Things to Do in Rotorua, February 2017

Looking for things to do in Rotorua for February 2017? Well, I'll tell you now, the city will be over-run with bikes of all shapes and sizes. That's because the 10 day Bike Festival is back with even more events (21 at last count) and it's getting even more family-friendly by the moment. Don't you love it?

Rotorua Bike FestivalRotorua's tree of many bikes

Runners get a look-in with the gruelling Tarawera Ultra Marathon as do  numerous other events like the 20th Lakeside Concert, Classic & Wooden Boat Parade, BayTrust Rescue Helicopter Open Day, Home & Garden Show, A Gypsy Extravaganza etc.

Rotorua Markets: Waitangi Holiday Weekend falls on the 6th and 7th Feb which means the Lakefront Craft Market is open both days.

If you're visiting that weekend make sure your accommodation is sorted. I'd hate for you to be sleeping kerbside.

Things to Do in Rotorua this February Include...

The Calum Dundas Trio

Date: Thu 2 Feb
At: Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar, 1109 Tutanekai St
Time: 8pm
Cost: Free entry

First time appearing in Rotorua, look forward to listening to some jazz guitar from Calum supported by Sam MacKenzie on drums and Wynton Newman playing bass.

In the Shadows - Dine & Discover

Dates: Thu, Fri Sat weekly until Sat 25 Feb
At: Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Road
Time: 6 - 10.30pm
Cost: Adult $89, Child $45, Family 2 adults & 2 children $250.00 & extra children at $20 each

Get the whole family together for an awesome evening out. Food, fireside storytelling and all the fun creepy, crawly, slithering things, and kiwis. Must book.

Learn more & Book:

Coopers Run Band

Date: Fri 3 Feb
At: Rotorua Citizens Club, 1146 Rangiuru St
Time: 7.30 - 11.50pm
Cost: Free entry
Age Restriction: R18

Winners of the 2010 New Zealand Country Duo/Group of the year, this extremely talented duo comprised of Ashley Cooper (a NZ Idol finalist), and Michael Tipping a singer-songwriter, have racked up some impressive credentials. They've worked with Lady Antebellum, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, and appeared in Nashville.

Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade

Date: Sat 4 Feb
At: Lake Rotoiti Okere Falls, SH 33
Time: 10.30am - 11.30am
Cost: Free

See up to seventy wooden kayaks, dinghies, steam powered boats, yachts and a lot more besides as they parade around the Okere Arm (out near Okere Falls) prior to moving off to Wairau Bay. Boat ages range from the 1890's up to recent times. Anyone with a wooden boat can enter.

Read more: Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Assn.

Puarenga Parkrun

Date: Every Sat morning until 1 Jul
At: Puarenga Park, Te Ngae Rd, Owhata
Time: 8-9am
Cost: Free (register first time)

A time 5km run in and out of the geothermal landscape. Fast, slow, makes no difference. Take the kids along too. Have fun and make friends.
See more:

Summer Cup MTB Series (2nd of 3)

Date: Sun 5 Feb
At: Whakarewarewa Forest, Long Mile Rd
Time: 9am
Cost to enter: From $30 - $60

Based at Long Mile Rd, this section of the series includes a short course (10-15km) for those new to MTB or just wanting a challenge, medium (20-30km) with harder trails, and long (30-45km) with up-hills.

See more: Nduro MTB Series

Sam MacKenzie Quartet

Date: Sun 5 Feb
At: Arawa Park Racecourse, next to Rydges at 272 Fenton St
Time: 6-9pm
Cost: Adults $15 (door sales only)

Hosted by the Rotorua Jazz Club, this quartet will play a range of jazz tunes from the oldie but goodie "All of Me", up to and including modern items like "The Next Step". The band showcases Calum Dundas, Frank Talbot, Wynton Newman and of course Sam MacKenzie. There's hot meals and drinks available too.

