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Rotorua is known as the North Island's adventure capital. It has a long history of tourism; back in the 19th Century the Pink and White Terraces were considered the 8th wonder of the natural world, and many visitors came to see them. This spectacle was destroyed by the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, but geothermal wonders continue to be a huge draw card for the city. There are 18 lakes and three major rivers in the Rotorua region, with many ways of possible exploring. Another popular and accessible activity is the Skyline Rotorua Luge and Gondola.
One of the first things you notice about the city is the smell. The large sulphur deposits which cause the odor originate from the volcanic activity in the area. Bubbling hot springs of water and mud attract thousands of tourists a year, and has put this town on the must do list for those traveling to New Zealand.
Rotorua has become a mountain biking mecca. The International Mountain Biking Association has awarded Rotorua their most prestigious gold-level ride centre status, one of only six in the world. It's the first stop in the global series of Crankworx mountain bike festivals.
It is also rich in Maori culture, and home to many authentic Maori tourism ventures; it is possible to watch cultural performances, taste a real hangi, or learn about traditional arts and crafts.
Why book a rental car in Rotorua with VroomVroomVroom?
At VroomVroomVroom, we compare car rental rates and search among our suppliers for the lowest rates available to you. Our partners at Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Europcar, and Hertz have locations all over New Zealand so you can book from any pick up location in the North Island and make Rotorua your destination.
- Convenience: It is a convenient stop on any North Island road trip, with easy access to State Highway 1 if heading to Wellington to travel on the inter-island ferry. It is around 5 and a half hours drive from Rotorua to the ferry terminal.
- Airport location: Rotorua is a popular tourist destination with many things to see and do. You can pick up your cheap car rental in either the city or the Rotorua Airport.
- Great prices: Always try to book your car hire well in advance. Car rental rates depend on supply and demand. This means the more rental cars that are available, the more opportunity you will have to grab yourself a bargain.
- Different car types: Rotorua is a popular venue for sporting events due to its location in the centre of the North Island. If you are taking a team to Rotorua, VroomVroomVroom can sort you out with the perfect rental vehicle, from an economical compact to a van that can transport everyone.
- Customer care: Our booking system makes renting a cheap hire car in Rotoura easy. If you have any questions, our team of rental car experts is available via phone, email or live chat.
Best time to visit Rotorua
The temperatures in Rotorua can get quite chilly in winter, even dropping below 0 degrees celsius. In summer the temperatures are far more pleasant, hovering at around 20 degrees. Visit the city around January to take advantage of the great weather.
Driving tips in Rotorua
The roads around Rotorua are well-signed, and you shouldn't have much trouble navigating the highways. The city is about 230 kilometres south of Auckland, and just under an hour from the popular Hobbit movie set.
Take care when driving on the winding roads, and maintain slower speeds in hazardous conditions. There are only three toll roads on the North Island, and none are located in Rotorua.
Get a taste of adventure in Rotorua
Rotorua is a city located on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island. It's a major destination for both domestic and international tourists. Rotorua is a thermal wonderland! Boil up in hot springs, or delight with the amazing geysers. Aside from its geothermal wonders, the city is also known for its numerous sparkling lakes, exotic forests, and fascinating Maori culture. Just check out the list of activities the VroomVroomVroom team has selected for you below...
River Rats Raft And Kayak
Whether you are a newbie or a professional, River Rats Raft and Kayak has the perfect rafting and kayaking activity for you! From a gentle raft trip to an extreme raft adventure, you will definitely get the thrill that you are seeking for.
If kayaking is your thing, you can paddle across scenic Lake Rotoiti to reach the Manupirua Springs Hot Pools on Lake Rotoiti. This summer, you can try the evening kayaking which includes a BBQ picnic, thermal swim, and a tour to the glow worm cave.
Address: Lakeside, Hinemoa Street
Imagine lakeside views, breathtaking sunsets, and warm mineral pool. You can experience total relaxation and pampering at the Polynesian Spa, which is one of the oldest international spas in NZ. The award-winning spa features different mineral pools that are suited for individuals, couples, & families. It also offers spa therapies that will leave you feeling brand new.
