Five things to do in Rotorua on a budget

Rotorua is an absolute must if you are visiting the north island of New Zealand. It’s a 3 hour drive from Auckland and offers many natural things to see, as well as adventures to part-take in.

You can spend a stack of money and try to do it all, or you can be selective and do many things for free.

This is what we got up to but is in no means exhaustive.

  1. Visit the mud pools

On the way to Wai-O-Tea the thermogeographic springs are two sites that are free and definitely worth visiting. You can go into the tourist park for $32 per adult and walk around and see the colourful springs and geothermal marvels.

On the way to the tourist centre is a geyser (where Mother Nature lets of some steam in a long vertical “spit”). Called Lady Knox Geyser, this one sprays at 10.15am every day. But only once a day.

Another marvel is the mud pools on the way in. It’s barely a detour and worth getting out and witnessing mother earth as she let’s off some steam. The clay mud is used in beauty treatments and facial masks/moisturisers and of course for anti-ageing. You can purchase most of these at all the tourist shops but don’t be surprised to fork out a lot of dough in exchange for a dollop of mud!

  • Visit the Polynesian Spa

We arrive into town late from Auckland and are very happy to discover that the Polynesian Spa is open until 11pm.

With multiple hot tubs (more like pools) littered throughout the grounds and idealytically located on the rim of Lake Rotorua, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

The hot springs are straight from the earth subterran and are steaming hot and very smelly.

Bob around the various pools to find your temperature and don’t be spa rookies like us and find the “hottest” corner and nearly pass out from over heating.

You can take your own supplies in, so make the most of it.

There is another spa near Wai O Tea which is cheaper and apparently nicer according to a local, but I really like being able to sit on the rim of the lake.

  • Visit the Redwood Forest

A little out of town is the majestic Redwood Forest.

There’s a bit to do here and a great place to defrag from life.

You can catch a shuttle to the top and ride a mountain bike through one of it’s many trails, or you can walk along the forest floor without paying an admission fee.

If you would like to experience the trees at a higher height, you can purchase a pass along the sky walk, or after hours you can walk through the forest top to an illuminated light show. It is actually very pretty and worth the visit.

  • Visit the thermal springs in town

If you are after something a little closer to town, or don’t have wheels, check out the Kuirau Park right in town. It is a large park with many geo active ponds and steaming creeks to give you an idea of the uniqueness of the area.

On Saturday mornings there is a modest food market and is nice to stroll around.

  • Visit Kerosene Creek

Out side of town is Kerosene Creek. It is definitely worth the effort and will take about 20 minutes to get there from the centre of town.

A slippery path weaves along side the warm creek and offers many places for you to enter and bath in the warm waters of the creek. It is only  warm and can get quite busy but we venture all the way to the end of the trail and discover an absolute treat. A private part of the creek where there are no people and the creek bed is steamy hot. Relaxing in the waters in the middle of nature is truly amazing.

Unfortunately the down side is the human foot print – beware of broken glass and bottles that people have left behind and thieves working the car park!

There really are many things to do and the skyline is also a must. On the sky line hill there are activities such as mountain biking, luge,

A minimum 2 night stay if you are going to Rotorua.

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