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A Family Weekend in Rotorua Itinerary


Once you arrive in Rotorua and check into your accommodation (check out our blog on our favourite family friendly accommodation options), it’ time to get out and explore! 

Redwoods Treewalk

The Redwoods Treewalk has become an iconic must-do activity, and the Nightlights after dark are simply spectacular. Traverse among the treetops from platform to platform on a series of bridges suspended from the trees. 


Mountain Biking in the Redwoods

Whakarewarewa Forest, also known at the Redwoods, is a dream for mountain bikers, with trails for every experience and fitness level. The best place to start for a family friendly ride is Waipa Car Park. If you don’t have your own bikes, you can hire them here. There is a Kid’s Loop, which is a good starting point and from there you can branch off to other trails, they are all graded for difficulty and well sign posted with a number of map boards through the forest. 

There’s also the new Whakarewarewa Forest Loop. This is a big one, the whole loop is 30km, but you can ride smaller sections of it. 

Secret Spot

Secret Spot is based at Waipa car park and is a lovely spot to grab a coffee (or a beer/wine) and some food to recharge after your ride. 

Rainbow Mountain Crater Lake

While the walk to the summit of Rainbow Mountain might be a bit much to ask after a morning on bikes, the short walk to the crater lake lookout is definitely worth the stop off. 

Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

Then, after all that exercise, you’ll have earnt a well deserved relax. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools is a great option for families, there are a variety of different bathing options including the family favourite Settlers Pool (there’s a loped shallow area for little ones too), and a number of passive bathing pools in tranquil natural surroundings overlooking the valley. Our water comes directly from a geothermal spring, Te Manaroa, and you can walk up to the spring, and watch the water cool as it flows over the cascades into the pool complex. Grab a big bowl of fries to share.

Check out the blog on family friendly places to eat. 



Te Puia

Rotorua is known for geothermal activity and a deep history of Māori culture and Te Puia is a great way to see both in action. The best way to experience Te Puia is with one of their guides, and make sure you get the chance to see the Pōhutu Geyser in action.  

They even have a kiwi enclosure where you can see New Zealand’s favourite feathered friends during the day. 


Rotorua Lakefront Playground

The Rotorua Lakefront has undergone a huge redevelopment and there’s now a brand new boardwalk along the lakefront, and the most epic children’s playground. Future developments will include places to eat and drink. 


Lady Janes Ice Cream

No trip to Rotorua is complete without a visit to Lady Janes Ice Cream, just a quick stroll across the Village Green from the Lakefront Playground. They have all the flavours, sauces and toppings you can imagine, as well as waffles, and milkshakes. 



If you’re lucky enough to have a long weekend to spend here in Rotorua, there’s plenty of natural attractions to discover. 

Lake Okareka 

Lake Okareka is a little quieter than it’s neighbours Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Tarawera. Boyes beach has a sandy beach and the shallow water is a great spot for a beach day and swims with the kids, or bring the kayaks or stand up paddle boards and cruise around to discover caves and even glow worms. If you want to stretch your legs, the Lake Okareka Walkway is a flat, walk easy to navigate with a pushchair or for little legs. It’s 2.5km one way, with a few spots along the way to stop and take in the views or watch the bird life. Take your togs, there’s a secluded spot for a swim at the end of the trail. 


Okere Falls

A 20 minute drive from Rotorua will take you to Okere Falls on the Kaituna River. There’s a beautiful short walk along the river, where you can watch rafters and kayakers take the plunge over the 7m Tutea Falls. Don’t miss the caves just down from the waterfall lookout, a neat little feature that the kids will love!

The Okere Falls Store is a unique spot for a coffee or some lunch before heading back into town. This eco-friendly café and general store has a large garden, and even composting toilets. 

A Family Weekend in Rotorua Itinerary
Waikite Valley Hot PoolsA Family Weekend in Rotorua Itinerary
Waikite Valley Hot PoolsA Family Weekend in Rotorua Itinerary
Waikite Valley Hot PoolsA Family Weekend in Rotorua Itinerary
Waikite Valley Hot PoolsA Family Weekend in Rotorua Itinerary
Waikite Valley Hot Pools