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Best Day Trips from Rotorua
Rotorua is situated in an enviable part of New Zealand. Close to some big cities and central enough to reach both the east and west coasts without too much trouble, the options for day trips from Rotorua will satisfy singles, couples, groups and families. Whether you have a whole day to kill or just a few hours to fill in, complete your Rotorua holiday by setting off on a quick New Zealand road trip! Here are our top five day trips from Rotorua, in no particular order.
Mount Maunganui – or “The Mount" as it is affectionately known – is a little coastal paradise just an hour’s drive from Rotorua. The popular beach town offers white sand, great surf and plenty of buzzing bars and restaurants just a stone’s throw away from the beach. No trip to Mount Maunganui is complete without conquering the iconic summit walk. It’ll take you around 45 minutes to reach the top but, once there, you’ll be rewarded with epic 360-degree views across the Bay of Plenty region.
What sort of list would this be if Taupo didn’t rate a mention? Situated only an hour south of Rotorua, Taupo offers activities galore! Check out the Huka Falls (by jet boat if you’re game!) or for a more relaxed boating experience, sail across Lake Taupo to see the incredible M?ori rock carvings that are only accessible by water. Book a scenic helicopter flight over Taupo's best sights, take a dip in the hot pools or for something totally different, take the family fishing for prawns at New Zealand’s only prawn park.
Whether or not you’ve seen and enjoyed the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies, a tour of the Hobbiton movie set has fast become one of those quintessential kiwi experiences that everyone must have at least once! Only 50 minutes from Rotorua, you can choose to drive yourself or book a tour package that includes return transport. The tour of the 12-acre set showcases the most photo-worthy scenes from the films—and did we mention you get a free beverage?
What family holiday is complete without a trip to the zoo? Hamilton Zoo is New Zealand’s largest, with over 600 resident animals including giraffes, tigers and of course the lovable meerkat. Daily encounters let you meet some of the wild animals up close, and regular zookeeper talks offer fun facts and insights into the animals’ little-known quirks. A fun and educational family day out – and only a three hour round trip from Rotorua!
Slightly further afield than our other day trip suggestions, but Raglan, on New Zealand’s west coast, is still well worth a look. Often touted as New Zealand’s answer to Byron Bay, the vibrant beachside town sits alongside a rugged, black-sand beach renowned for its surfing. Take a surfing lesson or an ocean dip on a nice day, or simply stroll through the colorful township and its unique shops and galleries. Nature lovers can take a leisurely walk through the lush native bush to the top of the bridal veil falls, just a 15-minute drive from Raglan.