Rotorua, NZ, with kids

A week in Rotorua, full of nature, cultural (maori) activities, geysers, and geothermal activities. That was our week there - with kids. In NZ!

A Pin to make life easier!

We had a week in Rotorua, North Island of New Zealand, in August 2016.

It was a funny week, with road works that made it impossible for us to park our car in the driveway (or even near the house). On the day we arrived, after 7 hours on the road, we couldn’t park nor enter the house due to work on the driveway so we had to leave and come back 3 hours later to find out they weren’t done. We needed to ask the supervisor to move the truck – which he did, but it took around 15 minutes.

Then, 3 days later, we were told not to use the flush. And on the next day, we were awoken by a knocking on the door saying that if we didn’t take the car from the driveway now, we wouldn’t be able to move it for 3 days. Which wouldn’t work, since we needed to leave on the next day. That means we parked the car a block away – not easy loading the car, but a nice exercise.



The beautiful Redwoods, amazing walk for all ages


Besides that problem, the house didn’t have any oven tray and we had to buy disposable ones – the kids were making lasagna. Some of the pots were pretty dirty and greasy; pots, cleaning products, cleaning cloths, dust pan, everything was stored in the same place. But it’s an OK house, warm, close to the city and in a place where the Rotorua sulphuric smell isn’t strong. The owner was quite responsive, but most things couldn’t be helped.

While in there, we visited the Buried Village. We have a review here. Basically, it’s a village that was buried when Mount Tarawera erupted and Lake Rotomahana exploded. Yep. That’s it.



The beautiful Redwood tree.


They have a small museum and the most awesome little walk. I thought it would be super morbid, but it wasn’t! It was a nice, well thought of outdoor museum (well, there’s an indoor part as well, but the outside part is amazing). Well worth it! A family pass cost NZ$ 64 for a family of 4 in 2016.

After all that, we went to visit Lake Tarawera, because we wanted to see the volcano (it’s big and it has 3 domes) but we could only see it from far away, across the lake. It was still impressive. Kinda scary after reading that it’s still active, though.

On the way to Tarawera, we stopped by the Green and Blue lakes. They’re one next to the other, the blue being larger. On a cloudy day, both of them look gray. On a sunny day, you can see the difference, though I’d say they’re both blue. It might just be me, but anyway.


blue lake

Blue Lake isn’t smelly and it’s a beautiful thing


We visited Sulphur Point too. It’s a free walkway that passes through a thermal area, pretty fun – but pretty smelly. Melissa didn’t like it. Joao said he hated it, but he kind of laughed a lot. The younger 2 had loads of fun. It’s a short walk, it took us around 30 minutes but we stopped everywhere and spent lots of time with each different thing: there was boiling mud, laughing pool, the milky blue waters, yellow ponds, smoking holes and all kinds of stuff.

Te Puia is another thermal area and is where the Pohutu geyser is located. It’s a paid attraction and it’s not cheap. There are different passes, that give you access to different shows/food/attractions (see prices and plans here). We did the Te Rā + Haka, which gave us a day pass with access to the park, a 1 hour guided tour, and a cultural performance, and cost NZ$ 173 for the whole family in 2016. Jose also wrote a review.


sulphur point

Sulphur Point, smelly yet fantastic!


We loved it! It’s a big park, with great walks, geysers, smoking rocks, warm stone floor, bubbling mud pools, small colorful ponds, beautiful river and many native plants and māori sculptures. The cultural performance was beautiful, I loved it. I wish it was longer! Wait for a full review!

The last place we visited was the Redwood forest. Can you imagine a fairytale forest? This is it. Tall trees, little milky blue creek, the sunshine coming through the trees, birds, and sticks. Did I ever tell you how my 2 younger kids are obsessed with sticks? Well, there you go.

mount and lake tarawera

Mount and Lake Tarawera – it was a cloudy day…

It’s huge and amazing. I loved it! It’s full of different walks that range from 30 minutes to 8 hours. The 30-minute track is very easy, and gorgeous. It’s free unless you want to do the canopy walk. We didn’t.

I think there’s one down-point in all the Rotorua we saw: litter. There’s plastic, cans, and paper EVERYWHERE. Super sad.

redwood creek

Little blue creek at the Redwoods. It smelt horrible, even though it was pretty

And our video!

Have you been to Rotorua? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

PS: We have 2 NZ gift sets to give away this month! One is for the newsletter subscribers (do it here) and one is for who likes our page and share the giveaway post on Facebook! You can enter the draw for both of them, or just one. You can also live anywhere in the world. We’ll draw a winner on the 30th of August 2016, so go on now!


5 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] also was built as a hobbit hole and we had fun wandering around. We had a coffee and drove to Rotorua just to see if we could spot a geyser – which we […]

  2. […] had one night in Wellington before heading to Rotorua. We had some massive road works right in front of the house we’d be staying and it wasn’t the […]

  3. […] Rotorua – we spent a week in Rotorua in August 2016. It’s a sulphur smelling city, but pretty cool. We had lots of fun there, despite the smell. […]

  4. […] Puia is a geothermal valley in Rotorua. It’s pretty famous, as it homes the Pohutu geyser, the largest active geyser in the southern […]

  5. […] Buried Village is a museum in Rotorua, but it’s not a regular museum. It combines an inside and an outside […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.