Swim the Lakes Series - Lake Rotoma Kiwanis Open Water Swim (No. 2 of 4)

Date: Mon 6 Feb (Public Holiday)
At: Lake Rotoma, SH30 heading towards Whakatane
Time: 9am - finishes after 2pm
Cost: $10-$40

An annual event held every Waitangi weekend, it has 20 swim events with distances of 100m for the littlies up to 15km for the not so little. All that's required is a good level of fitness, meaning anyone can have a go. Lake Rotoma is a popular area for holidaymakers. For a caffeine fix, a cafe is attached to the local garage. Prizes!

See more: Rotorua Swim the Lakes on Facebook

Waltz of My Heart by Operatunity Entertainment

Date: Tue 7 Feb
At: Rotorua Baptist Church, 100 Malfroy Rd
Time: 11am - 1pm
Lunch: Included
Cost: Individual $31, 30+ group $30 each, 10+ group $31 each

Violinist Jess, and Paul on piano, are joined by Sue, John and Bonnie to celebrate the waltz. If Strauss, Lehar, Romberg and Andre Rieu are you, get in quick. There's also an opportunity to purchase a season pass for upcoming concerts.

Ph 0508 266 237 or Book online: Operatunity Entertainment

The International Māori Volcanics Showband

Date: Fri 10 Feb
At: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, 1170 Fenton St
Time: 7.30-9.30pm
Cost: $45-$75

Second time around since November. From losing several members of the International Māori Showband family recently, this Last Stand Tour came about. It involves reuniting all remaining members of the '60s & 70s' Māori Showbands, spread around the world, for a series of 4 North Island only shows. Also features members of The Māori Hi Fives, The Quin Tikis and The Castaways.

Buy at Ticketmaster: Māori Volcanics Showband

Blue Baths Comedy Club - BBQ & Beers on The Balconies

Date: Fri 10 Feb
At: The Blue Baths, Queens Dr
Time: 8-10.30pm
Cost: $20-$35

It's a fab lineup for the first comedy show of 2017. Justine Smith will be the MC, (2 wins as Best MC at NZ Comedy Awards) and Vaughan King is the headline act, another award winning comedian. A must see apparently. He will be supported by James Roque and Cori Gonzalez, both rising stars in their own right.

Burgers and hot dogs will be available from the BBQ before the show.

See more: Blue Baths Comdey Club

Ministocks in Paradise

Date: Fri 10 & Sat 11 Feb
At: Paradise Valley Raceway, 105 Paradise Valley Rd
Time: 6-10pm
Cost: Adult $15, Child $5, Family $30 Purchase at gate

The 12-17yr olds will be bringing the entertainment and around 180 entrants will zoom in from all over NZ to compete for the unofficial NZ Youth Ministock Drivers title.

See more: Paradise Valley Raceway

Rotorua Bike Festival

Dates: Fri 10 - Sun 19 Feb
The Rotorua Bike Festival has amped it up in 2017 with 12 new events added to create a jam-packed 25 event calendar. Over 10 days!!!

The Events Listed by Date
Pedal Powered Scavenger Hunt (Festival duration)
Begins 8am Fri 19th-Ends 8pm Sun 28th. Start anywhere on the route, Free
Gather the family (and bikes) to explore Rotorua on a fun morning or afternoon excursion. Register through the Bike Festival Passport and be eligible to win some great prizes.
Learn more: Pedal Powered Scavenger Hunt

Recycled Revolution Fashion Show
Fri 19 at Whakaue St (next to the Village Green)
Categories Children (We Can Be Heroes), Corporate (Retro Rotorua), Open Adult’s (Bike to the Future)
Mandatory Criteria: To enter this fashion parade your garment will contain at least three recycled or up-cycled items, as well the garment will have to be accompanied by a bike. Free. See rules, further info and entry forms:

