Non-Stop Family Fun Rotorua and Taupō
Park up the devices, load up the bikes and swimmers and head to the centre of family fun. A week of playtime together will keep you all talking for years to come. With more moments to remember than you can shake a stick at, this Taupō and Rotorua break away will fast become a family favourite!
Check in for three nights’ accommodation at the amazing Lake Taupō Holiday Resort. Your accommodation includes full access to the thermal pool complex; Lusty’s Lagoon, featuring a swim up and outdoor movie screen. The kids will love New Zealand’s largest jumping pillow, adventure playground, tennis courts and pedal go-kart hire and so much more. There are different accommodation options to suit your family, whether you are after a camping experience, a self-contained cabin or motel unit.
Stay: Lake Taupō Holiday Resort
This morning head out on a scenic cruise around Taupō’s hidden bays, learning the Māori mythology and volcanic history of these special lands as you glide across the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupō. Take the opportunity to hand feed the local birdlife before gently floating beneath the extraordinary 14-metre-high Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings. As you cruise back to the town centre, try your luck at trout fishing and see if you can land one of these local delicacies (Chris Jolly Taste of Taupō Scenic cruise only). You can’t buy trout in New Zealand, so catching one yourself is the only way to enjoy freshly caught trout for dinner. Experience: Chris Jolly Outdoors (Taste of Taupō Cruise), Lake Taupō Cruises Ernest Kemp (Māori Rock Carvings Cruise) or Sail Barbary (daily Rock Carvings Cruise).
This afternoon take the family to a geothermal wonderland that resembles an incredible lunar landscape. Craters of the Moon Thermal Walkway will have the family amazed as you wander past steaming craters, bubbling vents, and spectacular coloured soils.
No trip to Taupō would be complete without a hot swim and you can’t go past Taupō DeBretts Thermal Spa. Relax in thermal mineral waters as the kids play in the warm water playground and have hours of fun riding the water slides.
Stay: Lake Taupō Holiday Resort
It’s time to pick up the pace and combine two of New Zealand’s most iconic activities, jet boating and the famous Huka Falls. This half hour of fun, thrills and excitement takes you along the beautiful Waikato River lined with sheer rock faces, native bush and hot water streams. Experience Hukafalls Jet with exhilarating 360 degree spins and awesome speeds before reaching the base of the thundering Huka Falls. From your unique vantage point on the jetboat, you will experience the best water level views as you feel the power of these awesome falls.
Once you have dried off, head next door and visit New Zealand’s only prawn farm, located on the banks of the Waikato River. Huka Prawn Park farms a tropical freshwater river prawn while utilising the earth’s geothermal heat. This quirky tour introduces you to the surprisingly fascinating world of the prawn and concludes with the opportunity to fish for your own prawns, or to relax in their riverside restaurant and savour the delicacies delivered straight to your table. Kids will have a blast racing on the boating lake on stand-up paddleboards, water trikes or pedal boats.
On the way back in to town, pop into the Huka Honey Hive for an ice-cream and learn about the fascinating world of the honeybee. View live beehives and discover health and wellness products as well as the opportunity to taste a range of honey and mead products sourced from all over New Zealand.
This morning, explore the beautiful Waikato River by kayak with the Waikato River Float with Taupō Kayaking Adventures. Gently paddle along crystal-clear slow moving water through stunning cliff faces and lush native forest that line the river. You will pass various islands and drift past AJ Hackett Taupō Bungy where you may see someone jumping from the platform 47-metres above! The trip includes a stop at the natural hot springs where you can take the opportunity to soak in geothermal waters of Otumuheke Stream, at Spa Thermal Park.
Once you have finished the trip, head to the new Baked with Love Eatery for a delicious lunch. All food is created onsite and sourced locally, where possible, to bring to you fresh and tasty dishes.
While in town, look at the vibrant street art lining the streets of the CBD thanks to the annual Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival. Take a tour by foot or electric scooter! Download the Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival walking tour map and check out a selection of 30 walls that show the wide breadth of colourful mural work within Taupō. The kids will have tonnes of fun getting their photo taken in front of these large-scale murals.
Depart: Taupō for Rotorua
Arrive in Rotorua! For the next three nights, check into the award-winning and eco-friendly family accommodation Aura Accommodation. Park up your bikes up in their bike shed, swim in the family sized heated pool, get a hunger on, then wander 100m around the corner for dinner on Eat Streat, Rotorua’s dining and entertainment precinct.
