Rotorua, Whakarewarewa thermal area

Rotorua is a popular tourist destination in New Zealand, known for its geothermal activity, Maori culture, and adventure sports. While there are many paid attractions to enjoy in Rotorua, there are also plenty of free things to do that will allow you to experience the best of what this unique region has to offer 1. Here are the 10 best free things to do in Rotorua:

Introduction

Rotorua is a town located on the North Island of New Zealand, about three hours southeast of Auckland. The town is situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua, and it is known for its geothermal activity, which includes hot springs, geysers, and mud pools. Rotorua is also home to a rich Maori culture, with many museums, marae (Meeting Houses), and cultural experiences to enjoy.

Rotorua can be an expensive destination, but there are plenty of free activities to enjoy as well. From exploring geothermal parks and hiking trails to learning about Maori culture and history, here are the 10 best free things to do in Rotorua.

1. Visit Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park, Rotorua
Kuirau Park, Rotorua

Kuirau Park is a geothermal park located in the heart of Rotorua. It is the only geothermal park in New Zealand that is free to enter, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists 2. The park features several hot springs, mud pools, and geysers, as well as walking tracks and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy a stroll through the park, taking in the sights and smells of the geothermal activity.

2. Explore the Government Gardens

The Government Gardens are a set of beautiful gardens located in the center of Rotorua. The gardens were established in the late 1800s and feature a variety of plants, flowers, and trees, as well as several historic buildings. Visitors can enjoy a walk through the gardens, taking in the views of the surrounding mountains and lake.

3. Visit the Rotorua Museum

The Rotorua Museum is housed in the historic Bath House building, which was built in the early 1900s. While there is an entrance fee to visit the museum, the building itself is free to enter, and visitors can explore the historic architecture, including the original baths and spa facilities.

4. Attend a Maori Cultural Performance

Many Maori cultural performances are held in Rotorua, and some of them are free to attend. Visitors can learn about Maori history, traditions, and customs through song, dance, and storytelling. Some of the best places to see a free Maori cultural performance include the Rotorua Night Market and the Te Papaiouru Marae.

The Blue Lake Track is a popular hiking trail located just outside of Rotorua. The track is about 5.5 kilometers long and takes hikers through native forests, past waterfalls, and along the shores of Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake). The track is relatively easy and takes about two hours to complete.

6. Visit the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

New Zealand: Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua
New Zealand: Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua

The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest is a beautiful forest located just outside of Rotorua. The forest features towering Californian redwood trees, as well as several walking and biking trails. Visitors can explore the forest on their own or take a guided tour.

7. Attend the Rotorua Farmers Market

The Rotorua Farmers Market is held every Sunday morning and features a variety of local produce, crafts, and food stalls. Visitors can sample local delicacies, buy fresh produce, and learn about the local culture and traditions.

8. Visit the Ohinemutu Village

Rotorua. Maori village of Ohinemutu
Rotorua. Maori village of Ohinemutu

The Ohinemutu Village is a Maori village located on the shores of Lake Rotorua. Visitors can learn about Maori history and culture, see traditional Maori buildings and carvings, and enjoy a cup of tea at the local marae.

9. Visit the Hamurana Springs

The Hamurana Springs are a set of natural springs located just outside of Rotorua. The springs are fed by an underground aquifer and are surrounded by native forest and fauna. Visitors can explore the springs on their own or take a guided tour.

10. Visit the Rotorua Library

The Rotorua Library is a modern and welcoming space that offers a variety of services and resources, including free Wi-Fi, computer access, and a range of books and magazines 3. Visitors can relax in the comfortable seating areas, browse the collections, or attend one of the many events and workshops held at the library.

FAQ about Rotorua

What is so special about Rotorua?

Rotorua is unique because of its intense geothermal activity, such as geysers, hot springs, and mud pools. The area is also known for its rich Maori culture and history.

Is Rotorua accessible to tourists year-round?

Yes, Rotorua welcomes tourists year-round. The geothermal attractions and cultural experiences are accessible in any season.

What can I do in Rotorua if I am interested in Maori culture?

In Rotorua, you can visit a traditional Maori village, such as Whakarewarewa, where you can enjoy cultural performances, traditional hangi meals, and tours of geothermal wonders.

Does it smell like rotten eggs in Rotorua because of the sulfur?

Yes, in some places in Rotorua there is a distinctive sulfur smell due to H2S and SO2 gases released from geothermal springs. It is part of the unique experience of the city.

Can I bathe in Rotorua’s thermal waters?

Rotorua offers several spas and resorts where visitors can bathe in thermal waters known for their relaxing properties and health benefits.

Conclusion

Rotorua is a destination that offers something for everyone, and there are plenty of free activities to enjoy. From exploring geothermal parks and hiking trails to learning about Maori culture and history, these 10 best free things to do in Rotorua are a great way to experience the best of what this unique region has to offer. So whether you’re on a budget or just looking for something different to do, be sure to check out these free activities on your next visit to Rotorua.

Reference

  1. https://www.rotoruanz.com/[]
  2. https://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/kuirau-park/[]
  3. https://www.rotorualibrary.govt.nz/[]