Local bus services are a good way to explore any city. Flag down a Rotorua city bus (CityRide Eke-Taone- CityRide for short) and trip on out to a number of the attractions. It's not cost-prohibitive either with a range of fare options available.
It's not that difficult to work out how to get to where you want to go while visiting (it's not like the city is huge).
Eleven routes cover the city with the outermost stops at Ngongotaha to the north-west, Hemo Road to the south, and the airport out to the east.
The buses run Monday to Friday every half hour from 6.45am, ending 6.50pm at the latest. Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays services run hourly. Times differ depending on the route so will need to be checked out.
NB: No buses run on Christmas Day and Good Friday.
There is wheelchair accessibility on some CityRide bus routes, not all at the moment so that's something to check out if it's needed.
Limited space is provided for prams.
Cash is king as Cityride do not have Credit Card or Eft-Pos facilities. One way costs are:
Route 1: Rainbow Springs and Rainbow Farm, Skyline Rotorua
Gondola & Luge, Amokura Glass, OGO Zorbing, Mitai Māori
Village, Agrodome, Agroventures and Zorb.
Route 3: The Redwoods
Route 5: Aquatic Center (swimming pools), Kuirau Park
Route 6: Ohinemutu, Kuirau Park
Route 7: Mount Ngongotaha Jubilee Track & Nature Walks
Route 10: Rotorua Airport
There is no Rotorua bus terminal as such for the urban routes. Local contractors are used by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, located in Whakatane, to provide the services.
If anything, the local i-Site Visitor Centre, located on the corner of Fenton & Arawa Sts., is the place to use in place of a terminal. Directly outside the i-Site are the long haul buses and around the corner (by the roundabout) on Arawa St are the urban buses.
Tips - On the Baybus website, click Routes on the top navigation bar, then Rotorua. (The site isn't very user friendly.) Make sure to check the News tab in case of any re-routing or other changes to the service.
CityRide Journey Planner is something else you might want to use. On the homepage of Baybus, fill in the address you are leaving from, your destination, then departure time. A google map opens up with the route, timetable, pricing and includes any walking portions to get to your destination. It's great when it's working, sometimes it doesn't.
Happy CityRide bus-tripping!