Six Free Half Day Activities in Rotorua.

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This blog was last updated in May 2021.

Rotorua is literally overflowing with activities for visitors to do, but they all don’t need to break the bank. We’ve put together 6 fun free activities for you too enjoying. And the best thing… well it is FREE!

Here is our pick of the best free activities in Rotorua. 

1.The Pohaturoa track

The Pohaturoa Track in the Redwood forest is a great half day activity with spectacular views over the Whakawerewera geothermal field, the city, and Lake Rotorua. The track is 7.5km and takes around 2 hours. Starting from the Redwood grove and i-Site visitor centre, your path climbs through a variety of Radiata pine, Mexican Pine, Japanese larch and Douglas Fir. Grab a free map from the i-Site before you start.

Top Tip: Although the view is beautiful at anytime of the day, catching the Pohutu Geyser going off at dusk is especially wonderful.

Woman standing amongst tall trees and looking upwards.
Enjoy our beautiful forest.

2. Okereka Jumping Rock.

A locals favourite is Okereka Jumping Rock, which you’ll find along the path from the beach at the Okereka DOC campground. The jump is not too high which makes it perfect for everyone and the large platform means that lots of people can be there without it feeling too crowded. Competent swimming is a must but sunbathing by the beach is still an option if you’re less water confident.

Top tip: Weekends are quite busy at the jumping rock so be prepared for people if you’re heading in on the weekend, or alternatively, head down on a weekday.

3. Kuirau Park

A hidden gem of hot pools and bubbling mud right next to the CBD. A nice well maintained park with clear pathways, a playground and even geothermally heated footbaths means that you can experience geothermal activity without paying a cent. A great place for the families, as they have a fantastic park for the kids!

Top tip: On Saturday mornings you can check out the morning market which mostly sells food and knickknacks, which is always vibrant and means that the park is buzzing with activity.

Walk way through park with steam
Kuirau Park Rotorua

4. Government Gardens and Sulphur Point

The track starts from the lakefront is an easy track to either bike or walk. Follow the lakefront path right through to the steam of Sulphur point where you can see wildlife such as swam and geese and see how the geothermal activity affects the lakefront area. Following the track down from Sulphur point will take you to the Rotorua Museum and Government Gardens. The Rotorua Museum used to be a bathhouse and its beautiful Elizabethan style is charming and full of character, great for photo opportunities.

*Parts of the Lakefront are being redeveloped currently, access to some areas may be restricted. 

Top tip: Take a picnic lunch with you on your journey, the Government Gardens area has plenty of secluded spots and benches where you can stop for a bite to eat.

Walkway on Lakefront
Newly developed Lakefront in Rotorua.

*Rotorua Museum is closed until 2025 for earthquake re-strengthening.

5. The Blue Lake

Around 15 minutes from the CBD, The Blue Lake is great for swimming with beaches at both ends of the lake (the main beach and the beach from the carpark heading out to Lake Tarawera). Try the Blue Lake loop trail around the entire lake, it takes around an hour and from the lookout you can view both the Blue and Green Lakes.

Top tip: The secondary carpark and beach area is usually less busy than the main beach and just as nice. To get there follow Tarawera Road past the campground and then it will be the next turnoff on the right.

Two girls on inflatables being towed behind a boat on lake.
Enjoy the lakes!

6. Kerosene Creek and Hot and Cold

There are two natural mineral pools found 20 mins from Rotorua off State Highway 5.
For Kerosene Creek you will have to turnoff onto a gravel road just 5 mins before you see the turnoff to Wai O Tapu (roughly 20 minutes from Rotorua), and Hot and Cold is found under the bridge on the road to Wai O Tapu. Kerosene Creek is a hot stream with a waterfall which has a carpark and simple toilet facilities. Hot and Cold is a twin stream of a hot river meeting a cold one, creating a delightful bathing area. Both are popular with locals and tourists alike, especially in the evenings when it is cooler. Why not experience the hot springs for free right?

Top tip: Taking candles to the pools are great if you’re going at night, but remember to be a tidy kiwi and take out what you take in. Be sure to not leave any valuables where they can be seen, sometimes this area can be targeted by thieves.

five people soaking in a steaming river
The magic of geothermal!


For further free activities, have a chat with our friendly team on arrival, we are constantly searching for the best activities in Rotorua to ensure our guests get the best experience. If you’re a guest at Aura Accommodation, consider taking our free bikes for 2 hours. Kuirau Park and Sulphur Point are both only a short bike from us.

Looking for some ideas in Rotorua? Check out some of our other blogs below!

Best Day Trips in the Waikato | Mountain Biking Around Rotorua |Top Family ActivitiesLucy’s Top Tips for Two Days in Rotorua