Agroventures Adventure Park
If you're looking for the ultimate adventure, then make sure you try all the adrenaline-pumping activities at Agroventures! You can find the world's ONLY Shweeb here, which is a human powered monorail racetrack. Aside from that cool ride, you can also try the Swoop super swing and experience how's it like being Spiderman for a day or fly like Superman by trying out the Freefall Xtreme. Not to mention the Bungy and Agrojet, all a must-do if you're an adrenaline junkie or seeking to get out of your comfort zone.
The Buried Village
Address:1180 Tarawera Road
Buried after the great Mt.Tarawera eruption in 1886, the peaceful village of Te Wairoa makes one of the most interesting archaeological sites in New Zealand. Its sure to bring out your inner Indiana Jones as you explore the world-class museum highlighting the remains of the village & take the waterfall trail to get a glimpse of the spectacular Wairere Falls. The Buried Village or the village of Te Wairoa is a living museum. It is a place where visitors can experience a one-of-a-kind New Zealand history. The Museum takes its visitors on a heart-moving journey about the story of the village, the voyages to the Pink and White Terraces, and the eruption of Mount Tarawera. Aside from the heart-melting history, you can also walk at the scenic pathways that links the different sites, view the marvelous wilderness above the Wairere Falls that looks out over remote volcanic scenery, and many more.
Kawarau Jet Rotorua
Address:Lakefront drive, City Lakefront
Experience the three “S”s of fun with Kawarau Jet Rotorua! Speed, spins, and splash as ride the K Jet. Combining the thrill of jet boating and parasailing, this adrenaline-pumping activity consists of a 30-minute jet boating and 10 to 12-minute parasailing. Want a break from the high-octane activities, ask about the Hamurana Springs walk.
Regent of Rotorua
Address:1191 Pukaki Street
Ranked #1 of 94 hotels in the city and the newest, stylishly elegant and classy boutique hotel that has you in awe the moment you step through its doors. Not just a clean, hospitable environment; this hotel offers and experience of pure luxury with its designer furniture, custom beds, luxury linens and robes, monsoon rain showers & soaker baths, spa area, thermal pool, mini gym, concierge service, 24hr reception and valet parking. You will feel like royalty!
Rock Solid Backpackers
Address:1140 Hinemoa Street
Located in the heart of downtown area, you'll find the #1 hostel. Bold, bright, spacious and newly refurbished, with a rock climbing wall that runs the full height of the building all adds to the delight of those who stay here. Free unlimited Wi-fi, pool table, XBox and table tennis makes for a great opportunity to meet those from around the world.
Te Rata Bay Glamping - booked through Totally Tarawera
Just out of Rotorua, on the shores of Lake Tarawera is the unique glamping spot. Only available through the summer months, from November to April, Totally Tarawera can transport you by water taxi to the only glamping spot in New Zealand on Department of Conservation land. They have two luxury tents set up at 'Hot Water Beach'. Not to be confused with the heavily touristed spot on the Coromandel Peninsula, this is a getaway where you can chill out, and try cooking in geothermal sand.
Address: 77 Robinson Ave, Holdens Bay
A delicious fine dining experience with a spectacular view. With award winning menu, this restaurant offers a top quality experience that not only offers great food, but also superior service and a lodge like cosy, warm atmosphere.
Le Cafe de Paris (French Cafe) Restaurant
Address: 1206 Hinemoa Street
Experience a little piece of France in the middle of the city. This cute little french cafe offers exquisite service, atmosphere and of course food. The perfect place for brunch or a coffee break from all the excitement of the wonderful attractions.
Been to the above attractions? Share your Rotorua travel experience below.
Must see annual events in Rotorua
Rotorua Bike Festival on 10-19 February 2017
Bike enthusiasts can check out 10,000 wheels in over 10 days!
Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival held every March each year
This global event is the defining celebration of world class mountain biking. It's the first event in a series, with the second in Les Gets, France and the final in its home of Whistler Canada. The Rotorua event is held at the Skyline Gravity Park and Whakarewarewa Forest trail network. There's a kidsworx programme included.
Rotorua Marathon held late April each year
In its 52nd year, the Rotorua Marathon is known as 'The People's Marathon'. Held in a perfect setting, with distances to suit almost everyone, and lots of opportunities for indulgence after the race.
Targa Rally Rotorua held May each year
Motorsport action over two days in and around Rotorua.