10 FABULOUS FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROTORUA Enter email for instant access
Google Driving Directions
Google Driving Directions - Would you believe that it was only in 2011 that 'Rotorua' was added to highway destination signs. Go figure. It's only THE premier tourist destination in New Zealand, well, in the North Island anyway.
For example, visitors coming to Rotorua from Auckland have had a lot
of trouble over the years with no clear directions on how to get here.
With that minor addition it's certainly going to be a lot easier now, that's for sure.
RTS TIP - Up until 2019 you can expect to run into major roadworks happening on SH1 between Auckland and Cambridge. Have your wits about you. Check North Island highway info.
If you don't have internet access or GPS in your car or on your phone
you will need a map. There are plenty of good driving maps available at
petrol stations and book stores throughout New Zealand.
Usually I will print off or jot down driving directions from Google before I leave on any journeys I take.
the whole, roads in New Zealand tend to be pretty well signposted so
you shouldn't have too much trouble. Actually, I quite like getting
lost, you never know where you will end up.
On my Google driving directions map you will see that there are six roads converging on Rotorua.
I will explain them as if you are leaving Rotorua, - hope that makes
sense. Working clockwise from the top left-handside of the map:
is the main route out of Rotorua heading towards and through Tirau
(lots of little craft and antique shops), Cambridge, Hamilton, Auckland
and on up north. This links up with SH 1 (just before Tirau) which runs
the length of New Zealand.
takes you to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. This is the back road that a
lot of locals use. It passes through gorges so there are some steep,
winding parts to it. By winding I mean corners that have 35kmp (21.7mph)
Mount Maunganui is THE beach to go to in the
summer for locals and visitors alike. The little township itself is tiny
so it gets packed.
You would probably want to avoid it on New Years eve
as this is one of the hot spots descended on by teenagers from all
SH33 takes you to Te Puke (home of Kiwifruit) and from there to Tauranga or Mt Maunganui.
you make a right-hand turn at Paengaroa (before Te Puke), you will be
taken to the beach communities of Maketu (where the Te Arawa people
first landed), Pukehina and Matata and on to Whakatane, Ohope and
It's a lovely drive along this coastline. Watch
out for the Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas) trees, especially when
they are flowering.
take you past the beautiful lakes of Rotoiti, Rotoehu and Rotoma where
there are walks, trout fishing and camping grounds. Great for holidays.
goes on to Kawerau, Whakatane, Ohope (yay, love that beach) and right
out to the eastern coast of New Zealand where a lot of sea fishing and
hunting takes place.
but heading south. This is the road we head to Wellington on. It joins
up with SH1 just before Taupo (trout fishing, volcanic activity).
Huka Falls is a must see on the way to Taupo with sparkling clear
water powering through a narrow channel. I always get a sense of how
small I am when I visit there.
My sister-in-law Jo at Huka Falls on the way to Taupo
From Taupo the south spreads
out in all its glory. Just on the other side a left turn can be made to go to Napier, Gisborne, Hastings and Wairoa. After that SH1 takes you through the Tongariro National Park
where there are three active volcanoes. They are Tongariro (1967m),
Ruapehu (2797m) and Ngaruhoe (2291m). If you get a clear day the views
of the mountains from the Desert Rd (it is barren and desolate) are absolutely stunning.
The Whakapapa ski field is located on the north-western slopes of Mt
Ruapehu and Turoa's on the south-western slopes. There are lots of walks
around this area as well.
SH30 again but
heading south-west out of town will take you to Tokoroa and also in the
direction of the Waitomo Caves (blackwater rafting) and Te Kuiti.
"We are a family of four from Sydney Australia and love nature - bush to beach. We love your website and found your tips on things to do in Rotorua very valuable - exactly what we look for in destinations." Anita —Sydney
"Thank you Karen! I think you site is wonderful. We followed your ideas today for blue lake and green lake, and went to the Landing Cafe first, brilliant we would have missed Lake Tarawera otherwise and it is so beautiful and peaceful." Rosie
"Thank you for your prompt response. I have managed to get a great deal through 'book me', so once again thank you so much. Great service. " :-) Chris
"Awesome website all about Rotorua. Well done Karen Shelford." Amiria Tomoana - Global Traveller
"Yes, really worthwile information for those visiting Rotorua. Take it from someone who used it. Thank you, so much easier." Karen Hubbard - Sydney, Australia
your website is the best resource for planning a trip there that I have
encountered! It answers all of the questions you end up having after
reading other sites, and presents information in such a clear and
concise way. ... wish I'd encountered your site before printing off reams of info that will probably be whittled down to one page. ... hope the local government and tourism people realise what a great asset and ambassador they have in you! :P" Vicky Fairchild - Auckland, New Zealand