Fifteen things to do in Rotorua before and after running Tarawera

We don’t call it the Adventure Capital of the World for nothing. Rotorua has so much to see and do that your only problem will be finding the time to fit it all in.

Athletes coming to Rotorua to race Tarawera spend a good few days in town before and after the race. Here are a few unforgettable ways to spend your time in our lovely town:

Te Puia

If you are coming to the powhiri on Friday for athletes, crew and supporters you will be visiting this wonderful place. Te Puia is a a geothermal park and home to Te Arawa the local tribe. Explore Maori culture and woodcarving with warm and knowledgeable guides and marvel at the geysers and mudpools of this special place.

Polynesian Spa

A Rotorua institution and a must for those aching limbs on Sunday or Monday. Various pool temperatures and being outdoors you get to gaze on the lake as you soothe your much abused limbs.


Just outside Rotorua lies a splendid geothermal park that is home to some of New Zealand’s most well known and iconic natural wonders, including the iconic Champagne pools. A must see if this is your first time in Rotorua.


There is nothing like jumping in a large ball like a hamster and throwing yourself downhill right? Come to the place where this all began just outside of Rotorua. Wet and dry options so forgetting your swimwear is no excuse (sorry).

Skyline – Luge, zipline & Gondola

Great fun for everyone – get the gondola up to the top and you have multiple tracks to luge down the hill. The zipline is very cool as you head down through trees at pace. There are also some excellent mountain biking trails down the hill, if you’re a fan of two-wheel adventures.


Need to get a taste of Kiwi farm culture then Agrodome is for you. With loads of livestock and an impressive sheep show (honest!), the Agrodome is well worth a quick visit.

Eat Street

Home to our beer sponsor, local craft brewery Croucher, Eat Street is the epicentre of the Rotorua dining scene. That’s your pre and post race hydration sorted (you can thank us for this tip later… with a beer).

Buried Village

The buried village at Te Wairoa is an astonishing archaeological site – come and learn about the eruption of Mt Tarawera and how the incredible Pink and White terraces were obliterated.

Redwoods Treewalk

A relatively recent addition to the lovely Redwoods, you can now walk among the treetops by day or night. Great way to get a new perspective on what you run through!

Paradise Valley Springs

An extensive wildlife park just outside Rotorua that is fun for the whole family. Paradise Valley has tons to see from the local wildlife to some pretty gnarly lions which aren’t native to NZ – you think we’d run through the night if they were?

Waimangu Thermal Valley

A little way outside of Rotorua this is an amazing little known geothermal valley that is worth an explore if you have the time.

Multi Day Experiences NZ

Want someone to do the hard work for you? MDA Experiences are based in the centre of town and will work with you solo or as a group to craft a great holiday experience just for you. If you’re short on time (because you spent most of it running our sweet, sweet trails), these guys are worth getting in touch with so you can make sure you squeeze in some sightseeing.

Scion Dog Park

Here’s a little locals tip: just over the road opposite the Redwoods, there’s an extensive area to explore with your canine friend. Get a post or pre race run and more sticks to throw for Fido than you can shake a stick at!

Sequoia Cafe

If you want to support a business run by trail runners (and of course you do), you must head to Sequoia cafe. Conveniently located right near the Redwoods on Tarawera Road, it’s a great place to grab some tasty food and share trail tales.

Other than these year-round activities, Rotorua is also home to a few other epic events (let’s not forget our epic Tarawera Marathon and 50K in November). Make sure you add these two to your bucket list as well:


Crankworx is the ultimate celebration of world-class mountain biking, with nine full days of two-wheeled action turning Rotorua into adrenaline central in March.

Mudtopia Festival

Muddy madness, music and mayhem – what else do you need?

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