and cafe on-site where you can taste some of their creations. For more details on the experience, check out Mamaku Blue Orchard on Viator and Tripadvisor.
For more foodie experience, such as a Maori food trail, farm tour and even a foodie cruise, take a look at the 8 Things to Do in Rotorua for Foodies.
The Best Restaurants in Rotorua
Dining in Rotorua is kind of a big deal, especially since there is a whole street dedicated to eating called “Eat Street”. While there is a range of eateries along this street in the city centre, a top name is Atticus Finch (1106 Tutanekai Street, Eat Street), which specialises in innovative plates designed to be shared. Think fried halloumi, crispy mozzarella risotto balls and ginger sesame fried chicken combined with creative cocktails and craft beer.
Kiwis love their Vietnamese food and you have plenty of choices in Rotorua, including Saigon 60s (1205 Fenton Street). They serve a range of authentic cuisine on woven plates and flavoursome pho noodle soups. Don’t miss their egg coffee after your meal!
Some other international flavours to indulge in include Mediterranean at Ali Baba’s Tunisian Takeaways (1146 Tutanekai Street), spicy Mexican at El Mexicano Zapata (1148 Tutanekai Street) and the fresh pasta and wood-fired pizza of Giovanni’s (346 Te Ngae Road).
For something more “New Zealand”, head to Mokoia Restaurant (77 Robinson Avenue) at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort for local fare prepared with indigenous herbs and spices. At The Regent (1057 Arawa Street) of the Regent of Rotorua, try their “Taste Indigenous New Zealand” degustation menu with meals made with the likes of lamb, eel, blue warehou and manuka honey.
Alternative Things to Do in Rotorua
As much as the foodie experiences in Rotorua are delectable, you can’t travel all the way here just for the food. You’re in the geothermal and cultural hub of New Zealand! So balance out your stay with some of the alternative activities, such as:
- Checking out the geothermal parks like Wai-O-Tapu (on Viator or Tripadvisor) and Te Puia (on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Indulging in some of the hot pools like Waikite Valley Thermal Pools or the Polynesian Spa
- Rolling down the hill in an inflatable Zorb ball (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Seeing the kiwi birds at Rainbow Springs (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Hiking on Mt Tarawera (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Rafting down the world’s highest commercially rafter waterfall…
… and much more! Check out the details of these activities and get more inspiration in the 10 Rotorua Must-Dos.