Where to eat? There’s so many options! You could check out the popular kid friendly Our House. There’s menus for little and big people with fantastic classic Kiwi kai, quirky Kiwiana and the board games will ensure this an unforgettable family night out.
After dinner, kick your Rotorua family holiday off in style with a visit to the magical and iconic Redwoods Nightlights, described by many as a #NZMustDo. Here you’ll see a forest of giant lights magically light up the forest, as you walk along 28 elevated swing-bridges and living platforms located 20m high in the forest. Hot deal: Book for the Nightlights and get the day-time walk for free (offer valid within 3 days). Amazing!
Stay: Aura Accommodation
Rotorua is a haven for bikers of all ages! We’ve got over 180km of trails from the family friendly, up to world-class downhill trails. Kids will grin from ear to eat the new BMX track and Dodzy’s Skills Park is a great play area on the bike for all levels.
Rack up the bikes and your weekend plans are taken care of – ride, eat, sleep and repeat.
Ciabatta Bakery, located in the industrial section of town on White Street, has been a favourite with locals and visitors since way back. Feast on their artisan delicious European-style sandwiches, or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, check out their cronuts. Did we mention the coffee is to die for? You’re welcome!
For the afternoon, is there anything better than soaking in a soothing hot spring? Located just 25 minutes by car south of Rotorua, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools is the perfect place for families to relax and unwind, year-round! There’s a variety of pools to choose from in a stunning setting of beautiful geothermal activity and the native bush of Waikite Valley.
For dinner, Abracadabra Café and Bar guarantees good food and good vibes – along with a great selection of craft beers and cocktails, meanwhile the kids will love the kids menu and the toy box will guarantee hours of entertainment for the littlies.
Stay: Aura Accommodation
The best introDUCKtion to the Rotoura region is with Rotorua Duck Tours. On board you’ll explore this amazing region from a unique perspective: On board a genuine WW2 amphibious vehicle!
You’ll splash down on up to three lakes, learn about our region’s amazing geothermal activity and Maori culture and history. This unique tour combines fun and education for the whole family.
For lunch, check out the world-famous Fat Dog café with its casual atmosphere and huge variety of creative and delicious food.
This afternoon, is time for Skyline Rotorua, your next – and last stop for the day, there’s easily a half day of fun to be had here! This experience starts with a gondola ride up Mt Ngongotaha where you’ll be rewarded at the top with spectacular views of Lake Rotorua and the city. Wind your way down the hill on the Luge, then repeat, and repeat and… repeat! You’ll work up an appetite, but luckily, you won’t need to go far for dinner. Enjoy Stratosfare Restaurant where you can fuel up again whilst enjoying one of the best view in town.
Stay: Aura Accommodation
Now here’s something you won’t find anywhere else in NZ: Unique and mind-boggling optical illusions that come to life at 3D Trick Art Gallery! Literally insert yourself in masterpiece in any (or all) of the five themed sections. These include Classic Art, Kiwi Life, Challenge, Fantasy and Grand Nature. This is a fantastic all weather Roto-experience that will have all ages grinning ear to ear.
This afternoon, if a touch of adrenaline is on order, boy have we got some fab options!
First up is Velocity Valley, the home of adrenaline and speed. Fun fact: This is the only place in NZ where you can do all of the following activities in one location: Shweeb, Swoop, Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme, Freestyle Airbag and Rotorua Bungy.
Alternatively, if you’ve always harboured desires to roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball, tick this off your bucket list with Zorb! Try the Straight Track or the super twisty Sidewinder Track – or, why not try both? If you’d rather spectate and watch the kids laugh their heads off: You can do that too (over a yummy coffee).
If a more sedate afternoon activity is called for, why not mini golf with the bunnies? Rotorua Mini Golf has, quite possibly, the most picturesque course in the country. With bunnies hopping around pigeons, fish and frogs demanding attention, good luck getting the kids to leave! Want to play by night? No problem, this is available 7 days.
For dinner, no trip to Rotorua is complete without dining at the historic Pig and Whistle. There’s classic pub grub and an epic range of tap beers and drinks. PS Their curly fries are a #RotoruaMustEat
Time to say goodbye to Rotorua and end your week away in the central North Island. But before you get back in the car this afternoon, make the most of your morning and head back into the forest. There’s plenty of time for one last bike ride, or a soul rejuvenating walk among the trees – get those kids nice and tired before you hop in the car.
Ka kite ano and please, come back soon!