Planning a Family Trip to Rotorua


Rotorua is one of the most beautiful, thrilling and unique places in New Zealand, providing a family holiday haven. Families who visit Rotorua will discover that the region is not only incredibly safe and relaxed, but also boasts so many staggering natural wonders, stunning scenic beauty, countless action and adventure activities and a rich culture.

Whether you’re looking for a child friendly place away from home for a weekend or a good destination for a month-long family holiday, you can’t go wrong with Rotorua. It definitely makes the perfect destination for your next family holiday. This simple guide will provide an introduction for families who are looking to visit Rotorua and will list a few tips for planning a trip to the area.

When To Go

Rotorua is a gorgeous place that can be visited any time throughout the year. The weather is always pleasant and you can go sightseeing and enjoy the various activities available at almost any time of the year. So the best time to spend a fulfilling family holiday in this area of New Zealand will depend mostly on you.

Nonetheless, certain seasons provide optimal conditions for specific activities. Summer (December, January, February) is the peak tourist season and offers the perfect time for outdoor adventure activities, scenic drives, day walks, visiting wineries, hikes, etc.

If you want to avoid crowds, then you may want to consider a family break in winter (June, July, August). Winter in Rotorua is mild and can be a great time to enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing without the heat. Snow conditions in ski fields within reach of Rotorua are usually at their best during winter months and this is something you might want to consider. Also, if you want to avoid crowds, don’t go during those periods of time when New Zealanders are on holiday – particularly during the school holidays.

Spring (September, October, November) can also be a great time to go sightseeing and hikes since it’s during this time that trees get to bloom and brighten up the landscape. But if you want to view and photograph the fall foliage, Autumn (March, April, May) is the ideal time to do so.

Getting There

Rotorua, nestled on the edge of a sparkling lake of the same name, is ideally located for those considering a fun family break. It is conveniently located between Tauranga, Whakatane and L. Taupo. Most tourists arrive here from Auckland, which is approximately 228 km (142 miles) from Auckland, or about 2 hours, 30 minutes by road.

If you plan to arrive at this destination by air, then you’ll be pleased to know that it has a modest international airport that is connected with major NZ cities – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown by Air New Zealand. Direct flights to Rotorua are also available from Sydney, Australia. The airport is located 9km from the city centre.

If you’re looking to reach Rotorua, you can take advantage of the cheap intercity public bus services available between North Island and Rotorua. The state highway 5 provides the main passageway to Rotorua from Wellington, while the state highway 1 connects Rotorua to Hamilton and Auckland. You can hire any of the cabs passing cabs passing through the state highway 5 to Wellington.

Rotorua is just two-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland. When it comes to travelling by train, Rotorua is serviced by only one in-service line – the Rotorua Branch Line – which connects the city to Putaruru.


Getting Around

Buses: Rotorua bus services are cheap, frequent and convenient. They include: the Cityride Rotorua, City Sights Bus and Cityride Rotorua bus network. The Cityride operates 3 routes which stop at various tourist attractions, including Rotorua Airport, Te Puia, Agrodome, and Skyline.

The City Sights is a hop-on, hop-off bus tour service that runs 4 times a day, and offers 48-hour travel passes to tourists. It departs from Fenton Street and stops at thirteen major tourist attractions. The Cityride bus service offers ticketholders unlimited travel anywhere on its network for 24 hours. You get to buy the ticket while onboard.

Cabs: About 3-4 taxi companies offer their services across the city. You can easily find one in any of the main tourist areas, including Fenton Street. Alternatively, you could rent a car to explore the town and surrounding areas.

Bike hire: Another great way to get around in Rotorua is cycling. The city is pretty safe for cyclists, thanks to wide bike passages and bike tracks; and you can easily rent a bike to explore and sample the ethereal beauty of the region’s wonders.

Walking: The city is quite safe and you can explore various attractions on foot. You don’t have to worry about the weather or temperatures as they are usually mild; and the friendly and welcoming New Zealanders are always eager to assist if you ever need help with anything.

Staying Safe

Although Rotorua is generally a very safe destination, it’s recommended to exercise the same care that you normally would in any destination. Firstly, it is important to always take care of your belongings, health, and cash. Don’t leave cars unlocked and valuables clearly visible when exploring the city. If possible, leave your car in a well-populated area and cover your luggage with a blanket or towel.

Don’t go to the parks or hitchhiking at night, and try to stay away from any fights that may break out in entertainment spots or other areas. Remember to apply sunscreen on all your exposed areas of the skin when out and about; and seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one gets sick or injured.

Accommodation Rotorua Options

Rotorua offers a wonderful choice of accommodation to suit all budgets and needs. The affordable accommodation Rotorua options include hotels and resorts, motels, lodges, holiday homes, apartments, B&B/homestays, holiday parks and camping sites, and backpacker-style lodges or hostels.

Hotels and resorts: There are a range of hotels and resorts in Rotorua, including luxury options for those looking for something even more special. Most of them are only a short walking distance from the city centre.

Cheap motels in Rotorua: A motel Rotorua accommodation unit is usually self-contained and will come with cooking facilities, a bathroom, and one or several bedrooms. Some establishments have a restaurant located within the premises. Don’t assume that cheap motels in Rotorua are the same as those you find in, say, rural USA.

There has been a major improvement in the standards of motel establishments across the industry, and many facilities are actually superior to some hotels. These motel Rotorua accommodation options have very reasonable rates and are suitable for families, business travellers or couples.

