1. See a Maori evening Show
Rotorua is the hub for Maori experiences in New Zealand. Some of the best cultural shows and meals just happen to occur at night! Tamaki Maori Village, Mitai Maori Village and Te Puia all offer evening shows with captivating performances of traditional Maori song and dance, including The Haka. You’ll also be treated to a Hangi – food slow-cooked in an underground oven.
Location: Tamaki and Mitai offer pick-ups in Rotorua. Te Puia is on Hemo Rd, Tihiotonga, Rotorua.
2. Unwind in some hot pools
After a day’s adventuring, relax in some naturally-heated geothermal hot pools. You’re seriously spoiled for choice in Rotorua with the Polynesian Spa open until 11pm or the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools open until 9pm. You could even go for an evening mission to one of the free natural hot pools around Rotorua that we mention in 5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua.
Location: Polynesian Spa is on Hinemoa Street. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are at 648 Waikite Valley Road, Waikite Valley, 35km from Rotorua.
3. Treat yourself to some good food
We’re not exactly winning the idea of the century with this one, but the evening is a good time to eat, right? Why not try some of the local cuisines in one of the many restaurants around Rotorua. Eat Street, as the name suggests, is a good place to start with a street full of international flavours. The Rotorua Night Market is also a great place to try some street food and do some boutique shopping. Catch it every Thursday at 5pm-9pm.
Location: Eat Street is at the end of Tutanekai Street. The Night Market is on Tutanekai Street (between Haupapa and Hinemoa Streets).
4. Catch a Rotorua sunset
There are many beautiful places to watch the sunset in Rotorua. Lake Rotorua itself or the surrounding lakes of Lake Okareka, Lake Rotomahana and Lake Tarawera cast vibrant reflections as the sun is setting. The sunset is even intensified by the steamy geothermal goodness at Kuirau Park, is a free geothermal park in Rotorua’s city centre.
5. Zipline through the forest
The New Zealand forest is still alive at night! Join Rotorua Canopy Tours for their evening tour with ziplines, swing bridges and platforms high in the forest. Get all the action of the forest while the sun sets and see how the forest changes as the sounds change from bird song to the awakening of New Zealand’s nocturnal wildlife. Evening tours are available during summer.
Location: 147 Fairy Springs Rd, Fairy Springs, Rotorua
6. Have a drink
Again, this isn’t exactly an original idea, but when night falls it’s a good time to have a drink with your mates or party into the night! Rotorua isn’t exactly the party capital of New Zealand but it does have some awesome bars for a casual drink with your mates. Try the Pig and Whistle, Rotorua’s oldest pub. Or the Stratosphere Bar on top of the Skyline Gondola. Or, a backpacker favourite is The Lava Bar.
Location: Pig and Whistle is on the corner of Haupapa and Tutanekai Streets, Stratosphere is at the Skyline Gondola, Fairy Springs Road, and Lava Bar is on 1286 Arawa Street.
7. Relax in a mud spa
More geothermal experiences can be found at Hells Gate, which takes the geothermal hot pools to a whole new level with their mud baths. Hells Gate is open for some Rotorua mud bathing with all kinds of healing properties until 8.30pm.
Location: State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua.
8. See the Treewalk light displays
From one canopy experience to another, the Redwoods Treewalk takes you through exotic redwoods forest at new heights! What makes the nighttime Treewalk special are the stunning light displays lighting up the forest in colourful and creative ways. It’s the perfect photo opportunity!
Location: Long Mile Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua
9. Go Stargazing
The Rotorua suburb of Ngongotaha is said to be the best place for stargazing on the North Island, so head there on a clear night to see the beauty of the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky. Alternatively, Skyline Rotorua offers stargazing tours with high-powered telescopes to see the likes of the Southern Cross, nebulas, planets, the Milky Way and other galaxies.
Location: Ngongotaha is 7km from Rotorua centre up State Highway 5. Skyline is on Fairy Springs Road.