Family Forest and Fun
Stay and Play
Does your family’s idea of fun involve the forest, a bit of adrenaline, lots of laughing, a relaxing soak in some hot springs, all infused with a little bit of culture? If so, this family and forest fun itinerary, set in the geothermal heartland of Rotorua, is sure to put a smile on everyone’s dial!
Blue Lake is a firm family favourite. There is an easy grade 2 bike trail, a 5km walking track around the lake and an awesome playground and picnic area with free BBQs. Explorers heading out for a walk after dark might even find some glow worms around the lake.
Stay: Holiday Inn. Base yourself for the week at the Holiday Inn. With flexible room configurations to suit your family, bike storage, a heated swimming pool and the all-important Disney Channel, it’s the perfect place to keep the kids entertained. They also offer a Very Important Kids Programme with great discounts to many of the family friendly activities and attractions across Rotorua. Kids eat free at the Holiday Inn Chapman’s restaurant.
Get up close with New Zealand’s feathered treasures at Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre. There’s a daily interactive flight display where you’ll be wowed with how these incredible creatures fly and they always offer the chance for the kids to get involved.
Rotorua is famous for its hot pools, and Polynesian Spa has been providing the goods in the centre of the city for years! The family pools have a large freshwater chlorinated pool and families can also enjoy two Rachel Spring alkaline mineral hot pools.
Lose the kids at aMAZEme. The giant maze is a family owned and operated business, designed for old-fashioned fun! There’s also a small-animal petting enclosure and playground.
Then it’s time for a bit of magic! Paddle Board Rotorua offer a family-friendly guided kayak trip to some lakeside glow worm caves for a unique night-time adventure.
You can’t go to Rotorua without giving mountain biking a try. The Whakarewarewa Forest has a host of trails to suit absolute beginners, right up to the seasoned pros! The easiest place to start for access to the family trails is Waipa Mountain Bike Car Park, where you can hire bikes, grab a coffee and some food and head into the forest!
Rotorua Night Market on Thursday nights is a must do. There are food truck options for even the fussiest eaters, as well as talented local entertainment and some great locally made gift ideas.
Te Puia showcases Māori culture at its best through the Māori Arts & Crafts Institute where you can see carving, weaving and even Ta Moko in action.
Peckish? The food at Pataka Kai restaurant at Te Puia is a tasty fusion of contemporary styles and traditional flavours and cooking methods.
Take a day to explore Okere Falls. There’s a stunning walking track alongside the river where you can watch rafts and kayakers tackle the 7m Tutea Falls.
Then refuel at local favourite, the Okere Falls Store. This eco-friendly general store has a great menu a range of craft beers and a beautiful garden perfect for relaxing away the afternoon. Check out their social media channels to see what’s on, they often have live music and various events on the weekend.
End the week with a special treat at Rotorua Canopy Tours. The Original Canopy Tour has been topping Trip Advisor Reviews and winning awards since it opened in 2012 and has quickly become a Must-Do! As a bonus, there’s also an educational element to this tour. Canopy Tours invest heavily in a conservation programme to protect the native birdlife in the reserve and tell the story of their conservation as you fly through the trees.