Top Rotorua Day Trips
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Day Trips from Rotorua
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Strategically located at the center of New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua makes a popular basecamp for exploring the surrounding sights. After exploring its geothermal attractions and Maori cultural sites, here’s where to head for a day trip.
Hobbiton — 43 miles (70 km) northwest of Rotorua
A must-see for fans of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, Hobbiton tours give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the set that were built for the films. Pose for a photo outside Bilbo Baggins’ home; stock up on Hobbit-themed souvenirs; and grab a bite at the Shire’s Rest café or a pint of ale at the Green Dragon Inn.
Taupo — 51 miles (82 km) southwest of Rotorua
New Zealand’s largest lake is a spectacular setting for outdoor activities, with popular choices including sailing, jet boating, rafting, hiking, and even skydiving. Make a day of it by including a stop at the Wai-O-Topu Geothermal Wonderland, Huka Falls, or the Wairakei Thermal area.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves — 87 miles (140 km) west of Rotorua
Discover the natural wonders of Waitomo with a visit to the Glowworm Caves, one of the best places in the country to see glittering glowworms. Marvel at the dramatic limestone formations, take a boat ride through the glowworm grotto, or try activities like cave tubing or rafting along a subterranean river.
Auckland — 142 miles (228 km) northwest of Rotorua
New Zealand’s largest city is a scenic 3-hour drive from Rotorua, which leaves plenty of time to drive across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, take in the views from the Sky Tower, or walk up One Tree Hill. One-way tours are also a great way to maximize your time, starting in Rotorua, ending in Auckland, and taking in sights such as the Mamaku Ranges, Fitzgerald Glade, and Waitomo caves along the way.
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Hobbiton Day Tour from Rotorua with lunch at Hobbiton
Setting out from Rotorua, your Hobbiton Movie Set Tour starts with a scenic drive across to Matamata where your local driver guide will provide informative commentary and share stories about the region and its history. Take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set and learn how this picturesque farmland was transformed into a living, breathing piece of Middle earth. Your guide will show you Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Party Tree, the Mill, and many other structures from the movies. Then enjoy a tasty lunch at The Green DragonInn before making your way back to Rotorua.
Rotorua Highlights Small Group Tour Including Te Puia from Auckland
Combine the top sights of Rotorua and Te Puia in a single comprehensive day tour from Auckland. Traveling with a guide and following a carefully curated itinerary means you won't miss any of the important sights. Visit the Maori cultural landmarks and geothermal spots of Te Puia, as well as the city sights in Rotorua, accompanied by insightful guided commentary. Round-trip transportation from Auckland means you can focus on the scenery and the experience instead of driving and directions.
Rotoura Day tour including Hobbiton and Te Puia - lunch included at Hobbiton
Set off from Rotorua and travel north through lush farmland to the iconic Hobbiton Movie Set. Take a guided tour and discover how this working farm was transformed into a living, breathing piece of Middle-earth. Sit down to a tasty lunch at the Green Dragon Inn, then make your way back to Rotorua and visit TePuia, one of New Zealand’s top cultural venues. Receive a traditional welcome and discover TePuia's history and lineage with a personalized guided tour. Afterwards, explore Te Puia's geothermal valley, seeing bubbling mud and steaming geysers.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves & Hobbiton Movie Set - Rotorua Day Tour
Experience some of the North Island’s greatest natural and cultural attractions on an easy full-day tour from Rotorua. Nature lovers will enjoy visiting the Waitomo Caves, where you’ll take a boat ride on an underground river, gaze at thousands of twinkling glow worms, and more. Movie buffs and fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit won’t want to miss the guided tour of Hobbiton.
Taupo Day Trip with Orakei Korako from Rotorua
Discover New Zealand’s geothermal hotspots on a day trip from Rotorua to Lake Taupo, stopping to explore one of two remarkable destinations. Select Orakei Korako to see terraced pools of steaming water, or opt for Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland’s otherworldly colors. Limited to 11 people for more personal service, this day trip includes pickup and drop-off at centrally-located hotels, as well as entrance fees at the geothermal site.
Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour
Discover Rotorua on a 1.5-hour duck tour. This sightseeing adventure takes you aboard a World War II amphibious vehicle — able to travel on land and water. Start with a city tour past Government Gardens, the Blue Baths and more before splashing down into Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Okareka. Enjoy family fun along the way with a provided duck caller, and listen to live commentary about Rotorua’s history and local landmarks.
Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour
Learn about Maori culture and see boiling mud pools, geysers, and hot springs by visiting Whakarewarewa Village in Rotorua. To save time waiting in ticket lines, prebooking your admission means you can select an entry slot to suit your travel plans. Then, once inside, join a Maori guide to learn about Maori traditions—including a chance to try food cooked in geothermal pools.
Mitai Maori Village Cultural Experience in Rotorua
Get an authentic introduction to Maori culture with an evening at the Mitai Maori Village of Rotorua. See warriors in traditional dress paddle in an ancient canoe, and be captivated by the displays of weaponry. You'll watch 'haka' and poi dances and view glowworms in their natural habitat. This 3-hour experience includes round-trip hotel transport and a traditional 'hangi' feast with your admission ticket.
Hell's Gate Mud Bath & Spas
Treat yourself to a therapeutic mud bath and sulfur spa package at Hells Gate Geothermal Park. Located in one of Rotorua’s most active geothermal zones, Hells Gate features mud bath treatments that leave your body rejuvenated and skin smooth. You also have the option to cool off with a dip in waterfall pools after your treatment.
Katoa Jet Boat tour on Lake Rotorua
Blast around Lake Rotorua on a jet boat tour! An expert driver spins you around on an adrenaline-infused adventure and delivers you at top-speed to all of the iconic landmarks. Experience 30 action-packed minutes of family-friendly fun as you hear live narration on the history of the area. Select from multiple departure times; spray jackets included.
Rotorua Rafting - Kaituna River White Water Rafting
Go on an adrenaline-filled rafting excursion down the Kaituna River during this 3-hour adventure tour from Rotorua. Here, white-water rapids flow past a subtropical rainforest lining a deep canyon. See stunning waterfalls, including rafting over Tutea Falls, and jump at the opportunity for exhilarating cliff diving. Tour operates winter and summer. Wetsuit, booties and helmet are provided. No experience necessary!
Cultural Experience & Seasonal Māori Cuisine at Te Pā Tū
While in Rotorua, see a cultural performance and take part in a 3-course seasonal fusion feast at Te Pā Tū, featuring lesser-known delicacies. A local guide escorts you by coach to the “marae” (Māori village) for an immersive evening that begins with a welcome ceremony by New Zealand's Indigenous people. Learn about local customs based on the Māori lunar calendar and watch a powerful display of song and dance.
Guided Horse Trekking from Rotorua
Explore the New Zealand countryside on horseback on this 1-hour horse trekking tour from Rotorua. Climb onto your horse and head into the foothills of Mt Ngongotaha with a guide. Follow winding trails over working farmland and through native bush, and admire beautiful views over Lake Rotorua. Stop along the way to capture the views on camera, then descend back through the green paddocks to base. This horse trek is suitable for beginners and experienced riders alike, with horses and ponies to match all riding abilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the best Day Trips in Rotorua?
The best Day Trips in Rotorua according to Viator travelers are:
- Hobbiton Day Tour from Rotorua with lunch at Hobbiton
- Rotorua Highlights Small Group Tour Including Te Puia from Auckland
- Rotoura Day tour including Hobbiton and Te Puia - lunch included at Hobbiton
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves & Hobbiton Movie Set - Rotorua Day Tour
- Taupo Day Trip with Orakei Korako from Rotorua
What Day Trips in Rotorua are 1 hour or less?
Day Trips in Rotorua that are 1 hour or less are:
What Day Trips in Rotorua are taking additional safety precautions?
These Rotorua experiences are providing additional COVID-19 safety measures:
What Day Trips in Rotorua are good for avoiding crowds?
These hidden gems in Rotorua may have limited interaction with crowds:
- Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) Tours & Tickets
- Sulphur Point Tours & Tickets
- Mt. Tarawera Tours & Tickets
- Rainbow Springs Nature Park Tours & Tickets
- Lake Rotorua Tours & Tickets
- Hell's Gate Geothermal Park Tours & Tickets
- Blue Baths Tours & Tickets
- Lake Rotoiti Tours & Tickets
- Waimangu Volcanic Valley Tours & Tickets
- Rotorua Museum (Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa) Tours & Tickets
- Polynesian Spa Tours & Tickets
- Rangitaiki River Tours & Tickets
- Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) Tours & Tickets
- Government Gardens Rotorua Tours & Tickets
- Agrodome Tours & Tickets
- Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tours & Tickets
- Lake Okareka Tours & Tickets
- Te Puia Tours & Tickets
- Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (Te Puia) Tours & Tickets
- Redwoods Forest Whakarewarewa Tours & Tickets
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