Kuirau Park | Aura Accommodation

Best Picnic Spots Around Rotorua CBD

This blog was last updated in June 2021.

Rotorua is home to some amazing natural beauty. From the bubbling waters of Kuirau Park to the manicured garden beds of Government Gardens, you’re never short of something to do.  When you’re ready for a break from all that exploring, Rotorua offers some perfect locations for a picnic.

We’ve narrowed down our top picks for picnics in the Rotorua CBD – so pack the sandwiches, ‘OJ’ or bubbles and a blanket for an ideal lunch in this geothermal wonderland.

Government Gardens

Located in downtown Rotorua, on Lake Rotorua’s edge you’ll find the prestigious Government Gardens. Enter the tall arches on Queens Drive and you’ll feel like royalty yourself. The Government Gardens are steeped in New Zealand history with local Māori people gifting the land to the crown ‘for the benefit of the people of the world’ back in the late 1800’s.

Today, you’ll find immaculately manicured gardens and lush greenery, perfect for a picnic. With plenty of space to spread out the blanket, Government Gardens is ideal for a sandwich and sun-bake. When you’re finished with lunch, take a walk around the grounds – stroll through Rose gardens, Te Runanga Tea House or take a soak at the Blue Baths.

Government Garden | Aura Accommodation

Rotorua Museum | Photo Credit: Mark Smith & Adrian Hodge

Rotorua Lake Front

Featuring BBQs, picnic tables and plenty of open space, your picnic is destined for success at the Lake Rotorua waterfront. Expansive Lake Rotorua is steeped in Māori culture and another piece of land gifted to the crown.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a packed lunch or take-away meal from one of the many takeaway shops in Rotorua as you watch life by the water unfold. Watch float planes and helicopters come and go as well as observing an abundance of wildlife along the boardwalk. The green space leading up to the lake is also a popular spot for families, with a playground and plenty of room for the kids to run around. Overall, you can’t go past the Rotorua Lake Front for the perfect afternoon picnic.

*The Rotorua Lakefront is currently under construction and some areas may be closed off, for more information – see here.

Lake Rotorua | Aura Accommodation

Lake Rotorua | Photo Source: Rotorua NZ

Kuirau Park

If you want a true geothermal immersion, Kuirau Park is located on the edge of Rotorua CBD and offers picnic-goers a stunning natural backdrop for lunch. Grab some fish and chips and set out on a perfect lunchtime adventure. Think steaming walkways, bubbling mud pools and a geothermal footbath. Offering BBQs, picnic tables, shelters and a playground, Kuirau Park needs to be on your picnic hitlist.

Kuirau Park | Aura Accommodation

Kuirau Park Sunset | Photo Credit: Adrian Hodge


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