Eight Free Experiences You Can Have In Rotorua

Eight free experiences you can have in rotorua

Getting To And Around Rotorua

Rotorua is a city in New Zealand that’s filled with tons of amazing tourist attractions to visit.

To begin with, Rotorua has many geothermal areas and hence, it’s practically a wonderland if you’re looking to experience geothermal activities.

Aside from that, Rotorua, like the rest of New Zealand, has tons of natural areas for adventure activities.

There are rainforests, lakes, mountains, and waterfalls to explore.

There’s even the opportunity for you to roll down a hill in a large plastic ball!

That’s one experience that you won’t be able to easily find anywhere else. 

Additionally, Rotorua has great historical and cultural value. Of all the places in New Zealand, Rotorua is where Maori culture is the most dominant.

There’s the village of Whakarewarewa, the last living Maori village in New Zealand.

At this village, the Tūhourangi Ngaāti Wāhiao people will take you around their village and introduce you to various aspects of Maori culture.

If you’re looking to see a real Haka performance, here is where you can get it!

Along with that, you’ll even be introduced to other traditional Maori songs too! 

Rotorua is truly a city that’s full of amazing sights and attractions to see and hence, it’s no surprise that there are tons of visitors visiting this city each year.

But, how can you get to Rotorua?

And when in Rotorua, how can you get around the place?

In this article, we’ll be sharing the various transport options for getting to and around Rotorua! 

You can also check out hotels in Rotorua here!

Getting To Rotorua 

1. By Car 

If you have a car, getting to Rotorua is highly possible and you can travel from several different cities. 

From Auckland 

You can make your way to Rotorua from the south of Auckland.

It’s a short three-hour drive and along the way, you can even stop at different towns and villages for more sightseeing.

By car, there are three ways to get to Rotorua.

The first is by Hamilton.

You’ll have to start on State Highway One then later go onto State Highway Five at Tirau.

The second course is by Matamata on State Highway Two and Twenty-seven.

You’d have to leave State Highway One at Pokeno and rejoin it again at Tirau.

The third is a somewhat roundabout route as you’ll drive through the country roads via Te Aroha and then head south down old Te Aroha Road.

Here, you can even stop to see Wairere Falls before reaching Rotorua. 

If you detest traffic and are interested in sidetracking along the way, the second option is a good one.

However, the road isn’t as well-maintained as State Highway One and can be slightly more dangerous.

The third option is also great if you’re looking for more adventure in your travel.

However, it is the most dangerous as the roads aren’t clearly marked out for some parts and they are tight and windy. 

From Tauranga 

There are two paths to Rotorua. The first one has you taking State Highway Two then State Highway Thirtythree.

This route would have you arriving in the northeast of Rotorua.

The second has you taking State Highway Thirty-six through Pyes Pa.

In contrast to the first route, this would have you arriving in the northeast of Rotorua.

If you don’t make any stops, both routes will take you around an hour. 

From Wellington

The trip from Wellington is longer as compared to the rest at six hours.

However, it’s a straightforward drive as you go down north State Highway One to Taupo.

From there, you change over to State Highway Five.

Eventually, you’d reach Rotorua. 

2. By Plane 

The airport in Rotorua is the Rotorua Regional Airport.

Going by plane would be the simplest way of getting to Rotorua and there are several cities in New Zealand that fly to Rotorua.

These cities are Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

All these flights are operated by Air New Zealand.

Additionally, Sunair also has flights to Gisborne from Rotorua Regional Airport too.  

3. By Bus 

There are two main bus services that bring visitors to Rotorua – Intercity and Skip Bus.

These bus services are available from several cities and you can check Intercity and Skip Bus for pick up points in your city.

These bus services can be booked online, at main tourist information centres and i-SITEs.

They also do pick-ups and drop-offs at these places. 

Additionally, there are also backpacker coach services that you can try looking for.

These are great as they do direct pickups from several popular hostels. 

4. By Bicycle 

If you’re thinking of cycling to Rotorua, you’d be pleased to know that it is totally possible!

All you have to do is follow the mentioned car routes to cycle to Rotorua.

Depending on where you’re coming from, the trip would either be downhill or uphill.

Getting Around Rotorua 

1. By Bus 

There are several different bus services available in Rotorua.

However, the main one would be Cityride. Cityride is operated by Baybus and it goes all over Rotorua.

You can easily identify this bus service as their buses are all lime green in colour.

On their buses, “Cityride” is also branded clearly for people to see.

The main terminal is on the corner of Fenton and Arawa Street.

There are several different routes and they can take you all over the city, including Ngongotaha, Polytech (which is the Institute of Technology) and the Rotorua Regional Airport.

No matter how far your ride is, the price of a ride is a standard $2.30.

Additionally, you can book tickets early to get cheaper tickets.

However, this bus does end its service every day at six in the evening. 

Aside from Cityride, there is also a circuit bus that’s run by GreatSights New Zealand.

GreatSights is the national sightseeing operator and this bus circuit takes you to attractions like Te Puia, Rainbow Springs Nature Park and the Agrodome. 

If these two services don’t suit your needs, there are also a few taxi companies.

These are all metered and you don’t have to worry about being ripped off.

Lastly, there’s also a shuttle bus operator available if you intend to travel as a big group. 

2. By Bicycle

Rotorua is completely accessible by bicycles and you can practically cycle all over the city.

In fact, Rotorua is said to be a cyclist’s heaven as it has amazing off-road mountain bike tracks.

These tracks are even touted to be some of the world’s best.

If you want to rent bicycles, you can also easily do that as there are many bicycle rental stores around the city. 


Rotorua is an amazing city to visit and explore.

Thankfully, transportation to and around Rotorua is highly accessible.

Through this short guide, we hope you have a better idea of how you can get around Rotorua when you visit.

Happy travels!

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