A Few Days in Rotorua, New Zealand


I landed in Rotorua after bagging a job in a backpackers hostel while backpacking around the north island in New Zealand. I ended up living there for a few months so I got see a lot of Rotorua while there. Today I am going to highlight the best bits for anyone spending a few days in Rotorua.

I had been living in the beautiful Coromandel peninsula for a few months prior to arriving in Rotorua, but work had dried up as it was coming into Autumn and thing were quitening down there. I was sad to say goodbye to Coromandel and its beautiful beaches but Rotorua was on my list of must-see places so I was really excited to be heading there.

I packed my bags and headed off to Rotorua to start my new job at the backpackers where I would be working as a receptionist. I had managed to find the job on backpackers board and funnily enough, it was a Irish themed hostel so I probably had a better chance of getting the job (being Irish and that). I had not seen an Irish hostel throughout my travels in New Zealand, or anywhere for that matter, before. I was keen to check it out.

The hostel was called Blarney’s Rock, after the famous Irish landmark the Blarney Stone, where legend has it, if you kiss the stone, you will be given the ‘gift of the gab’ and forever be a storyteller! It was painted with murals throughout, depicting Irish things such as Guinness, the harp and Celtic designs which was so cool, it felt like home immediately. The people who worked there were Irish too so that was fun. I was given a proper Irish welcome and made feel at home right away. It was a really homely atmosphere in general, the hostel was more like a house. All the dorms had the four Provences, Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught which was clever and written in Irish calligraphy style, like in an Irish pub. It was really clean, comfy and airy.

The great thing was, it was right in the centre of the Main Street Rotorua, Tutanekai Street so every day it was easy to run out for a coffee, go for a walk in the park nearby, go to get food, everything on the doorstep. Plenty of bars nearby for a night out and easy to get home. I was told there would be work for me at a local bar too, so that was a handy number. I got a job at The Shed bar, a great sports bar with a massive range of yummy food and lots of beer on tap. There is also a great Irish bar called Hennessy’s where the Ireland rugby team have frequented. It is a great place to enjoy live music and the craic! They have a brilliant menu with Irish classics such as stew so needless to say I went there a lot.

Another cool bar is The Pheasant Plucker where they have live music and it is good fun with a great atmosphere. There are a few night clubs in the area too. It was an amazing place to live for the few months I was there, so much to see and do. Do not be put off by the small of the sulphur. I was warned that that air smells like rotton eggs but it is not that bad. When it first hits you it is quite odd but you adapt really quickly and don’t even notice it after a while. One thing I do recommend though, is to hide away your silver jewelry as the sulphur in the air can turn it brown or black, which happened to me but I was able to use a silver polish and brought them back to their former glory so if you forget, it’ll be fixable.

Here are the best things to do for a few days in Rotorua –

  1. Waimangu Valley. The sulphur lakes are a sight to behold. I have never seen anything like this before!

Waimangu valley sulphur lakes        sulphur lakes Rotorua nz

sulphur steam rising

                                                                sulphur smoking lake aqua color Rotorua

                                                               maori statue carved wood sulphur smoke rising

Definitely worth going to see and I would make this a priority if you have time. It is a great walk but not too strenuous and there are sign posts all along telling you about the history and how they were formed. Well worth the visit and a truly unique natural attraction.

2. Tamaki Village. When in Rotorua, it is a good idea to see some of the culture by going to a Maori village experience. If you want to try real traditional New Zealand food, you will get to taste the incredible feast of the Hangi. Smoked underneath the ground, the meat and vegetables have a really smokey and unforgettable taste. This brings barbecue to a whole other level. NZ must-try for sure!

tamaki village maori experience  maori village rotorua nz maori women

old Maori settlement exhibition maori carving statue maori reinactment

wooden maori totem pole

traditional Maori dance at Tamaki  women maori dancers with sticks

3. Hell’s Gate. Rotorua mud is known for its healing properties and what better way then to have a mud bath! Hell’s Gate is the perfect place to do so and what an amazing sight to see. I recommend this to anyone looking for a really unique and memorable experience.

Hells Gate Rotorua entrance Hells gate mud pools and mural

hells gate Rotorua mud pools hells gate mud pool sulphur rising from mud at hells gatesmoking mud at hells gate Rotorua 

4. Skyline and Luge. A wonderful way to see the sights from above and have fun driving a mini cart around! A must-do thing while in NZ is definitely the Luge. They have one in Queenstown too, in case you miss it. It is a great day out for the family too. Kids absolutely love it as well as the adults so a great way to spend an afternoon.

5. Zorbing. I have to admit, I chickened out of this but I wish I hadn’t! I went to visit the park as all the activities were free when working at the hostel. Perks of working in a backpacker hostel while traveling. If I go again I will definitely give it a try. Agroventures is a fun family day out.

6. The Polynesian Spa. Natural hot springs with beautiful views in an outdoor setting. 28 hot mineral pools with massage and wellness rituals such as reflexology and hydrotherapy. A fabulous place to relax and enjoy the beauty of Rotorua in peace.

7. The Night Market. This is a fantastic night market and a must-see and experience attraction in Rotorua, every Thursday night from 5pm – 9pm. Yummy food, entertainment and music and right on the Main Street outside Blarney’s Rock backpackers. Bring cash as some stalls only accept it.

8. Hobbiton is not far and that is usually on peoples list of things to see while in New Zealand so you will probably be in the area when traveling around New Zealand. I loved living in Rotorua as there was always things to do, you will be spoilt for choice.

Those are my highlights that I enjoyed the most while living in Rotorua. There are so many activities, there are loads more things to see and do, especially for adrenaline junkies. Anyway, those are in my opinion the best things to do if you have a few days in Rotorua. It is a rich cultural place and predominantly Maori so I think you need to visit here when traveling New Zealand as it is full of culture and there is nowhere like it. It is an unforgettable experience in New Zealand.

Kia Ora!

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  1. Tina
    February 1, 2018 at 3:14 am

    What a beautiful place! Sounds like an amazing time!

    • blognewser
      February 3, 2018 at 12:22 am

      It is a really amazing experience, truly unique!

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