10 FABULOUS FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROTORUA Enter email for instant access
Rotorua & NZ Information
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Peruse Rotorua & New Zealand Information to help you integrate
seamlessly into our world. Get your questions answered. Like, where do I go to for medical help, is my Driver Licence valid in NZ, how do I keep myself safe?
* Information relating generally to NZ plus,
specifics for Rotorua.
For anything happening to you while in Rotorua, if the situation is not serious enough to warrant hospitalisation try Lakes Primecare situated towards the lake end of the city. They are an Accident & Urgent Medical Care Centre owned and operated by Rotorua's general practioners. You don't need an appointment and there are upfront costs involved.
NB: New Zealand facts - if you injure yourself in any way whilst here you are covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). They provide no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand.
This includes accident-related costs such as medical transfer by ambulance or helicopter, surgery, hospital stay and rehabilitation. Be aware though, this only applies while you are in New Zealand. Leave the country and you're on your own I'm afraid.
If it's an illness you are dealing with then your medical insurance will kick in. You've got it right? Right. Here's crossing fingers you don't need these services.
ATM locations * - you will find these dotted handily all around the city. They are in all the major supermarkets and the outlying shopping centres. The ATMs accept most major credit/debit cards. If you stop anyone - apart from a tourist that is - they will readily point you in the right direction to find an ATM.
Currency - Local NZ currency is the New Zealand dollar. $1.00 = 100cents. We have coins of 10, 20 and 50 cents. Notes are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars.
When using cash the total amount is rounded up or down because the smallest coin is 10 cents. For example 57 cents is rounded to 60 cents or 54 cents is rounded to 50 cents.
Dress - This section is a blend of New Zealand information on dressing as well as Rotorua. We are a pretty casual lot when it comes to dressing although I would say that this is the case worldwide now.
In Rotorua tidy casual seems to be the main uniform when eating at the majority of cafe bars and restaurants. A few may be a bit more upmarket so just check prior to going.
If you're already out and about just enquire at the door. Rotorua eateries are well used to tourists and visitors passing by and popping in for a meal.
If you are in the bigger centers like Auckland there is more scope for a nightlife therefore the chance to dress up a bit more.
My 23yr old daughter lives in Auckland so when they go nightclubbing they dress up. When she comes back to Rotorua the same outfits make her feel definitely overdressed.
Driving - You can drive in New Zealand if you hold a driver licence from another country - and it's valid of course - or if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP). With the IDP you still have to carry your current Driver Licence.
Don't be confused by the term 'Driving Permit' if that is how your licence is termed in your country. An IDP is totally different.
If your Driver Licence is in a foreign language you have to obtain an authorised translation.
In New Zealand we drive a bit different from some countries. We also have different road rules too. To find out more, click the following link. It will open a new page on the NZ Transport Agency website where you can also download a factsheet about Driving in New Zealand. For non-native English speakers, it's available in numerous languages,.
It is a legal requirement to carry your Driver Licence on you at all times when driving in New Zealand and you can be fined if you do not have it.
GST - or Goods and Services Tax is added onto pretty much everything we buy or use in New Zealand. At this point in time it is 15%. Sellers are legally obliged to advertise the fact that a product or service price does not include GST.
Language - There are three official languages in New Zealand. They are English, Māori and NZ Sign Language. The majority of people speak English but legally the other two languages can also be used.
Emergency Services - New Zealand information relating to emergency services is standard nationwide. Phone 111 for Ambulance, Fire, Police and Civil Defence. For Rescue Services and Gas emergencies, use 111 as well but ask for Police.
The Deaf emergency textphone (TTY) number is 0800 16 16 16. This only applies to Ambulance, Fire and Police.
Contact details for non-urgent calls can be found in the local White Pages telephone directory. The White Pages also have details for animal emergencies, railway emergencies, electric power line faults, poisons and hazardous chemicals at the National Poisons Centre etc.
Public Holidays - Rotorua gets super busy on holiday weekends. There always seems to be some event/s on at these times so booking in advance is a good idea.
Something else to consider is the possibility of stocking up on food etc. prior to arriving. The supermarkets become a nightmare and you don't really want to be spending a lot of time in them while on holiday do you? There is far too much else to be seeing and doing.
