Six Things Your Kids Will Love in Rotorua That Are off the Beaten Track
Rotorua was made for kids: boiling mud pools to marvel at, lush forests and lakes to explore, strange sulphur smells, and no end of quirky paid attractions to keep everyone entertained! We bring you 5 activities in Rotorua that will pique the interest of even the most hard-to-please child.
1. Duck tours
The whole family will love riding this amazing genuine WW2 landing craft – these were manufactured in the USA and used to supply troops with first aid and ammunition during the war, from Sicily to Germany. Duck Tours uses these crafts to take visitors around various stunning Rotorua Lakes, with the guides consistently getting rave reviews for informative, entertaining tours. The kids will enjoy the huge splash it makes when touching down on the water.
2. Monster 4×4
This is for the children over 5 years old and more than 1.2m tall, that are keen for a bit of adrenaline: kids and adults alike will love this unforgettable Monster 4×4 Thrill Ride through native forest. You’ll all be strapped in with helmet and protective gear, and roar along a trail with hair-raisingly steep patches, twists, bucks, swerves and tilts, as much as you can handle in 10 minutes!
Get lost for half an hour or so in 1.4km of hedge maze! This circular maze is truly a work of art, and there’s no fear of getting trapped because you can always exit the maze through the one-way doors. Afterwards, have an icecream and play large scale board games like checkers and snakes and ladders, or have a go on the stilts or tug of war. The place has rabbits, birds and ostriches. AMAZEme is a good place to take little kids, teenagers and adults alike.
4. Kuirau park
Not too far off the beaten track but free to enter, this public park is literally boiling with mud pools, hot lakes and geothermal oddities. The sulphur in the air is so strong you can taste it. The Lake at the northern end has a walkway across it – look out for the colourful algae. The centre of the park has a complex with some lovely thermal foot baths you can soak your feet in. There’s also a playground, barbecue area, and beautiful gardens. To see impressive geysers, you’ll need to head to a paid attraction elsewhere, but this park is well worth it for free family fun.
The kids will love getting up close to karearea (New Zealand falcons), kahu (harrier hawks), ruru (morepork) and barn owls. They’ll learn about the birds from the handlers, see an impressive flying display of falconry (if the weather allows), and if they’re lucky, even get to have a falcon land on their arm. Wingspan is New Zealand’s National Bird of Prey Centre, where experts rehabilitate injured wild birds, and release captive bred falcons.
6. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Walks around this spectacular geothermal area are sure to impress, with sights such as Frying Pan Lake, one of the largest hot water springs in the World, and Inferno Crater Lake, which heats and cools. What’s more, because of the size of the park, sometimes you’ll have a section all to yourself. There are a variety of walks for all abilities, between 1.5km and 4.5km, and there’s also a guided boat ride around Lake Rotomahana. You can refuel rumbling little tummies at the café in the Visitor Centre.
These are just some of the entertaining options for kids in Rotorua – and happily, they’re all activities that adults will enjoy too!