This blog has been updated in May 2021.
As winter officially kicks off today (for those in the southern hemisphere), it is great to know there are some destinations that are perfect all year round, summer or winter! Rotorua is exactly that.
Whether you are stuck in your Auckland office block, freezing your buttocks off on the farm, planning that trip from across the ditch, or needing a break from the children, Rotorua has got everything to escape your winter reality.
Here’s our picks for your perfect Winter Escape to Rotorua.
We are spoilt for choice in Rotorua with an array of amazing geothermal features scattered throughout the region. Two geothermal parks to highlight this diversity are Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Go and explore both parks, taking in the variety of active craters, silica terraces, mud volcanoes, bubbling pools of both water and mud, some of the most spectacular colours and the famous Lady Knox Geyser that goes at 10.15am every day.
Both geothermal parks are off State Highway 5 on the way to Taupo. Wai-O-Tapu recommends allowing 75 minutes for their self guided walk with Waimangu recommending at least 2 hours. Brave the winter – Beat the crowds!
Read more about Waimangu Valley Thermal park here!
*Note: Wai-O-Tapu is currently closed for renovations until the end of 2021.
Don’t forget to take your swimming togs. On the way back you can enjoy a nice hot dip at Hot ‘n’ Cold, a secret little free swimming spot under the bridge just before Wai-O-Tapu. It is perfect to escape that cool winter air.
Ever wondered what it would be like rolling down a hill inside a 3 metre inflatable ball? Zorb is just that. Jump in a warm water filled ZORB and experience a ride like no other as you slide, splash and slosh down the slope. In between rides, relax and enjoy the hot tubs located at the top and bottom of the hill. Once your done rolling, head into their heated changing rooms to keep you smiling from ear to ear.
And while we are talking ‘wet’, why not try some of the best white water rafting in New Zealand on the Kaituna River with River Rats. The Kaituna River has long been known for having the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world , but there is so much more to the river with fun and challenging rapids all the way along. River Rats has the best equipment to ensure that your are warm while you are out on the river.
After a long day exploring Rotorua, it is great to find a place to relax in good company, enjoy quality food and drink in a fantastically fitted out central location. Terrace Kitchen is that place, offering an excellent day and night menu, freshly baked pastries, Atomic Coffee and a cocktail bar upstairs. Summer or Winter, Terrace Kitchen is your escape.
Be sure to also check out their new cafe – Eastwood Cafe in the Scion Innovation Center in the Redwoods.
End the day with a soak in one of Secret Spots cedar hot tubs. Located on the Waipa side of the Whakarewarewa forest, enjoy a peaceful hot soak amongst stunning native NZ bush. You can also have a drink in the hot tubs and enjoy some live music on the weekends!
Central, fun and friendly, Aura Accommodation is your place. Located a stone’s throw from Lake Rotorua, ‘Eat Streat’ and Government Gardens, with a large outdoor geothermal heated pool and hot thermal mineral pools. Free WiFi to share your winter fun and geothermal heated rooms to keep you toasty on these cool winter months.Aura Accommodation is your Rotorua Winter Escape.