Summer Things to Do in Rotorua, January 2017

Things to do in Rotorua - January 2017. The summer holidays are in full swing with holidaymakers heading out to the lakes for bbq's, swimming and fun in the sun. The weather is still tricky (like, when is it not) so layers are advisable.

January Roses in RotoruaJanuary Roses in Rotorua

There's plenty to see and do in Rotorua that should keep little ones occupied. Check out the Library Summer Holiday Programme. Or the A&P Show at the end of the month. Fun, fun, fun.

A biggie for grown-ups will be the Seafood Festival at the Lakefront and then there's always events of a physical nature for devotees.

The Markets will be bustling with all the people in town. You'll find the Farmer's Market in the City Focus every Sunday, the Rotary Flea Market every Saturday in Kuirau Park and of course the Craft Market every Sunday this month at the Lakefront.

Things to Do in Rotorua this January Include...

Mega Fun Carnival

Dates: Mon 26 Dec to Sun 8 Jan 2017
At: Lakefront Village Green, Memorial Dr
Times: 1-5pm and 7.30pm till late (weather dependent)
Cost: Various

Rides, food and fun. The place for families or friends to come together and enjoy some light-hearted on the Dodgems, Train, Explorer etc. and for the first time, the Flying Dragons. Make sure your wallet is full.

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.

Learn more & Book:

Love Your Bike! Cycle Safety Workshop

Date: Tue 10 Jan
At: Kuirau Park, Cnr Ranolf St & Lake Rd
Time: 10.30 - 11.30am
Cost: Free
Ages: 8yrs+

Gather up the kids, bikes and helmets (or register early to borrow a bike - limited numbers) and head along to Kuirau Park for a cycle safety workshop. Sure to be fun.
See more: Rotorua Library Get Green School Holiday Activities

Da Vinci Does Flight - Kids Fun Days

Date: Wed 11 Jan
At: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, 1170 Fenton St
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: Adult $5,  Child $2,  Family 2 adults & 3 children $10

Running alongside the Da Vinci Machines and Robots interactive exhibition (on until Sun 26 Mar), this is the 1st of 3 Da Vinci inspired days. Kids can explore Da Vinci flying machines and build a model of their own. They can create a paper plane and fly it in a contest, make use of colouring sheets, win a spot prize and hear about the NZ falcon and it's relation as a bird to Da Vinci's flying models.

Engineering Mystery Bag Challenge

Date: Wed 11 Jan
At: Rotorua Library, 1238 Pukuatua St
Time: 1.30 - 2.30pm
Cost: Free
Ages: 8yr+

A mystery challenge where each participant is given a bag full of mystery items together with instructions for a challenging activity. Bookings essential.

See more: Rotorua Library Get Green School Holiday Activities

Beach & Beats with Toi Ohomai & The Edge 99.9

Date: Fri 13 Jan
At: Blue Lake, Tarawera Rd
Time: 2 - 6pm
Cost: Free

An afternoon of sun (hopefully) and fun for all. A free DJ, volleyball, shade zones, free sausage sizzle and sunscreen and there's giveaways too. Catch up on Facebook: #BEACHandBEATS #RotoruaNZ #TOIOHOMAI #TheEDGE #Summer2017

Bayleys National Sevens Rugby Tournament

Dates: Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jan
At: Rotorua International Stadium, Devon St West
Time: 10am - 4pm
Cost: U5 Free, Child $5, Adult $15, Family of 4 $35

Pop along to watch provincial rugby sevens teams compete in the 2017 National Championship. Entertainment is laid on, as is food and a kid's area.

Read more and buy tickets at Ticketmaster

Rob Ruha Concert featuring Maisey Rika

Dates: Sun 15 Jan
At: Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Road
Time: 6.30 - 10pm
Cost: $55

Pop along to Rainbow Springs to hear some great music over the summer period (minus the resident squawking birds). First up is Rob Ruha who describes his brand as "Haka Soul" and Maisey Rika, well known to locals and other soul seekers from more distant shores.
See more:

Ukebox January 2017

Dates: Sun 15 Jan
At: Monarch Room, Princes Gate Hotel, 1057 Arawa St
Time: 3 - 4pm
Cost: Gold coin donation

Rotorua's Thermaleles open the show with a short ukelele performance. After that, everyone can jump in to sing, play along or use the open mike. You don't even need to know how to play.