Velocity Valley Freestyle AirBag BIG AIR Comp

Fri 19 at Rotorua Village Green 

3.30pm Registration, 4-5pm Practice jumps, Heats 5:30-7pm, Finals 7:30pm
Categories: 8-16yrs boys, 8-16yrs girls, 17yr+ Open Mixed

Ever seen those bike riders who perform aerial tricks? No? Well now's your chance. Velocity Valley have got the AirBag to cushion any stuff ups so what are you waiting for? And what better way to do it than in front of a crowd. Cash prizes and spot prizes. Spectators are free. Velocity Valley

Bike Speedway
Sat 20 11am-2pm at Waipa Mountain Bike event area - gold coin
Ride your bike like you’re on a Formula One racetrack. It’s short, fast and on a grass flatpack oval.

Stars, Spokes & Tent Poles

Sat 20 - 4pm
Meet at Redwoods Visitors Centre on Long Mile Rd, to Playnes Farm, Lake Okareka
Sleepover! Grab your PJ's, a tent, food and a hot drink for next morning. Leave from the Redwoods for a bike ride out to your destination. Ah, family bonding time. It’s ideal for young families. See more: Stars, Spokes & Tent Poles

Whaka Shootout TT
Sat 20 2-5pm Waipa Headquarters
Some of the world’s best cross country riders battle it out on a 1.9km course that would likely have the bejesus scared out of us mere mortals.

Whaka 100
Date: Sat 20 Oct 12-5pm, and Sun 21 Oct 7am-7pm

At: Waipa Carpark, Waipa State Mill Rd
Time: 12-5pm and 8am-7pm 

Cost: From $20 - $90 as individuals

Restrictions: All ages

Looking for the best 140kms of mountain bike single-track trail racing? You've found it. Individuals and teams compete for cash prizes, category wins, or mostly to achieve personal goals. If the 100km is too much, try the Whaka 50, or 25km races, or 10km. Kids can ride too.
Find out more: Whaka 100

Photography Workshops

Sat 20 at 9am-1pm, venue TBC at registration, $75

Mead Norton, one of New Zealand's best sports photographers will teach you how to take great action shots. See more:

Ride the Runway - 3 Events
Sun 21  8:30-11am at Rotorua Airport, 837 Te Ngae Rd, Free entry
Recreation biking on Rotorua Airport's runway goes down a treat with families in the Ride the Runway event. You only have to see the tiny-tots taking part to know this. First up though is the “Runway RATs Race, a competitive duathlon event. That’s followed by the Ray White Yellow Bike Challenge and then Ride the Runway. There's lots of other fun things to have a try of too, and music, and food, and a heap of prizes.
See more: Ride the Runway

The Great Electric Bike Challenge:
Sun 21 at Government Gardens, 1-4pm

Hire an electric bike (available on site), register and you're off following the clues to then return with objects and information. If correct, you'll be in with the chance to win. It’s not a race and you just have to be back at base before close off time. Cost TBC.

Dash to the Caldera
Mon 22  10am-1pm, Omania Farm, 976 Te Ngae Rd
Cost $30 with own bike or can join in and rent from $49-$69
Ride or test an electric mountain bike in a dash 430m uphill through private farmland. At the top? Wow views of 360 degrees taking in Lake Okotaina, Mount Tarawera and Rotorua. See more:

Revolve Dipper Dash & Drag

Mon 22 1-3pm at Baker’s Hollow (intersection of Dipper and Tahi Trails, Whakarewarewa Forest.
Cost $10pp
Girls of all ages, get points for best dressed (girl and bike), riding optional obstacles, funny dances, tricks and even for going nowhere. First prize goes to the rider who completes the most laps in 60mins, and/or the rider who collects the most points along the way. Your man can go along ‘in drag’ to race or ‘drag’ up a hill. Winner is fastest time and best dressed. Beers at the end for the winner

Redwoods Coast
Mon 22 4:30-7:30pm at carpark on Longmile Rd outside Redwood Visitors centre, Cost TBC
Much like a trolley race, the wheels are there but no pedalling because the bike is chainless. Competitors coast down the Redwoods Nursery Hill, along Long Mile Road towards the visitor centre before turning into the forest. The one to go furthest wins.

