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New Zealand

Rotorua, Taupo & Tongariro National Park

Things to do

ALL ADVENTURE. NO EFFORT.

A holiday to Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro National Park will take you into New Zealand’s geothermal heartland. On the North Island, this fascinating trio is part of the volcanic zone that stretches 150 miles from Tongariro to Whakaari – or White Island – in the Bay of Plenty. As a result, Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro boast a whole range of natural wonders, from thermal springs and waterfalls, to geysers and volcanoes. And they’re conveniently close together, so it’s easy to visit all three during your holiday. Taupo is just an hour’s drive south of Rotorua and, if you continue another 40 miles southwest, you’ll reach Tongariro National Park.

This part of New Zealand is famous for its geothermal attractions, making it ideal for nature-lovers and outdoorsy travellers. On a holiday to Rotorua and Taupo, you can spend your mornings hiking past geysers and bubbling pools, your afternoons exploring Lake Taupo and Huka Falls, and your evenings soaking in bath-warm springs. Meanwhile, Tongariro National Park is all about dramatic scenery. Home to some of New Zealand’s best hikes, this UNESCO-protected area is crammed with sapphire-coloured lakes and soaring volcanoes. Don your walking boots and tackle the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or go canoeing in search of ancient caves and lava flows.

Alongside their natural attractions, Rotorua and Taupo are renowned for their preservation of Maori culture. Rotorua, in particular, is one of the best places in New Zealand to learn about Maori traditions. Make sure you visit the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, or take a tour of Rotorua’s living Maori village. And over in Taupo, the incredible Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings – only accessible by boat – are a must-see.

Ready for an adventure? Speak to our experts and start planning your holiday to Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro National Park.

Rotorua

Taupo

Tongariro

Best time to go

Things to do in Rotorua

Rotorua is a city like no other. It’s impossible to miss its geothermal wonders – they’re everywhere. Even as you stroll around the parks and streets, you’ll see bubbling mud pools and steam vents. And there are loads of things to do in Rotorua, allowing you to immerse yourself in this volcanic wonderland.

You can see dozens of boiling pools and mud ponds at Kuirau Park, just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Or drive 20 minutes out of town to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, where a series of walking trails meander past hot pools and geysers. And, of course, no holiday to Rotorua would be complete without a spa visit. Spend a leisurely afternoon at Polynesian Spa, or visit Hell’s Gate to relax at New Zealand’s only mud spa complex.

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Rotorua is also a fantastic place to learn about Maori culture. The city has a living Maori village, where you can take a cultural tour to find out more about the indigenous people who have lived in Rotorua for generations. Watch a welcoming ceremony, join in with a haka, and feast on a traditional hangi meal, cooked by the steam emitting from the ground.

If you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping activities, Rotorua’s got that covered, too. You can go mountain biking in Whakarewarewa Forest, try white-water rafting on Kaituna River, or have fun luging at Skyline Rotorua.

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Show Less

Things to do in Taupo

Built on the northeast curve of Lake Taupo, this scenic town offers all kinds of outdoor activities. You can get involved with a variety of watersports on the lake, like water-skiing, windsurfing and paddle-boarding. Or why not soar above the water on a parasail for beautiful views? Make sure you also visit the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. Accessible only by boat or kayak, this incredible piece of Maori artwork is carved into the cliffs 14 metres above the surface of the lake.

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Show Less

Huka Falls is another must-see on your trip to Taupo. Thundering turquoise waters rush through a volcanic canyon just 15 metres wide, flowing so quickly that it would fill an Olympic pool in just 11 seconds. You can admire the falls from the footpaths either side of Waikato River or, if you’d rather explore on two wheels, cycle along one of the biking trails. Alternatively, hop in a jet boat and sail right up to the base of the roaring falls and feel the spray on your face.

Fancy some downtime? Like Rotoura, Taupo also has a lot of geothermal springs. You can unwind in mineral-rich pools at one of the town’s spas or – if you’d prefer an au naturel experience – head to Otumuheke Stream. Made by Mother Nature, this shallow bathing spot is perfect for a relaxing dip.

Show More
Show Less

Tongariro National Park

New Zealand’s first ever national park, Tongariro is renowned for its volcanic scenery and spiritual significance within Maori culture. The other-worldly landscape features three active volcanoes, soaring peaks and impossibly-blue lakes, while the park’s trio of villages – Eura, Raurimu and Whakapapa – offers cosy hotels and laidback restaurants.

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Show Less

The most famous attraction in this UNESCO-protected park is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Considered to be the best one-day hike in New Zealand, this stunning 11-mile route weaves up the mountains to a 1,800-metre summit – but you’ll feel like you’re on another planet. Starting in misty Mangatepopo Valley, you’ll pass lava flows and babbling springs, before continuing uphill to the sulphur-scented Red Crater. You’ll also be able to see Mount Ngauruhoe in the distance, which starred as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings movies. Finally, you’ll reach the highlight of the Tongariro Crossing – the Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake, whose colours are so vibrant they look Photoshopped. The hike takes between five and eight hours, and is quite steep in places, so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness.

But if hiking’s not your thing, there are lots of other things to do in Tongariro National Park. You can admire Taranaki Falls, canoe down Whanganui River or go white-water rafting along Tongariro River. Plus, if you visit in winter, the snowy mountains are ideal for skiing and snowboarding.

