Fun things to do in Rotorua this summer

There is nothing better than being around water on a hot summers day. In Rotorua, you will be spoilt for choice with easy access to lakes, rivers and beaches.  If you are looking for fun things to do in Rotorua this summer, look no further! We have put together a list of the top Rotorua water activities from mild to wild, check them out! 

8 fun things to do in Rotorua this summer:

  1. Duck Tours
  2. Rotorua Paddle Boarding – Glow Worm Tour
  3. Katoa Jet
  4. River Rats Rafting
  5. Tandem Whitewater Kayaking experience – The Kaituna River
  6. Polynesian Spa
  7. Tarawera Trail and Water Taxi
  8. White-Water Sledging Adventure

1. Duck Tours

There is no better way to explore the lakes in the area than on an authentic amphibious WW2 landing craft. It sounds very serious but trust me it’s the exact opposite. This wartime landing craft will transport you to either two of the most popular lakes while giving you entertaining commentary along the way. When you get to the lake, your guide will pull a few levers and drive straight into the lake. Yes, this awesome landing craft turns into a boat to enjoy a cruise on the lake. It’s one of our favourite fun things to do in Rotorua, especially for senior flyers and of course the kids!fun things to do in Rotorua

2. Paddle Board Rotorua – Glow Worm Tour

This is a new product to Rotorua and it’s an absolute gem! These guys offer a variety of tours but we recommend the evening glow worm experience. You’ll head out in the evening on Lake Okareka with all the gear and instructions you need. After a short paddle, the guides will take you into the magnificent glow worm caves. It’s a unique experience that rivals the Waitomo area and as you can see from the photo, it’s breathtaking! Click here to find out more.

Paddle board rotorua - fun things to do in Rotorua

3. Katoa Jet

Next on our list of fun things to do in Rotorua this summer is Katoa Jet. These guys do a variety of tours that range from mild to wild.

Take their hot pools experience. Although a hot pool does sound counter-intuitive on a hot day….there is something special about this one! Katoa Jet will take you from the lakefront of Rotorua, through the Ohau Channel to Lake Rotoiti. Here you will get to experience a secluded natural hot spring on the side of the lake. These pools are only accessable by boat or floatplane.
Soak and relax, and when you get too hot just jump (or slide) into the lake to cool down!

Kaitoa Jet hot springs experience

4. River Rats Whitewater Rafting

River Rats is one of the original whitewater rafting companies in NZ and they are still going strong. They have a range of river trips to suit all adventure levels! The Kaituna River experience is one of our fun things to do in Rotorua anytime of the year! The Kaituna is one of the best rafting rivers in the world – the water is warm (ish), you’re on the river for an hour and you get to experience 3 waterfalls ranging from the 1-metre weir to the 7 metre Tutea falls. It’s a class 5 river which sounds gnarly but it’s one of the most accessible class-5 river trips in the world. The river has been etching its way through the volcanic rock for thousands of years and has dug a channel that is the whitewater equivalent to a bobsled track. It’s world-class and right here in RotoruaWhite water rafting in Rotorua

5. NZ Whitewater Academy tandem kayak tour

Now for the wildest water adventure, the NZ Whitewater Academy is offering tandem kayak tours down the Kaituna River. The Kaituna river is epic for rafting and now you can take the next step – turn up the adventure and kayak it for yourself!
This newly launched experience requires a one-to-one guide to guest ratio with the professional kayaker sitting in the back of the boat. They teach you all you need to know, how to get down the river safely and you’ll work together to navigate one of the most fun rivers on the planet. If you have a sense of adventure, this experience is for you.

fun things to do in rotorua this summer

6. Polynesian Spa

Located on the shores of Lake Rotorua the Polynesian Spa is an idillic place to relax. Polynesian spa is renowned for its healing waters and decadent spa therapies.

Waters from two natural springs are fed into the 28 mineral pools at Polynesian Spa. The slightly acidic Priest Spring relieves tired muscles, aches and pains while the alkaline waters of the Rachel Spring nourish skin.  Polynesian Spa has been recognised as one of the top 10 spas in the world!

Polynesian Spa thermal pools rotorua

7. Tarawera Trail and Water Taxi

Totally Tarawera operate the only water taxi on the lake. We reccomend taking the Tarawera Trail through to hot water beach for a hot soak and some lunch, then enjoy the scenic cruise back across the lake.

As you walk you will sense the awesome presence of the now ‘sleeping’ Mount Tarawera and enjoy the ever-changing glimpses of the Lake and its Bays along the way. Every bend reveals another dimension to this breath-taking scenery. 

Most people take between 4 to 5 hours to walk the Trail and there is signage along the Trail that outline the distance and walking time between each landmark.

tawawera trail

8. White-Water Sledging Adventure

Not for the faint hearted, sledging on the famous Kaituna river will get your heart pumping. Seeing the river at eye level is a whole new experience and a great personal challenge! 

Sledgers are equipt with their own purpose-built sledge and flippers. Participants must be strong swimmers and physically fit. Check out the requirements and trip times here. 


Rotorua sledging adventure

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