Things to do in Rotorua free

by | Oct 20, 2021 | Rotorua

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Rotorua free then you’re in luck! With so much to see and do in this geothermal city you’ll be spoiled for choice, so we’ve picked out our top five to get you started.

Top things to do in Rotorua free:

  1. Go for a walk in the Redwood forest
  2. Go mountain biking
  3. Walk around the scenic Blue Lake
  4. Check out the Rotorua Lake front
  5. Experience the Rotorua’s geothermal Kuirau Park
  6. Go to the beautiful Government Gardens
  7. Watch rafters and kayakers drop over the falls at Okere Falls
  8. Soak in the natural hot springs at Kerosene Creek

1. Go for a walk in the Redwood forest

The Redwood forest (or Whakarewarewa Forest) walking trails all begin at the i-SITE visitor centre. Firstly pick up a trail map here before exploring the forest trails.

Take your time to admire the Redwood giants that tower above and create the perfect shelter hot or rainy Rotorua days. The trails range from 1.7km – 34km and are all well-marked by colour-coded signage. There is something here for everyone.

Whakarewarewa Forest walking trails
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Photo: Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest has spectacular walking trails accessable for free. Credit: AA.com

2. Go mountain biking

One of the great things to do in Rotorua free is mountain biking! Rotorua is New Zealand’s mountain biking mecca, and provided you bring your own bike, the region’s world-class tracks don’t cost a thing to ride.

We highly recommend the Whakarewarewa Trails – Red Bull has rated them the best in the Southern Hemisphere! Weaving through native ferns and forest, beneath soaring canopies of Californian Redwood Trees. These trails were built by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers!

things to do in rotorua free
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Photo: Find beautiful scenes and hidden spots on one of the best things to do in Rotorua free – mountain biking in the Redwoods Forest. Credit: RotoruaNZ

3. Walk around the scenic Blue Lake

During the summer months, an incredible day hike is the Lake Tikatapu loop track (Blue Lake) about 10 minutes drive from Rotorua. The lake itself lies within a volcanic crater and it’s a bright blue colour – perfect for a dip to cool off! The track is a 5.5km easy-going loop. Therefor, this is one of the must-do free things to do in Rotorua and it’s suitable for all fitness levels (including families).

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Photo: One of our favourite things to do in Rotorua for free, enjoy the views walking around the Blue Lake. credit: Rotorua Canopy Tours

4. Check out the Rotorua Lake front

Newly developed boardwalks opened in July 2021 that lead you around the lake front, and out onto the water in some parts. An easy stroll or cycle from town, Eat street and the Government Gardens. Rotorua Lakefront is a great spot on a beautiful sunny day.

Work on the western end of the lake will commence in 2022 to complete the Lakefront project.

Rotorua Lakefront
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Photo: Explore the newly developed Rotorua lakefront. Credit: RotoruaNZ

5. Experience one of the best things to do in Rotorua free – geothermal Kuirau Park

Next is one of the most unique free things to do in Rotorua. The city’s bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and hissing steam vents are world famous, but you generally have to pay to see impressive examples of them. Not at Kuirau Park! A public park located minutes from Rotorua’s city centre – the park is home to numerous tracks leading to energetic areas of geothermal activity – a great way to get a geothermal fix all for free!

things to do in rotorua free-geothermal
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Photo: See some of the geothermal wonders of Rotorua all for free at Kuirau Park. credit: Newzealand.com

6. Go to the beautiful Government Gardens

Set right on the edge of Lake Rotorua is the Government Gardens, a place where many battles took place between Maori back in the early days. Today, it’s home to a gorgeous rose garden and manicured lawns. Soak up the scenery with a picnic lunch overlooking the historic Musuem that is currently closed after damages in an earthquake.

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Photo: The Government Gardens are a great place to hang out and enjoy the sunshine. credit: Newzealand.com

7. Watch rafters and kayakers drop over the waterfall at Okere Falls

Enjoy a casual walk through native bush to a series of four stunning waterfalls and crystal-clear trout pools. Spend time watching the various rafting companies take guests rafting over the 7m Tutea Falls – the highest commercial raftable waterfall in the world. Okere Falls Scenic Reserve is about a 15 minute drive out of Rotorua.

rotorua-whitewhater-rafting
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Photo: Enjoy the stunning waterfalls and crystal clear trout pools of Okere falls. credit: River Rats

8. Soak in the natural hot springs at Kerosene Creek

Soaking in a hot spring surrounded by native bush for free is one of the best things to do in Rotorua for free! Kerosene creek is a natural freshwater hot spring only 30km south of Rotorua. The hot water from the natural spring bubbles up from the ground into the cool waters of the creek, creating the warm water.

Perfect activity for a rainy day in Rotorua. As the rain hits the water the steam sits low creating a cosy and relaxed atmosphere. This geothermal heated stream is the perfect place to blob out and relax while experiencing a New Zealand natural hot spring.

things to do in rotorua free - hot springs
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Photo: The natural hot spring at Kerosene Creek are one of the most unique and relaxing free things to do in Rotorua. credit: Stuff.co.nz

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