Things to do in Rotorua and Taupo

by | Oct 22, 2021 | New Zealand Travel, Rotorua

Rotorua and Taupo are awesome places to visit year round and are only an hours drive apart. There are so many things to do in Rotorua and Taupo that you will be spoilt for choice. Summer is the perfect time to get out and about at the many lakes and winter is ideal for the snow sports and a dip in the hot springs.

Top things to do in Rotorua and Taupo:

  1. Jump off the rock ledges at Bulli Point
  2. Soak at the Secret Spot hot pools
  3. Kayak To The Maori Rock Carvings
  4. Zipline through native forests at Canopy Tours
  5. Picnic at Whakaipo Bay
  6. Take a Chris Jolly Lake Cruise
  7. Paetiki Bakery
  8. Explore Waimangu Volcanic Valley

1. Jump off the rock ledges at Bulli Point

Show off your Olympic diving skills by jumping off rock ledges and into the fresh blue waters of Lake Taupo at Bulli Point. There’s three ledges to jump from (the highest is 7m) and the water’s so deep there’s no chance of hitting the bottom. So, pull out your biggest back flips and show the locals what you’ve got – or they will show you what they have got!

Things to do in Rotorua and Taupo
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Photo: Enjoy jumping into the clear waters of Lake Taupo from Bulli Point. Credit: stuff.co.nz

2. Soak at the Secret Spot hot pools

Soak in a magical setting surrounded by native bush next to the Waipa Stream. At Secret Spot you’ll have your very own cedar hot tub that fits up to six people. Set amongst the tree ferns, it’s the perfect spot to relax.

Book a combo with Rotorua Canopy Tours and Polynesian Spa and save.

3. Kayak To The Maori Rock Carvings

Paddle or sail across the clear waters of Lake Taupo to Mine Bay where impressive 14m high Maori Rock Carvings are etched into the cliff-face. These incredible artworks are only accessible by water and are a wonderful spiritual experience. Make sure you get out your camera to capture a selfie of you with the enormous Maori carving etched into the cliff face behind you. You won’t find anything else in the world like this – simply spectacular!

Time to Allow: 4 hours by kayak, 1.5 hours by boat

Maori rock carvings lake taupo
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Photo: Admire the stunning Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo. credit: Canopy Tours

4. Zipline through native forests at Canopy Tours

Expert kiwi guides will take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Travel through ancient native forest via a network of ziplines, swing bridges and tree top platforms.

With two amazing tours to choose from, you can’t go wrong – the 3 hour Original Canopy Tour or the next level 3.5 hour Ultimate Canopy Tour. This is definitely a fun and educational experience everyone will love!

Rotorua Canopy Tours zipline adventure
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Photo: Rotorua Canopy Tours takes you deep into stunning native forest on an adventure of a lifetime. Credit: Rotorua Canopy Tours

5. Picnic at Whakaipo Bay

This tranquil spot on the edge of Lake Taupo is a wonderful place to gaze at the endless blue sky and distant mountain ranges. You can park at the Whakaipo Bay Recreational Reserve and spread your picnic rug out on the grass beneath a shady tree, or venture onto the pebbly beach and have a swim or nap in the sunshine. If you have a kayak or paddle board with you, this is a terrific place to launch.

6. Take a Chris Jolly Lake Cruise

Discover Lake Taupo with Chris Jolly via a scenic cruise. The day time cruises depart daily from the boat ramp and either take you to the Maori Rock Carvings on their large catamarans. The cruise that takes about 90 minutes and there is even a tour option of a ‘taste of Taupo’ which features the Maori Rock carvings but also a trout fishing demonstration and a chance to try fresh smoked trout. You can’t purchase trout at restaurants, so this could be your only chance to give it a try. If you prefer to spend the day exploring the other sights around the Lake then book on their night time cruise to explore Lake Taupo by night.

Things to do in Rotorua and Taupo on the lakes
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Photo: Relax with Chris Jolly Cruises taking in the beautiful sorrounds of Lake Taupo. credit: Canopy Tours

7. Paetiki Bakery

After a big day of activities discovering all the things to do in Rotorua and Taupo it will be time to enjoy some delicious local food. Paetiki bakery has an astounding selection of pies and has gained a reputation for tasty, hot, and fresh food. Baked on the premises, the pies including (include) steak and vegetable, bacon and egg, seafood, chicken camembert and apricot, and even a rare vegetarian option, many of which have come up trumps at New Zealand’s annual Pie Awards.

8. Explore Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Labeled the ‘world’s youngest geothermal system’, walk past steaming cliffs, volcanic craters, silica terraces and lush bush. Combine your visit to Waimangu Volcanic Valley with a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana to experience the valley’s geothermal wonders from a whole different angle.

waimangu volcanic valley
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Photo: Waimanugu is one the youngest thermal parks in Rotorua.

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