Winners of both the Māori Tourism Award and Resilience & Innovation Award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2023.

You’ll find there is a heap to do in rotorua with the family. Perfect to keep the tamariki busy these school holidays!

Here are our top picks for a seriously awesome school holiday break in Rotorua.

Voted in the Top 10 Experiences in the World by TripAdvisor, The Te Pā Tū experience delights all ages

1. Te Pā Tū

Yes, we may be a little bit bias, but it’s for good reason! Spend an evening at Tamaki Māori Village these school holidays. Set amongst a stunning 200 year old native Tawa forest, this is immersive Māori culture at its finest. Learn the haka, poi dancing, and watch your hangi meal being lifted from the ground where it was cooked. This experience is great for the family, and everyone will leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Māori culture in New Zealand – perfect for children interested in NZ history and culture.

Agrodome Rotorua
Get up close and personal with farm animals!

2. Rotorua Agrodome

A completely different aspect of New Zealand culture can be found at the Agrodome, just 10 minutes outside of Rotorua township. Celebrating the farming and agricultural side of our little country, the Agrodome gets you up close and personal with farm animals including the cute babies of the Farmyard Nursery. There is a wonderfully interactive Farm Show, as well as tours of the 350 acre farm. Take advantage of the 2-for-1 tickets for the school holidays, and enjoy an educational and fun look at one of New Zealand’s most important industries (this one is perfect for younger tamariki!)

Kuirau Park is free to walk through. Look out for the foot pools!
Kuirau Park is free to walk through. Look out for the foot pools!

3. Thermal Parks

Exploring Rotorua’s many geothermal ‘hot spots’ is a great way to keep the whanau moving, and everyone will love learning about the volcanic activity that created them. If you want to stay close to the town, go for a wander through Kuirau Park. You won’t believe how close you can get to large mud pools and large hot pools. Make sure to stay behind the fences though! There are even hot pools you can dip your feet in to help warm up. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there are ticketed parks including Wai-o-tapu with the spectacular Champagne Pool, and Hell’s Gate with the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot water waterfall.

Blue Lake
The perfect swimming spot for a sunny day.

4. Blue and Green Lakes

On a sunny day you won’t want to miss visiting Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake), and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake). These lakes sit side-by-side on the way to Tarawera, and have great walking tracks around them that are easy enough for the whole family. Time your day to take advantage of the grass domain in front of Lake Tikitapu for lunch, looking across the deep blue lake which is full of boats and swimmers in the summer months. The difference in colour between the two lakes is really quite startling, and on your walk you will find a viewpoint where you can both at the same time. Lake Rotokakahi is sacred to local Māori and swimming/boating is not allowed.

Kerosene Creek
A must-visit, this naturally hot river is a unique Rotorua experience.

5. Kerosene Creek

If it’s time for a swim to warm up, then one of the best free swimming spots is Kerosene Creek, about 30 minutes from Rotorua town or less than 10 minutes from Wai-o-tapu. This naturally hot stream is just a couple of minutes from the large parking area, and has a large waterfall-fed pool to relax in. Surrounded by dense bush and birdsong, this is the perfect place to relax after a day of exciting school holiday fun.

Discover more Family Friendly activities in Rotorua!