Lakefront Heritage Ride
Tue 23 5:30-7pm at Soundshell, Lakefront, Free
Take in sites of significance on an easy ride around the lakefront area. A great event for the whole family to enjoy.

Low Key Super D
Tue 23 at 5:30-8pm
Low Key is semi competitive racing for people who say they aren’t competitive. This is race 1 of summer’s Low Key Super D Series. More details and costs to come at

Forest Heritage Ride
Wed 24 at 5:30-7pm, Waipa Carpark, Free
Explore sites  of significance around the Waipa/Whakarewarewa Forest on Grade 2-3 trails. Suitable for 5+.

Dual Slalom World Champs

Wed 24 5-7:30pm, The Wattles Dual Slalom Track (Tarawera Rd), $2 to enter, free to watch and heckle.
This year all wheel sizes are welcome (apart from road bikes - sounds like they’re not real bikes, yet) to take part in this Slalom track event. Super fun to watch.

Lakefront Heritage Ride (Total Immersion in Te Reo)

Thu 25 5-30-7pm

Take in sites of significance on an easy ride around the lakefront area. A great event for the whole family to enjoy.

Spin Speed Dating
Thu 25 at 7:30-8:30pm, Rotovegas Boxing & Fitness Gym, 212 Te Ngae Rd, $10 pre-payment and registration required
Meet new people and share some fun in this non-typical spin class. You don’t have to workout hard, and don’t even have to wear active wear or lycra. Spaces limited, nibbles and drinks provided

BikeYoga Under the Redwoods Sail
Fri 26 at  12-1pm, Redwoods Sail, Long Mile Rd, $5 
Bike to the Redwoods for a 1hr lunchtime BikeYoga class.

Chainless on Corners Track
Fri 26 at 5-8pm (practice from 3:30pm), Top of Corners Track, Southstar Shuttle drop off. Free or donate to Rotorua Trails Trust Project (highly recommended)
Riders get one timed run on Corners Track, with no chain so no pedalling. Lots of age categories to enter. See more:

Giant 2W Gravity Enduro (1st in a series of 3 downhill mountain bike events - Oct, Dec, Feb)

Dates: Sat 27 Oct, Sat 8 Dec 2018 and Sat 9 Feb 2019, Sat 14 Apr 2019

Race 1 at Waipa MTB Carpark Event Village,  Racing begins 10am to around 5pm, Spectators: Free
The Whakarewarewa Forest sees downhill racing at it's best with this event for individuals, teams, serious racers and social ones too. Spectator or competitor, it doesn't matter, you'll have fun with the carnival atmosphere, delicious food and foaming beer available at the start/finish.

For the uninitiated, Enduro mountain bike racing has the competitors completing 6 stages, in any order, of downhill racing. In 6 hours!!! The riders can be shuttled back to the top for the next stage or bike back up. Apparently, it's all about strategising. They have to complete the stages and get back to the race HQ before the time runs out or risk incurring penalties.
Some huge prizes and spot prizes are up for grabs so it's every man, or woman, for themselves.
Learn more: Giant 2W Gravity Enduro

Bike Polo
Sat 27 9am onwards & Sun 28 at 9am to midday, Pukuatua Street multi-level carpark (top level)
Saturday: Anyone can have a go at this. Instructional sessions take place before and between games (not sure if they’re real games or for the uninitiated). The Sunday is to join in a real game of bike polo. See more:

Photography Workshops
Sat 27 at 9am-1pm, venue TBC, $75
Mead Norton, one of New Zealand's best sports photographers will teach you how to take great action shots. See more:

iBike 4 Kids
Sat 27 at 9am-1pm, Waipa MTB Park, Waipa Mill Road, $12 per child online or $15 for on the day
Family friendly event for children 2yrs-15yrs. There’s a short, medium or long course and a skills course. Also a ‘balance bike’ event for those under 5yrs riding balance bikes. Medal and goodie bag on finishing.

