Off the beaten track: Free Things to do in Rotorua this weekend!

Kaituna River

Discover your own secret spot and escape the crowds this weekend with these ideas for free things to do in Rotorua. There’s no doubt that there are plenty of wonderful things to do in Rotorua, but sometimes you just need a bit of rest, relaxation, and time to yourself to reconnect with nature. Here’s 6 free things to do in Rotorua that will give you some space to breathe:

Free things to do in Rotorua

Lake Okareka and the glow worm caves

While Rotorua is famous for its larger lakes, Lake Okareka offers a quieter and more secluded experience. Nestled amidst rolling hills and native forests, this pristine lake is perfect for a day of kayaking, fishing, or simply relaxing on the sandy shores. Take a refreshing dip in the clear waters or explore the scenic boardwalks that surround the lake. You can also take your adventure to the next level by paddle boarding through the glow worm caves situated on the lake.

Free things to do in Rotorua

Okere Falls Scenic Reserve

Just a quick drive from Rotorua, this reserve offers picturesque walks along the Kaituna River. Stroll beneath the tranquil native bush on a well-formed track and witness the thrilling spectacle of rafters tackling the majestic Tutea Falls.

Free things to do in Rotorua

Mt Ngongotaha Nature Loop

Embark on a scenic hike along the Mt Ngongotaha Nature Loop and immerse yourself in more of Rotorua’s stunning bush. This lesser-known trail offers an escape from the busyness of town and breathtaking views of Lake Rotorua and the surrounding countryside at the halfway point. At just a 10-minute drive from the Rotorua CBD, it’s definitely one to add to your ‘Things to Do in Rotorua’ list!

Free things to do in Rotorua

Whakarewarewa Forest

Explore beneath the magnificent Redwood trees and discover a network of walking and biking trails. While the carparks may seem busy, the crowds soon dissipate along the 300km of forest trails. The Whaka Forest offers a peaceful retreat away from the busy tourist spots and is great for all ages. Our favourite tracks include the Pohaturoa Track, a 2-hour walk that offers awesome views at the Whakarewarewa Lookout, and the Puarenga Trail for mountain biking, a grade 1 trail that follows the stunning Puarenga Stream.

At the end of the trails lies Secret Spot Hot Tubs, where you can enjoy a free Shinny Dip foot hot tub and live music from local musicians on Saturdays.

Free things to do in Rotorua

Ngongotaha Trout Hatchery

The Ngongotaha Trout Hatchery is a great place for a peaceful picnic away from the crowds. Situated in the beauty of Paradise Valley, take the family and feed the fish, check out their nursery and wander along the bush walk beside the stream.

Free things to do in Rotorua

Rainbow Mountain

For a unique experience that’s off the beaten track, head to Mt Kakaramea, or Rainbow Mountain. This mountain is a geothermal wonderland, showcasing vibrant colors and steaming vents. Take the moderate hike to the summit of the mountain, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding geothermal area and beyond.

This long weekend, step away from the well-trodden tourist trails and explore these free things to do in Rotorua. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a connection with nature, these worthwhile destinations offer some time out before you head back into our city’s amazing tourist attractions.


Free Things to Do in Rotorua Photo Credits: RotoruaNZ, Mark Smith Photography, Chur New Zealand, LakePedia, Stephen Julian

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