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Rotoiti Hot Pools Rotorua bath in a hot water creek

What to do on a girls weekend in Rotorua

So you are planning a girls weekend in Rotorua? I’ve been on all kinds of holidays in Rotorua – holidays as a kid, with my kids when they were little, with other families and romantic weekends away – but this was my first Rotorua Girls weekend.

And it wasn’t any girls weekend. There were three Mums – a toy shop owner (which if you are in the market for some amazing toys you should totally check out), a holiday planner extraordinaire and me – a game maker. And our 3 amazing 15 year old daughters (who you won’t see in a lot of the photos because, well, they’re teenagers so you’re stuck with us!).

Skyline Rotorua

The unwritten rules for our weekend away was that was everyone had to agree. That was easier said at the start with my teenager being quite nervous about the zip line (spoiler – not only did she conquer her fear but she went down the last zip line upside down!)

It’s also easier to be a bit lavish when you are only paying for two of you, rather than an entire family. Our holiday worked out at $500 per person, including our accomodation – which when you see the amazing things we got up to was pretty reasonable I reckon!

I’m going to take share our itinerary (some of it planned the week before, and some on the fly) and what we loved about each part. Times are at best “ish” but it gives you and idea of how much time everything took and just how much you can do in 48 hours in Rotorua…

Friday night

3.30pm – Pick up the kids and escape Auckland before the traffic builds up. Rotorua is an easy 3 hour drive from Auckland with out too many twists and turns. Would have been much quicker but I lost my phone which resulted in a side of the road search….

6pm – Stop at Matamata at the amazing Redoubt Bar. Great pub food and they ask everyone’s name when you sit down (cue signing the Cheers theme song – “sometimes you want to go where every body knows your name”…)

7.30pm – Quick race around our fabulous Airbnb and a baggsing of rooms (I got the one with the skylight)

Airbnb Rotorua

8pm – wander, awestruck, through the Redwoods Treewalk at night. More on that over here, but think somewhere between Peter Pan and The Far Away Tree and you are in the right place.

Tree Walk Rotorua night


8am – rise bright and early (much to the teenagers horror) to head out to the Rotorua Canopy Tour (not before stopping at La Bonne Poulette for what the girls have proclaimed the best Chocolate croissants ever). There are loads more words about the Canopy tour over here, but in a word – magic. I can not recommend it more highly.

Rotorua Canopy Tour

Midday – luging!! We’re heading off up the gondala’s – teenagers in one gondola, Mums in the other.

I’m the opposite of a speed freak so while the other 5 raced down the Intermediate track I went down the Scenic Track. I had a wonderful time. I even pulled my luge over to the side to take some pictures. My daughter was in absolutely hysterics when I came up the hill on the chair lift – empty chairs in front and behind me thanks to visiting 2 weeks prior to school holidays and Omicron – staring off in to space. For me, it was bliss.

Skyline Rotorua

2pm – The adults and one kid has 3 rides each – and the two speed demons had another 4. So while they zoomed up and down the hill, we checked out the wine tasting at Volcanic Hills. This is a hack James and I figured out years ago to have a bit of relaxation, some good chat and wine while the kids burn off some energy. And it was just as perfect as it’s always been (and I’d definitely recommend the Chardonnay and the Port).

Volcanic Hills Rotorua

3pm – Luging, Gondola’s and Zip Lining is a lot. Especially for teenagers that are not overly keen on heights. We’d spotted on our way up, and heard about from our community on Getting Lost, Bunny Mini Golf. This was the perfect tonic for our high adrenaline day so far. 18 holes, complete with real life super cute bunnies, with an awesome soundtrack featuring the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson. It definitely filled some cups.

Mini Golf with Bunnies Rotorua

4.30pm – back to the Redwood Tree Walk for our daytime experience. I love that it’s a totally different experience wether you go day or night and I’d definitely recommend doing the night time walk before the day walk.

Tree Walk Rotorua

And don’t forget to explore the forest around the Tree Walk too!

Redwood Forest

6pm – the Secret Spot. 12 hot tubs hidden in the woods with waiters bringing you drinks (sounds like bliss – it is!) After your soak there is a space to chill and relax with a cozy open fire. We’ve written more about this amazing spot here too.

Secret Spot Rotorua

7.30pm – suitably relaxed we head off to Eat Street to find somewhere to eat. Remember how I said before we were after a consensus. You wouldn’t think we’d get there that quickly with 6 of us but we landed on Leonardo’s pretty quickly and it was super yum!

Leonardos Rotorua


8am – Feeling like Rotorua has given us a lot already so I go for a walk through the Redwoods (solo) to hide Getting Lost Games for people to find today.

Redwood forest Getting Lost

9am – Head to Eastwood for an amazing breakfast (the Eggs Bene is great) in the Redwood Forest.

Eastwood Rotorua

10am – make our way around the lake to the very impressive looking (and must bring the husband back to for a weekend away) VR Lake Rotorua Resort to meet our boat. Yes our boat. We, and another couple, are off on a 3 hour excursion that will see us walking through hot water creeks and making our way to 8 hot pools accessible only by boat or float plane. It was such a highlight and you can read more about our adventure there over here.

Rotoiti Hot Pools Rotorua

And did I mention we found a bath tub in a hot water creek?

Rotoiti Hot Pools Rotorua bath in a hot water creek

2pm – arrive back at the lake. We had ideas of dong more but look at this list. We’re shattered! We manage to throw watching a little glass blowing before heading home.

5pm – I’m sitting in the very back seat of a 7 seater Volvo. Everyone’s voices are muffled from the front two rows. I’m gazing out the window of the rolling meadows and notice that the sky is a mix of pink, blue and green. It’s been a magical weekend but maybe not that magical. I take off my sunglasses (prescription, prisms and polarised) and the world through the tinted back seat window returns to normal. I take a picture through my sunglasses. And then I put them back on. A weekend this magical deserves to me magic just a little longer.

This was a planned adventure, but a lot of the time we just like to leave it all up to chance and get lost! If you are looking to leave it all up to chance and explore in a different way we recommend checking out our range of Getting Lost Games. They’re all made in New Zealand by me (Cat) and my husband James and they can be played anywhere in the world.

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