Coachman Rotorua Motel has provided, in no particular order, the top 10 things to do in Rotorua during your stay.
Known as Sulphur City, Rotorua has a huge international tourism reputation, built largely on its unique volcanic activity and its rich Maori culture. These two features combined separate the city from any other place in New Zealand.
As with any city that generates a large number of international visitors each year, Rotorua has a smorgasbord of activities and attractions that should make it an automatic inclusion on anyone's New Zealand travel itinerary. Here is our list of 10 things you must do whilst in Rotorua.1. Rotorua Canopy Tours
2. Mountain Biking in the Redwoods Forest
This eco adventure tour is the most recently established of all attractions on this list and should be on everybody's to do list, including Rotorua locals. It has been voted #1 out of 654 activitiesin New Zealand's North Island by TripAdvisor.
Situated on Old Taupo Road just a 12 minute drive from Rotorua town centre, Rotorua Canopy Tours involves a 3 hour guided tour through the native forests of Mamaku Plateau suspended high amongst ancient trees.
The journey traverses a 1.2km network of ziplines (flying foxes), walking trails, suspended bridges and treetop platforms and offers a spectacular way of experiencing one of the North Island's last remaining remnants of untouched forest.
As part of the tour, you will get to witness rear bird species, monster ferns and a 500 year old Rimu tree. Along the way guides will do their best to bring the forest to life and provide you with an education about its history, its inhabitants and the conservational challenges faced in creating Rotorua Canopy Tours.
5. Agroventures Adventure Park Rotorua
If you fancy a bit of exercise and enjoy hitting mountain biking trails then Rotorua is the best place in New Zealand to quench your appetite.
The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest is just a 5 minute drive from Rotorua town centre and is the scene for just over 100 kilometres of world class mountain bike trails. Once used to host the world mountain biking championships, the Redwoods is considered to be the 'jewel in the crown' of Rotorua.
The Redwoods reaches out to all levels of mountain biking, providing trails for those wanting to ride for 2 hours, half or full day or multiple day rides.
The quality of the Redwoods trails stems from the hard work of some of the world's top trail designers and hundreds of local volunteers. It is one of the oldest mountain bike networks in New Zealand features excellent draining volcanic soils, varying topography and stunning scenery.
The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest is also a playground for walkers, runners and horse rides and is rated #1 of the 36 attractions in Rotorua by Trip Advisor. Coachman Rotorua can provide you with more information on the Redwoods and mountain biking in the area.
3. Maori Cultural Tours & Geothermal Activity
Rotorua is New Zealand's Maori cultural capital and consequently offers various tours in which visitors to the city can experience it all first hand.
Tamaki Maori Village
This is New Zealand's 'most awarded Maori experience' and therefore a must-do on your Rotorua holiday itinerary.
Tamaki Maori Village is situated on the rim of the Rotorua volcanic crater and set within a sacred primeval forest that is home to Ngati Tama people. Its tours, which run daily except for Xmas Day, feature a 3.5 hour experience that allows visitors to discover Maori art forms, ancient rituals and Maori traditions. You will hear and see incredible true stories of the region and its people through songs and traditional Maori dance. You will see how myths and legends were established, understand how and why Maori tribes were formed and enjoy the classic Maori Hangi.
4. Geothermal Activity
The extent of Rotorua's geothermal activity gives the city something that no other place in New Zealand can compete with and is perhaps the one attraction that sells it as a place to visit for international travellers.
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland
Just 27km north of Rotorua this volcanic activity is there for all to see at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland. Here you can experience a tour that takes you through what is considered New Zealand's most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. According to TripAdvisor, it is one of the 20 most surreal places in the world.
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland has clearly defined tracks that give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of this volcanic area through a series of different walks taking from 30 - 75 minutes or more, each with their own unique volcanic vistas to fascinate all ages. Be sure to visit in the morning and see Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15am, when you can learn about the history and mechanics of what erupts to heights of 10 – 20 metres.
In Rotorua itself you can witness other impressive geothermal activity and geysers at Hells Gate as well as at Whakarewarewa Village.
Situated approximately 10 minutes north of Rotorua town centre, this is perhaps NZ's most thrilling allround adventure playground, featuring five high serious fun rides, including the Swoop, Freefall Xtreme, The Schweeb, AgroJet and Rotorua Bungy.
The Swoop is an action-packed ride that involves a head-first swing in a body harness from 140 feet in the air. You get to pull your own rip cord and head for the ground like Superman at 130km per hour.
Freefall Xtreme features New Zealand's only wind tunnel that allows you to hover 2m in mid-air above a giant wind column like a professional sky diver. This wind column is powered by a twin turbo, Detroit diesel V12 engine – impressive.
The Schweeb is the newest addition to Agroventures Adventure Park and features suspended aerodynamic racing pods that you pedal in and can reach up to 50kph. You have the option to ride solo or tandem and can race against your competitors and the clock.