B&B/Homestays: Homestay and bed-and-breakfast accommodation options offer rates that include bed and breakfast, and allow you to experience more interaction with New Zealanders. Many are located within easy reach of major visitor attractions, but their quality and prices can vary greatly.

Lodges: Rotorua has a variety of comfy lodges that are designed to provide luxury accommodation for families, couples and individual travellers. These accommodation options are typically smaller than B&Bs and are highly individual, offering the best of everything including fine dining, stunning swimming spots and beautiful scenic views. If you wish to have more privacy during your family trip, then these lodges can be a great option.

Apartments: A number of apartment accommodation Rotorua options are available in the city. These serviced apartments feature a selection of facilities and amenities to suit your needs. They cater for both short-term and long-term stays.

Holiday homes: Holiday homes can be found in the city, countryside or lakeside and you can easily locate one that suits your needs. These homes are rented by night or for longer periods when their owners aren’t using them. They can be a good value for families and independent travellers.

Campgrounds and holiday parks: Rotorua is a motorhome-friendly city and has a free daytime parking area. While camping is not permitted on most recreation reserves or parks, there are many private holiday parks and specified overnight campgrounds ideal for family accommodation.

These properties offer a range of facilities, including communal showers, toilets, laundries and kitchens as well as a variety of accommodation Rotorua options from cabins to backpacker-style lodges. They can make an ideal base if you’re travelling by motorhome.


Family Activities And Attractions: Things To Do And See In Rotorua

Looking for things to see and do in Rotorua with the kids? The city is a cultural, adventure and volcanic wonderland and possibly the most unique place you’ll ever visit. It is actually part of a geothermal field – the Taupo Volcanic Zone, and as you explore the streets and take on hiking trails you can literally see the ground steaming and water bubbling from it due to volcanic activity.

There is so many attractions and so much to do: thermal springs, geysers, volcanic craters, mud pools, spa and wellness, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, adventure, museum and galleries, Maori culture, outdoor sports, scenic flights, tours, family fun and the list goes on and on and on …

Here are some special activities to include in your itinerary:

– Visit the Maori village of Tamaki and indulge in a traditional feast and take part in the performance of the Haka.
– Take a tour of the Kuirau Park and let your family see and experience the steaming craters and bubbling mud pools.
– Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, which is located a short drive from the city by a small town called Matamata, and let the kids Hobbit their way around the Hobbit Holes, The Mill, The Dragon Inn and the double arched bridge – great photo/selfie opportunities!
– Visit the Ohinemutu village and marvel at the Maori carvings at the historic church and other arts.
– Go hiking and mountain biking at Rainbow Mountain and enjoy the 360 degree views of the area.
– Take the family to Rotorua Museum to discover the fascinating history of the land and Maori people.
– Take a tour of Wai – O – Tapu and enjoy the geothermal wonders of this amazing park
– Visit the Agroventures Park and get you and your family’s adrenaline pumping with fun activities like swooping, jet boating, Bungy, Schweeb, and Extreme Freefall.
– Take your family to The Zorb Park and have fun together while Zorbing.
– Book the Skyline Skyrides Luge Ride and let your family enjoy the exhilarating gondola and luge ride from the top of Mt. Ngongotaha.
– Visit Whakarewarewa Thermal village and let your family see for themselves the famous geysers, boiling water streams, mud pools and breathtaking landscapes.
– Enjoy a breath of fresh air at one of Rotorua’s parks and find the perfect place for a family picnic.
– Take a trip to the Blue Lake along the Tarawera Road and take a swim with your family in the crystal clear waters.
– Enjoy beautiful mineral spas and mud wraps at any of the great spas in the area as you wind down after a busy day.


Tips On Shopping

With gift and souvenir shops abound in Rotorua, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding take-home souvenirs. What’s more, most major attractions and art galleries also have their own souvenir shops. Some of the best places to shop for authentic Maori crafts and arts include Tamaki Maori Village and Te Puia, located at Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. Be sure to pick the Rotorua Arts Trail to get contact details of the city’s best craftspeople, jewellers and artists.

Staying Connected

If you have your own laptop, tablet or smartphone, most hotels, resorts, motels, B&Bs, airports, cafes and retail centres offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or may charge a small fee for usage, allowing you to stay connected. If you don’t have your own computer, you can access the internet through cyber cafes, libraries or i-SITE visitor centres in the city.

Boulevard Motel & Restaurant: Cheap Accommodation Rotorua

Looking for quality accommodation in one of the cheap motels in Rotorua?

Boulevard Motel & Restaurant provides clean, affordable, comfortable accommodation Rotorua options for individuals, couples, families and larger groups. Locally owned and operated, we provide a welcoming atmosphere and like our guests to feel at home.

Our motel is conveniently located close to the town centre, cafes and supermarkets, and is just a short drive to many of the major visitor attractions and activities, providing a perfect base to explore the region.

If you’re looking for exceptional motel Rotorua accommodation, book a room at

Our range of accommodation includes: one-bedroom studios and one, two, and three bedroom family apartments, and self-contained houses. These accommodation Rotorua options feature: comfy beds (either a queen bed or a queen and a single bed), seating areas, Sky Television, kettles and toasters, full kitchens and separate lounge (for family apartments and self-contained house), free wifi, thermally heated swimming pool, plenty of off-street parking, spacious grounds, and a licensed, on-site restaurant.

For more information, please call us at 07 348 2074.

Contact our friendly team at Boulevard Motel & Restaurant  to make a booking!