Having been to Rotorua many times as a kid I knew Rotorua relatively well, but it is only this year that I can say that I have officially fallen in love with Rotorua. My crush started when James and I went down for a grown up’s weekend without the kids and discovered a whole new side to the city.
We wrote about it over here and you’ll see that Rotorua is a very different experience with and without kids. That’s the great thing about Rotorua though – it really does have something for everyone and every budget.
So our advice if you are travelling to Rotorua with kids…
Rotorua has so much to do so it can be tempting to try and pack it all in to a couple of days! Our advice – don’t try to do too much in a day. Take your time and eek out every last bit of fun in every place you visit and you will be surprised at how much further your money goes. Remember you can always come back and do more on your next trip.
Our favourites are..
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking – expensive and just for kids. No and no! We bet you didn’t know that there is wine tasting at the top of the hill or that you could spend a whole day there! More about our visit (including that wine tasting) over here…
Paradise Valley Springs
A perfect activity even on rainy days in Rotorua, this tranquil little spot has something for the whole family with lions, loads of animals for kids to feed (not the lions), a spring you can drink from and a treetop walk. More details about our visit over here…
Keeping costs down
Pack a lunch, bring the chilly bin and get making those sandwiches. Venues around Rotorua are great for letting you bring a packed lunch and there are so many amazing places to stop and have a picnic. It really keeps costs down.
There’s also a lot to do in Rotorua that doesn’t cost a lot of money! We’ve even made a list of all the free things you can do over here.
Where to stay
It’s well worth investing in a great place to stay. Our key criteria – pools and space.
With kids half of what they want to do is swim. If you add the cost of your hotel into your entertainment budget it goes a lot further.
A number of places to stay in Rotorua have separate areas (with two TV’s even) for the kids which makes travelling much more enjoyable.
We stayed at Wiley Court this time which you can read about over here. Well priced with big rooms and separate spaces and an amazing pool it’s a great family option.
Our first holiday as a blended family was camping in Rotorua. We stayed at All Seasons in Rotorua. It’s an amazing holiday park with dinosaurs dotted around the camp (if you have a Dinosaur mad kid this is absolutely the place to go!) It also has a sensational heated pool which is all seasons due to a very innovative cover.
Another favourite of mine is Regent of Rotorua. I’ve stayed here in the past and loved everything about their stylish interior and close proximity to town but unfortunately I always book everything late and they’re just so popular that we’ve missed crossing paths for the last little while.
Where to stop on the way
Now of course it depends on which direction you are coming from, but if you are heading through Matamata we recommend stopping in at the Redoubt Bar and Eatery. They have great food that the kids and grown ups will love at brilliant prices, a sensational mulled wine and just about the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across.
Oh and while we are talking about this amazing part of the country (I know I say this all the time but Matamata is a favourite spot of mine). How’s this for an amazing scene as the fog blankets the countryside as it so often does in winter over the plains…
Make a note of all the things you’re coming back to see without the kids!
There’s nothing quite so disheartening as handing over money only to have the kids hate every moment of it. Our weekend in Rotorua without the kids was completely different to our weekend with the kids. So save them up, book in the babysitter and come back again…