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Show Less

Best time to go

If you’re planning to spend your holiday exploring the great outdoors, it’s best to visit Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro in summer, which runs from December to February. Rotorua is warm and sunny at this time of year, with an average temperature of 26°C. Taupo’s slightly cooler, but the mercury still hovers in the high teens. Don’t be surprised if you see some showers, though, as Taupo is notoriously wet. Tongariro National Park is also warm at this time of year, although it will feel cooler in the mountains. There’s only one catch – the lovely summer season is, naturally, the most popular, so walking trails and attractions like Haka Falls can get very busy.

Show More
Show Less

If you want to beat the crowds, consider going on holiday between March and May or September and November – autumn and spring, respectively. In both Taupo and Rotorua, temperatures remain in the mid-to-high teens at this time of year. Just bear in mind that, if you’re keen to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the trail is more likely to be open between November and April.

You should avoid visiting Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro between June and September. These winter months are often very wet and temperatures rarely reach double figures.

Show More
Show Less

Rotorua

Things to do in Rotorua

Rotorua is a city like no other. It’s impossible to miss its geothermal wonders – they’re everywhere. Even as you stroll around the parks and streets, you’ll see bubbling mud pools and steam vents. And there are loads of things to do in Rotorua, allowing you to immerse yourself in this volcanic wonderland.

You can see dozens of boiling pools and mud ponds at Kuirau Park, just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Or drive 20 minutes out of town to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, where a series of walking trails meander past hot pools and geysers. And, of course, no holiday to Rotorua would be complete without a spa visit. Spend a leisurely afternoon at Polynesian Spa, or visit Hell’s Gate to relax at New Zealand’s only mud spa complex.

Show More
Show Less

Rotorua is also a fantastic place to learn about Maori culture. The city has a living Maori village, where you can take a cultural tour to find out more about the indigenous people who have lived in Rotorua for generations. Watch a welcoming ceremony, join in with a haka, and feast on a traditional hangi meal, cooked by the steam emitting from the ground.

If you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping activities, Rotorua’s got that covered, too. You can go mountain biking in Whakarewarewa Forest, try white-water rafting on Kaituna River, or have fun luging at Skyline Rotorua.

Show More
Show Less

Taupo

Things to do in Taupo

Built on the northeast curve of Lake Taupo, this scenic town offers all kinds of outdoor activities. You can get involved with a variety of watersports on the lake, like water-skiing, windsurfing and paddle-boarding. Or why not soar above the water on a parasail for beautiful views? Make sure you also visit the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. Accessible only by boat or kayak, this incredible piece of Maori artwork is carved into the cliffs 14 metres above the surface of the lake.

Show More
Show Less

Huka Falls is another must-see on your trip to Taupo. Thundering turquoise waters rush through a volcanic canyon just 15 metres wide, flowing so quickly that it would fill an Olympic pool in just 11 seconds. You can admire the falls from the footpaths either side of Waikato River or, if you’d rather explore on two wheels, cycle along one of the biking trails. Alternatively, hop in a jet boat and sail right up to the base of the roaring falls and feel the spray on your face.

Fancy some downtime? Like Rotoura, Taupo also has a lot of geothermal springs. You can unwind in mineral-rich pools at one of the town’s spas or – if you’d prefer an au naturel experience – head to Otumuheke Stream. Made by Mother Nature, this shallow bathing spot is perfect for a relaxing dip.

Show More
Show Less

Tongariro

Tongariro National Park

New Zealand’s first ever national park, Tongariro is renowned for its volcanic scenery and spiritual significance within Maori culture. The other-worldly landscape features three active volcanoes, soaring peaks and impossibly-blue lakes, while the park’s trio of villages – Eura, Raurimu and Whakapapa – offers cosy hotels and laidback restaurants.

Show More
Show Less

The most famous attraction in this UNESCO-protected park is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Considered to be the best one-day hike in New Zealand, this stunning 11-mile route weaves up the mountains to a 1,800-metre summit – but you’ll feel like you’re on another planet. Starting in misty Mangatepopo Valley, you’ll pass lava flows and babbling springs, before continuing uphill to the sulphur-scented Red Crater. You’ll also be able to see Mount Ngauruhoe in the distance, which starred as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings movies. Finally, you’ll reach the highlight of the Tongariro Crossing – the Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake, whose colours are so vibrant they look Photoshopped. The hike takes between five and eight hours, and is quite steep in places, so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness.

But if hiking’s not your thing, there are lots of other things to do in Tongariro National Park. You can admire Taranaki Falls, canoe down Whanganui River or go white-water rafting along Tongariro River. Plus, if you visit in winter, the snowy mountains are ideal for skiing and snowboarding.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to go

If you’re planning to spend your holiday exploring the great outdoors, it’s best to visit Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro in summer, which runs from December to February. Rotorua is warm and sunny at this time of year, with an average temperature of 26°C. Taupo’s slightly cooler, but the mercury still hovers in the high teens. Don’t be surprised if you see some showers, though, as Taupo is notoriously wet. Tongariro National Park is also warm at this time of year, although it will feel cooler in the mountains. There’s only one catch – the lovely summer season is, naturally, the most popular, so walking trails and attractions like Haka Falls can get very busy.

Show More
Show Less

If you want to beat the crowds, consider going on holiday between March and May or September and November – autumn and spring, respectively. In both Taupo and Rotorua, temperatures remain in the mid-to-high teens at this time of year. Just bear in mind that, if you’re keen to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the trail is more likely to be open between November and April.

You should avoid visiting Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro between June and September. These winter months are often very wet and temperatures rarely reach double figures.

Show More
Show Less

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Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

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