The Agrojet is powered by a massive 450 horse power V8 engine and will launch you to 100kph in the blink of an eye. You will weave around islands on what is a world class sprint course and then complete the ride with a hair-raising 360 degree spin.
The final of the five activities at Agroventures Adventure Park is the Rotorua Bungy where you will stand 43m high looking out across the beautiful Paradise Valley. No visit to an adventure fun park is the same without launching yourself off the edge in a bungee.
6. Skyline Rotorua
If there's one place that every person should do at some point during their stays in Rotorua it's a vist to Skyline Rotorua.
Perhaps the best way to get an idea of the layout of a new city is to look at it from an elevated position. Climbing on-board a gondola and heading towards the top of Mount Ngongotaha will provide you with the ultimate bird's eye view of all of Rotorua's greatness.
This impressive complex is situated just 5 minutes' drive from Coachman Motel in Rotorua is an adventure centre in itself, with a Luge, Skyswing, Zoom Ziplines and Skyline Rotorua MTB Gravity Park the main draw cards.
Skyline Rotorua also features the Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar positioned at the top of the mountain. The building in which it lies also plays hosts to Christmas parties, weddings and various functions.
For those considering heading to Skyline Rotorua, it's highly recommended that you take advantage of the complex' various combo deals on offer.
7. Wet 'n' Wild Rafting
If you like an adrenalin rush every once in a while and heading to Rotorua, you should be sure to head to Wet 'n' Wild Rafting.
Located approximately 20 minutes drive from Coachman Rotorua motel, this popular tourist attraction offers guided white water rafting on the Kaituna River, which is suitable for all people who are comfortable in water. It has been classed as a grade 5 river, but only because it features a 7 metre waterfall.
The Kaituna River provides a 45 minute white water rafting adventure over 14 drops and is set in the depths of magnificent bush-lined gorge that is rich in Maori history.
It costs $99 to experience the Kaituna. Be sure to talk to the staff at Coachman Motel Rotorua should you wish to know more about Wet 'n' Wild Rafting adventures.
8. Lake Rotoiti Glow Worm Tour
Within a 20 minute drive from Rotorua is Lake Rotoiti, one of the most visited and popular lakes in the Bay of Plenty.
If you're heading to Rotorua then you should strongly consider embarking on an incredible glow worm kayak tour on Lake Rotoiti, run by Waimarino Kayak Tours in Tauranga.
This Rotorua glow worm tour is 3.5 hours in duration, of which 2 hours is kayak paddle time. Your adventure will involve stunning views of the cascading native bush and abundant bird life, followed by a magical kayak paddle into the lake's glow worm cave. The tour also involves a soothing soak in Manupirua Thermal Hot Pools, before heading off the lake for the day.
9. Rotorua Museum
No visit to a tourist location is complete without an historical educational experience. Unlike its rival tourist location Queenstown, the city of Rotorua is rich in history that will get the hairs up on the necks of visitors.
Rotorua Museum is perhaps the most appropriate place to discover the dramatic history of Rotorua that includes the settlement and cultural tendencies of Maori people and the city's volatile landscapes.
Situated right in the heart of Rotorua just a short walk from Coachman Rotorua Motel, the Rotorua Museum is set in the famous Bath House Building, which was once a famous spa in the 1880s where visitors from around the world would visit for therapeutic treatments. The Bath House Building is in fact New Zealand's most photographed building.
The Rotorua Museum complex features stunning exhibitions, changing art galleries, cinema experiences and wonderfully informative guided tours, all of which will bring the history of Rotorua and its people to life. You can learn all about the fascinating history of the Pink & White Terraces and Mount Tarawera.
Prices to get into Rotorua Museum are reasonable, plus they offer group rates.
10. OGO Rotorua
The final of the top 10 attractions on the list is OGO Rotorua, the largest ball rolling park in the world.
Located close to Skyline Rotorua on Ngongotaha Road, just a 5 minutes' drive from Rotorua town centre, OGO Rotorua was first developed in 1997 and it allows people to roll down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball. There are 3 rides on offer – Harness OGO, Sidewinder and the H20GO Straight Track.
The first of these costs $45 and involves rolling head over heels 200m down a long track whilst being safely secured by a multi-point harness. The Sidewinder is a 350m long track and allows one or two people inside a ball, sliding in 40 litres of water (cool in summer and warm in winter). This ride is $65.00. The final of the rides is the H20GO Straight Track which allows you to superman dive into the OGO with up to 3 friends and head straight down the 250m course in a race against a fellow OGO.
For more information on OGO Rotorua, be sure to ask Matthew and the team at Coachman Rotorua Motel. They'd only be too happy to help.
If you are in Rotorua and looking at heading out of the area to do a day trip, be sure to consider driving 45 minutes north to Tauranga. There are some wonderful Tauranga day tours on offer, including White Island scenic flights through Aerius Helicopters and glowworm tours through Waimarino Kayak Tours.