Cycle Chic Film Tour

Sat 27 at Blue Baths, 7-9.30pm, Tickets from $16
An evening of short films about inspiring women and the bikes they love to ride. Pushing boundaries, courageous, advocates for change, and it’s all through the power of the bike. All genders will enjoy this. Buy tickets:

Mount Ngongotaha Hill Climb Challenge

Sat 27 at 2-4pm, Bottom of Mountain Rd, Western Heights. $5 per rider. Spectators and hecklers free.
Everyone can take part in this hill climb at your own pace. And what a hill it is. Start from the bottom and wind your way up to the top enjoying the fantastic views (if you can) along the way. The last 1.5km is part of the Mt Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve, a lovely area with bush either side of the road and birdlife. Everyone stays up top until the last rider gets there then you might not even have to do any pedalling whatsoever to get back down. If you’re going to watch, gather at the ‘gate’ halfway up, near Aorangi Peak.

Roto Youth Ride
Sun 28 at 9:30am-12pm, MTB Carpark,  (Waipa Car Park by the pump track)
Rides for kids, run by kids.  Make new friends and have some fun. Check out their Facebook page:

Frocks on Bikes

Sun 28 at 11am-2pm,  Start at Te Manawa, Hinemoa & Tutanekai Sts intersection, Free
Always a popular event involving frocks and bikes, this leisurely ride is for all ages and abilities. Wear your best bike-friendly frock (includes guys) and join in on a frock-tastic ride.

MTB Adventure Quest

Sun 28 at Waipa Mountain Bike Carpark. 1-4.30pm, 4yrs and under free, 5-12ys $5, 13yrs+ $10 (add $5 for entry on the day)
A 2-5 person navigation-based adventure suitable for everyone (including the little ones) with mystery activities for bonus points. Enter the optional dress-up competition as well to win prizes. Pizza provided at the end. See more:

Carpark Eliminator
Sun 28 at 2:30-9pm, Pukuatua St car park building, Adults $5
Two race to the top of the car park building with the winner proceeding to the next round and the loser is eliminated.

Find out more at: Rotorua Bike Festival

Trout Fly Summer Series

Date: Thu 9 Feb & Thu 9 & 23 Mar
At: Neil Hunt Park, Tarawera Rd
Time: 5.45pm registration, 6.15pm run/walk
Cost: Adults $5, Accompanied Children $3

Whether local or from out of town, you can easily make friends or catch up with old ones at this casual drop-in event. It's a run, jog or walk 3km or 5km through Sulphur Flats. Mind the trout flies though. Ha, I just realised the reason for the name. A work-around I found is to have your cap brim low over your face, kind of shading your mouth. There's nothing worse than having one land at the back of your throat. Enjoy a free drink later on and BBQ sausages.

Learn more: Lake City Athletic Club

Tarawera UltraMarathon

Date: Sat 11 Feb
At: The Redwoods, Cnr Tarawera & Long Mile Rds
Start Time: 6am
Cost: $260-$400 for participants.

Only New Zealand's most prestigious ultra marathon. Just sayin'. From Rotorua to Kawerau the participants will cover 102km or for those building up to that type of distance, 87 or 62km. Details of spectator points are on the marathon website (the runners are going to need all the support they can get).

Find out more at: Tarawera Ultra

Don McGlashan - Rainbow Springs Summer Series

Date: Sun 12 Feb
At: Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Rd
Time: 6.30-10pm (doors open 5.30pm)
Cost: $49

One of NZ's best songwriter's who recently opened for Crowded House on a US and Canada tour, and was a guest musician in the band. He's also had 5 entries in APRA NZ's Top 100 Songs of All Time.

