How to Plan an Amazing Family Trip to Rotorua
It’s on the top of the itinerary for most families travelling around the North Island. Rotorua is the ideal place for families to adventure together, experience the wonders of nature and learn about the Maori culture, and then some! Packed with family-friendly activities to suit any family’s budget, style (and the weather), Rotorua is hardly a place where the kids can get bored.
Check out some of the top family-friendly activities, as well as family accommodations, in this travel guide to Rotorua for families.
Family Activities in Rotorua
- See the forest from a new perspective on the Redwoods Treewalk
- Meet the kiwi birds, giant trout and more at Rainbow Springs
- See Rotorua’s highlights and lakes on Rotorua Duck Tours
- Do the family-friendly walks of the Whakawerawera Redwood Forest
- Experience the famous sheep show and farm tour of Agrodome
- Take a day trip to the lakes of Rotorua
- Check out Rotorua’s amazing natural features at one of the geothermal parks
- Zip through the trees with Rotorua Canopy Tours
- Experience that famous NZ adrenaline at Velocity Valley
- Experience the Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Village or Mitai Maori Village.
For more information on each experience, check out the 20 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids.
Family Adventure Activities
When it comes to outdoor activities in Rotorua for families, it’s all about experiencing the forces of nature!
Family-Friendly Geothermal Parks
Don’t miss the geothermal attractions like Wai-O-Tapu and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Wai-O-Tapu is one of the most popular geothermal parks in Rotorua, home of the orange-lined Champagne Pool, the vibrant green Devil’s Bath and the Lady Knox Geyser. A walking tour around Wai-O-Tapu is ideal for families on limited time. Learn more on Viator or Tripadvisor.
Alternatively, enjoy the multitude of walks and even a boat cruise at the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. See spectacular craters, huge steaming lakes, bubbling hot springs and all sorts of geothermal features. While families can enjoy a longer outing at this geothermal park, there is a bus running up and down the valley should you want to cut it short or give the little ones’ legs a rest. See Waimangu Volcanic Valley’s page on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook for more details and (sometimes) discounted tickets.
Learn more about nature, particularly New Zealand’s birds and the famous kiwi bird, at Rainbow Springs. It’s the ultimate family outing in Rotorua with aviaries of New Zealand’s native birds, trout pools, a kiwi hatchery and nocturnal house and a few fun attractions to let the kids loose on, like the Playscapes and Water Play installations. Don’t miss a ride on the Big Splash Water Ride too. Oh yeah, and a Maori show is also available. Check out Rainbow Springs on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday.
Daytime or under the beautiful night lighting, families can enjoy an eco-experience on the Redwoods Treewalk. Look out for unique birdlife and see the forest from a whole new perspective on the 700m (766-yard)-long walkway with 28 suspension bridges taking around 40 minutes to complete. When you’re done, enjoy some of the family-friendly walks and bike trails of the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest (more on that below).
For more outdoor activities, check out the 20 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids.
Family All-Weather Activities
Sure, the weather doesn’t always play ball in Rotorua. Luckily, there are plenty of activities to still have an amazing time with the family.
Rotorua Duck Tours
A duck doesn’t care if it’s raining, so why should you? Jump in one of these wacky 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.
Rotorua Farm Show
Another way to enjoy a rainy day in Rotorua, or in any type of weather, in fact, is at Agrodome. This is one of the top sheep shows and farm tours of the country, where you have the option to watch a show on sheep shearing and wool spinning or see the variety of farming that happens in New Zealand on the farm tour – or both! Farmers will introduce you to sheep, cattle, deer, llamas, alpacas, emus and ostriches to feed them, while you’ll also get a chance for a feed with organic fruit orchard and honey tastings. Learn more about Agrodome on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday.
For more ideas, check out the 15 Things to Do in Rotorua on a Rainy Day.
Free Family Activities
Surrounded by stunning lakes, geothermal features and various types of forests, Rotorua is a place you can also enjoy for free with its breathtaking natural attractions.
Family Walks in Rotorua
The Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest is a good place to start when it comes to free walks in Rotorua for families, home to two fantastic short walks. Take the Redwood Memorial Grove Track on boardwalks over a thermal pond or the Waitawa Walk to spend more time among the giant Douglas firs and silver fern trees.
A day trip to one of the 18 lakes surrounding Rotorua is also an option to keep things affordable for families. We like Blue Lake, which has good swimming beaches, an easy-going walkway and a children’s playground. Alternatively, Lake Okareka is a great place for a picnic and has a stroller-friendly boardwalk through the wetlands. See more walks in the 11 Must-Do Walks in Rotorua.
For more free ideas on what to do for free, check out the 13 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Rotorua.
More About Rotorua
That’s it for our guide to Rotorua for families, but not the end of our Rotorua advice! Check out these other guides that might not necessarily fall under the “family” category, but are still pretty useful:
- The Travel Guide to Rotorua on a Budget
- The Luxury Travel Guide to Rotorua
- The Foodie Guide to Rotorua
- The Complete Travel Guide to Rotorua
Finally, discover even more family trip tips in The Travel Guide to New Zealand for Families and plan your family road trip with the North Island Family Itinerary: Two Week or North Island Family Itinerary: One Week.