NZ Public Holidays
New Year's Day¹
Day after NY Day²
(1) observed on the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday. (2) observed the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or Tuesday if it falls on a Sunday.
Anniversary Holidays - This is one further holiday observed annually - on different days depending on the region.
School Holidays - New Zealand information on the school holidays is standard throughout the country. There will be local variances but they don't impact on the dates as a whole. Additionally, high schools tend to have some longer holiday periods.
Staying Safe - Although New Zealand is a relatively safe place to visit it still doesn't hurt to be safety conscious. Having spent seventeen plus years in the police force here I have seen my share of visitors get ripped off, assaulted etc. I don't want that to be you.
Here's the reality. If your motel room/vehicle gets cleaned out, including your travel documents, you are stuck. You will spend hours in the police station, sometimes days, trying to arrange new passports, tickets etc. It's doubly worse when there are language barriers. The poor visitor quite often ends up shattered with their mementos gone, photos gone, everything gone.
Once again, I don't want that to be you. The NZ Police website has indepth New Zealand information for travellers. It includes keeping safe on roads, personally, outdoors, possessions, cards and identity, text messaging and alcohol. I couldn't write it any clearer than what they have so click this link New Zealand Information- Visitor Safety in NZ to be taken to their page.
Staying Safe In Rotorua * - There are just a few things I would say in relation to staying safe in Rotorua. In the evenings the city empties right out with very few people about. This seems to be the time that the riffraff decide to make their presence felt. Like vampires huh?
In the main they are teenagers, quite often Māori - which I hate to have to admit - and boy do they have an attitude. Some of them can be quite intimidating. These teens harass people they perceive to be vulnerable, like tourists or people on their own asking for cigarettes, drugs and money. The behaviour is generally obnoxious.
CCTV cameras are positioned throughout the city. These are monitored a big part of the time by volunteers. If they see anything going down, the boys and girls in blue are off.
For a total about face, something else to be aware of that's peculiar to Rotorua is the thermal. It's all around us here so it pays to stay to the tracks. Our council does a good job in signposting the different areas but you never know where a new hole is going to pop up.
Another about face and it's not about safety as such. Any silver jewellery you have will tarnish here with the sulphur in the air. I gave up on wearing silver and just use stainless steel or white gold now. I couldn't stand all the cleaning.
Tipping - Tipping is not a normal practice in New Zealand. Unlike the USA, employees here receive a full wage and shouldn't have to rely on tips to survive.
I did go to a cafe in Auckland recently though, and when I went to pay by EFT-POS the machine said, 'do you want to enter a Tip amount.' That got right up my nose straight away.
If I think that I have been on the receiving end of spectacular service I probably would leave a tip. But to be asked for it. That's a no-no in my book.
You will probably notice - especially with cafes - money jars for leaving tips which is up to the individual, no pressure.
Victim Support - New Zealand has a great community of volunteers who provide support to crime or trauma victims. This 24/7 service applies to both NZ locals and visitors alike.
Weather And Climate... in General - For such a tiny little country - we're only 1600km long - New Zealand sure knows how to pack things in and that includes our NZ weather and climate.
At the top of the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) we have a sub-tropical climate right down to the sudden downpours with the hot steamy aftermath.
Contrast that with the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) where we still have glaciers and fiords and you can see that the weather in New Zealand operates at both ends of the scale.
What I find crazy is that the worlds' weather along with earthquakes
and volcanoes seems to be getting topsy-turvy. Nowadays, places in the
supposed colder South Island seem to get the higher temperatures in the
summer whereas it used to be up North. It gets up to 35℃ (95℉) in
Alexandra, Central Otago, with lows of -6℃ (21℉) in the winter.
will find a lot of New Zealand information telling you that this is a
land of contrasts and that you can easily get the four seasons in one
day. Bottom line, be prepared for anything.
provides in-depth weather reporting on NZ weather forecasts, tides, snow reports, radar maps and NZ weather maps.
If you are here for anything to do with water activities they also have a section on the marine weather forecast. Information is included for both coastal marine and recreational (lakes etc).
Additionally, clicking this link, Rotorua Weather will give you further Rotorua specific weather information.
If there is anything I have missed in general New Zealand Information feel free to use my
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"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