See more & book: Rainbow Springs Don McGlashan

Rotorua Home & Garden Show

Date: Fri 17-Sun 19 Feb
At: Energy Events Centre, Queens Drive
Time: 10am - 5pm
Cost: Adults $5, Seniors (Fri only) $3, U16 free with adults

A lot of exhibitors come together with trends and innovations to make the best of your home. Home decor, plants and products for the garden, furniture etc. Get tips and advice from the professionals. Refreshments will be available.

The Extravaganza (Gypsy Fair)

Date: Sat 18 & Sun 19 Feb
At: Soundshell and Village Green
Time: 9am - 5pm
Cost: General Admission Free - Reserved seating $35

Look forward to fun and entertainment at the Gypsy Fair featuring sack races, tug of wars, musical bean bags and prizes. There's woodcraft, leather work, tattooing, hair braiding, soaps & oils for sale, jewellery & crystals, lead light creations, handmade clothing plus lots more. And live entertainment including K2 the Power.

NZ Ocean Swim Series - Legend of the Lake

Date: Sat 18 Feb
At: Blue Lake
Time: 10am-3.00pm
Cost: From $25 - $79.50

This event is the latest addition to the NZ Ocean Swim Seven Event Series calendar - except it's at a lake. This one has a range of distances that accommodate all ages from 8ys and up, and all abilities. Distances start at 200m for kiddies up to 3.5km for adults.

Incorporates the Rotorua Swim the Lakes Series
See more at: Ocean Swim Series

Teddy Bears Picnic

Date: Sat 18 Feb 
At: Kuirau Park, Cnr Ranolf St & Lake Rd
Time: 11am - 1.30pm
Cost: Nil

Take a picnic or enjoy the sausage sizzle, cake stalls and cold drinks available at the Teddy Bears Picnic. A bouncy castle, face painter and lots of other entertainment will be happening. $2 gives the teddy bear and child a certificate and the opportunity to win a spot prize. Woo hoo. Make sure your bear/child is dressed in their party best.

Art in The Park 2017

Date: Sun 19 Feb
At: Government Gardens, Queens Drive
Time: 10am - 4pm
Cost: Free admission

An outdoor showcase of regional art and craft. There will be demonstrations, live local music at the rotunda and onsite catering from Steiner Kindergartens as part of their annual fundraising. Free admission.
Government Gardens
Queens Dr
More info: Rotorua Arts Village

Tour De Science - A Science Storytelling Show

Date: Fri 24 Feb
At: Te Runanga Te House, Queens Dr
Time: 6.30 - 7.30pm
Cost: Adults $10, Seniors, children, students $5

You've heard of Tour de France, well David Klein bikes into town with his Tour de Science Show. In it he shares his journey of discovery about the world we live and helps us to learn more about it using storytelling. Think atoms and cells, evolution, stars and more of what's out there.

Website: Tour de Science

The Phoenix Foundation

Date: Sun 26 Feb
At: Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Rd
Time: 6.30 - 10pm
Cost: $75 General admission

This six-piece Wellington band is well regarded with 6 albums under their belt. They have performed at the Glastonbury Festival and toured in Australia, USA and Europe. Doors open at 5.30pm with food and drinks available for purchase.

Learn more & Book:

Princes Gate Cabaret Dinner & Show

Date: Saturdays
At: 1057 Arawa St (by entrance to Government Gardens)
Time: 7pm-10pm
Price: Dinner, Show & Accommodation is $350 for 2 people. Dinner & Show is $178 for 2.

The place to go in Rotorua for live cabaret entertainment. Can feature Broadway, Opera, Las Vegas and more, designed to appeal to a broad range of tastes. The food's undeniably tasty too. Look for the Dinner, Show & Accommodation specials.

Bookings: Princes Gate Cabaret Dinner & Show

Coming in March - An influx of people from around the world will be here for Crankworx (more bikes) as well as for the Rotorua Walking Festival. That makes for a change of pace. 

Don't forget to book your accommodation early.

More fun things to see and do in Rotorua

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