Fly to Rotorua, where Maori culture and contemporary New Zealand meet in this gorgeous landscape in the nation’s North Island.
Rotorua Regional Airport (ROT)
Rotorua Regional Airport (ROT) services flights into Rotorua and to domestic locations within New Zealand’s two main islands. It is a neat little airport, with all the main facilities you need whilst transiting. Expect access to free WiFi throughout the airport, ATMs, a large café, and a comprehensive retail store, which offers reading materials, travel accessories and snacks.
Airlines to Rotorua
Currently Air New Zealand is the only major commercial carrier that flies into Rotorua. If you want to fly into ROT from outside New Zealand, you will likely change in a larger national transport hub, such as Auckland (AKL) or Christchurch (CHC).
Getting into Rotorua
Taxis service this airport and a journey into the city centre will only take about 10 minutes, but will cost about 30NZD ($28).
By public transport
Bay Bus runs a route (Route 10) from the airport to downtown Rotorua every 30 minutes, except on Sundays when it runs every hour. This is a convenient and inexpensive service costing only 2.50NZD ($2.30) and the journey only takes 20 minutes. Be warned though, this service only runs from 7:00am-6:00pm Monday-Saturday and 7:30am-4:30pm on Sundays.
There is also a shuttle service, which can take you door-to-door for 21NZD ($20) for one person or 26NZD ($24) for two.
There are several car hire companies that operate out of Rotorua Airport, and these are Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar. Though please keep in mind this is a fairly small town and demand can outweigh supply, so it is recommended you book in advance using our car hire search tool.
What can you do in Rotorua?
Rotorua has been a draw for travellers coming into New Zealand for years, and it is easy to see why. This town has a blend of natural and cultural attractions that would cause any tourist new to New Zealand’s shores to make a bypass for this town rich with history.
Rotorua is an excellent place to learn about Maori culture, here you can witness performances that include the stirring war dances (haka), eat Maori food, speak with locals and experience this native people’s famous hospitality.
Of the natural attractions, you cannot go wrong if you head for Wai-O-Tapu’s Thermal Wonderland first, where you can investigate geothermal pools and see the Lady Knox Geyser erupt a shooting spout of water to a height of up to 20 metres. There is also the Waimangu Volcanic Valley where you can hike along its hot springs, and see the most impressive geyser in the region, Pohutu. Rotorua has plenty of natural spaces to explore via hiking or biking too, such as Paradise Valley Spring and the Whakarewarewa Forest.
For history buffs, it’s worth starting in Rotorua Museum to get a good grip on the settlement and its past. In the museum you can learn more about Rotorua’s indigenous population, the Te Arawa, and see exhibitions displaying the art and artefacts of these people. You can also step into the fascinating site of Te Wairoa, destroyed in 1886 by an eruption of Mount Tarawera.
When should you go?
The best time to visit Rotorua is usually in the warmer months of November through to March when the weather is mostly sunny and temperate and around 20-24°C. If you still want to enjoy warm days but don’t fancy the crowds of summer, the shoulder seasons of April/May and September/October see the mercury hover in the high teens, and the crowds drop a little as the cold weather sets in. The winter season is mild, and sees lows of about 7°C.
What do you need to know?
Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Visa: Some nationalities do not need a visa to travel through New Zealand in the short term, but most will need to apply for a visa. Find out if you are eligible for a visa-on-arrival here, and how to apply for a visa in advance of your trip by checking the official government website for details.
Please note all information is current as of January 2016.
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