You don’t even have to compete for a hotel spot in one of the biggest cities on the map. Instead of heading to Auckland, Christchurch, or Queensland, you can base an incredibly fulfilling family vacation right in Rotorua, NZ.
Rotura is beside a beautiful lake and at the heart of native Maori territory. If you want an amazing New Zealand vacation complete with thrilling theme park rides and beautiful nature tourism all in one — and create the perfect itinerary for your kids — Rotorua has it all.
Let’s take a look at ten incredible places to vacation as a family in Rotorua, New Zealand. Starting with these, you’re sure to find even more amazing things to do.
1) Visit the Hobbiton LOTR Movie Set
The one thing every child (and Lord of the Rings fan) will want to see in New Zealand is the Hobbiton movie set, which is only an hour’s drive from Rotorua. A real-life place where adorable little houses are built into hillsides and tastebud tingling meals are served in taverns fit for any hungry hobbit. Children traveling with you will delight in exploring a whimsical world that is just their size while you and any other grown-ups can learn fascinating facts about how the movies were filmed in this enchantingly designed little village.
2) Revel in the Skyline Rotorua Theme Park
High above the city of Rotorua is the Skyline Rotorua theme park, perhaps one of the most amazing things that this little city has to offer. The Skyline has features that you can find in many New Zealand cities. The cool thing is that it has -them all-. If you want to enjoy a high-speed luge race, zip line over beautiful redwood forests, or take a sky swing with the whole family, the Skyline is your destination. Not to mention some truly incredible views.
3) Meet the Animals at the Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park
If you are vacationing with children and want them to touch and experience the safer aspects of New Zealand’s amazing wildlife, then you can’t miss the Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park. This park focuses on bringing the sensations of nature to you through birds, fish, unique New Zealand mammals, and plenty of hands-on opportunities. Almost every creature in the Paradise Valley Springs wildlife park can be hand-fed by your little ones, creating truly incredible moments and memories to take home.
4) Connect With History in the Mitai Maori Village
One of the fascinating things about New Zealand is their uniquely powerful native culture. The Maori have inhabited this strange and beautiful island for thousands of years, and their traditions reach back into a time before history or western New Zealand settlers. You can experience a taste of their traditional culture by visiting the Mitai Maori Village outside of Rotorua. Share the wonders of traditional Maori dance, canoeing, and tattoo art while enjoying a traditional ground-roasted Maori dinner and a breathtaking fire dance show in ancient tribal style.
5) Take a CampervanRoad Trip
New Zealanders don’t always see vacationing the same way we do. Every inch of their island country is breathtaking, and New Zealanders often take the opportunity simply drive across it. And you can, too. Campervans are like mini-RVs with a kitchenette and cleverly hidden cots that double as a table during the day. If you want to take a short road trip across New Zealand, campervan rental is the perfect way to do this. Experience as a family what New Zealand looks like between towns or drive out to spend a few days in the incredible New Zealand wilderness together. With a campervan, you’ll have everything you need.
6) Get Wild at Velocity City
Believe it or not, Rotorua has a second thrilling theme park available if you’re not done adventuring after hitting up the Skyline. Velocity city has even more opportunities to go really, really fast with less focus on nature and more on every possible kind of speed. At Velocity City, you can free-fall on air, speed boat, and delight in several kinds of a zip line. If your children are nervous about going up in the air for fun, take the family sky swing with them first. Or, if you have teens looking for a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, send them to the Schweeb Racer track. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
7) Become a Human Hamster at OGO Rotorua
Speaking of things that are hard to believe, the OGO Rotorua is one of the single most incredible attractions we have ever encountered. Ever want to roll down a hill in a giant inflatable hamster ball? We know you have, which is exactly why you and the family should visit OGO Rotorua, one of the only places to enjoy this novel and exciting experience. Bring your swimsuits, because, inside the ball, you’ll also be floating in the water.
8) Get Rural At the Agrodome
There are a lot of sheep in New Zealand, so it’s only right that any children with you get to pet and frolic with them at least once. The Agrodome is the safest and friendliest place to meet the lively agricultural side of New Zealand. And all of the cute little fuzzy sheep. There will be plenty of petting, lessons on interesting agricultural topics and a Farm Show featuring very talented farm animals doing tricks any children with you will love.
9) Take to the Sky with Canopy Tours
Have you always wanted to be a nature tourist? Then it’s no surprise you’re in New Zealand. One of the most breathtaking experiences you can have in this incredible place is taking a canopy tour over the tops of ancient redwoods and beautiful waterfalls. Rotorua canopy tours are zip-line experiences where you and the whole family can witness the wonder of New Zealand’s forests and landscapes from high above.
10) Explore the Ruakuri Caves Tour
Finally, don’t forget New Zealand underground. And we don’t mean the music scene. The Maori tradition in New Zealand also extends deep below into networks of caves. The Ruakuri caves are a beautiful place for children to discover the connection between stalactites and stalagmites, bat ecosystems, and the incredible wonder of natural caves. This is the perfect place to cool down after a hot or exciting day and discover an entirely different aspect of how beautiful nature can be.
New Zealand is a wonderful place to vacation with your entire family. And the city of Rotorua is uniquely equipped to give you day after day of incredible family-friendly fun. Whether you like to go fast, explore cultural traditions, or adventure through the rugged landscape, there is more than enough for everyone in your family to have a great time.