Water Safety with the Harbourmaster

Dates: Mon 16 Jan
At: Rotorua Library, 1238 Pukuatua St
Time: 10.30 - 11.30am
Cost: Free

A jet-ski, watery word puzzles, colouring, crafts and a Harbourmaster. Hmm, sounds like fun to me.
See more: Rotorua Library

Da Vinci Does Art - Kids Fun Days

Date: Wed 18 Jan
At: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, 1170 Fenton St
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: Adult $5,  Child $2,  Family 2 adults & 3 children $10

Explore Da Vinci's art on an activity trail then create a collage portrait. Large scale colouring pictures allow kids to add their own touches and everyone can watch throughout the day as a local artist paints a live portrait from start to finish. Spot prizes for those who turn up in fancy dress.
Learn more: Rotorua Museum

Tech-Free Whanau Night

Dates: Thu 19 Jan
At: Rotorua Library, 1238 Pukuatua St
Time: 5.30 - 6.30pm
Cost: Free

Board games! Take along your own and have some fun with the whanau and others. Lounge in the bean bags and enjoy the light snacks provided too.
See more: Rotorua District Library

TWS World Invitation Superstock Champs

Dates & Prices:
Fri 20 Jan - Adult $25, Child $10, Family $55
Sat 21 Jan - Adult $30, Child $10, Family $65
At: Paradise Valley Raceway,105 Paradise Valley Rd
Time: Friday Ministocks begin 6.30pm then the rest at 7pm. Saturday is 7pm.

Stockcars are still a firm favourite in the line up of things to do in Rotorua, especially for families. This time round you're in for Superstocks, Ministocks, and Stockcars yet to be confirmed.

Learn more at

Albi and The Wolves: One Eye Open Tour with Jim Jones ATPT

Date: Sat 21 Jan
At: Adventure Playground, 451 Ngongotaha Rd
Time: 7.30 - 11pm
Cost: Door sales $25, Pre Sale: $20

One for those who love folk music spanning multiple genres including swing, bluegrass, rock & world and R&B. Original songs are a feature, some with echoes of Michal Jackson and Pink Floyd.
See more & book: Eventfinda Albi & The Wolves

Jack N Jel's World Tour of A Wee Bit of New Zealand

Dates: Wed 25 Jan
At: Princes Gate Hotel, 1057 Arawa St
Time: 6 - 8.30pm (Workshop 6 - 7.15pm)
Cost: Workshop and Concert: $25, Concert: $15

Brought to you by the Rotorua Museum, Jack n Jel are an Australian duo of Uke experts who love nothing more than teaching and entertaining. The workshops have been well received throughout Australia and New Zealand.
See More: Eventfinder Jack n Jel

Rotorua Museum of Art & History Things to Do in January

At: Oruawhata Dr, Govt Gardens
Opening Hours:
     Dec - Feb 9am - 6pm
     Mar - Nov 9am - 5pm
Admission Cost: Adults $20, Seniors $18, Children $8. Locals free with id.

NB: Due to an earthquake on 14 Nov 2016, the museum sustained considerable damage which has necessitated closure for the foreseeable future. Exhibitions have been moved to external locations.

As well as exhibitions, the Rotorua Museum always has something of interest happening for everyone. Activities and fun learning is the common order of the day for children so you know what to do, keep an eye out.

Special Events

Visiting Exhibitions
Davinci Machines & Robots: Over 80 replicas of machines and robots invented by Leonardo da Vinci over 500yrs ago. It's an interactive exhibition on loan from the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci.
Dates: Until 26 Mar 2017
At: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, 1170 Fenton St

Closed Permanent Exhibitions
(Included with admission):
Taking the Cure - The story behind the Bath House Building: Find out why and how this world famous building came into being by exploring from the deepest recesses of the basement, through the mid-section, then on up through the roof-space and out onto to the rooftop viewing platform - with a birds-eye view over Rotorua. You can't help but be wowed.

Tudor Towers Restaurant, Cabaret and Night Club: From 1966 when the Bath House closed until 1990, the Towers was the place for entertainment. In that time it saw fine dining, cultural shows, and cabaret. Ah, those were the days. For many locals, it's a good place to relive those times - and fashions.

Ake! Ake! The story of B Company Māori Battalion: Set up to honour the young Māori men who fought in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy during World War II, there are many photos, objects, and stories to read about in this exhibition. Follow that up with the 30min documentary about these young men in the small theatre.

Ngā Pumanawa o Te Arawa (The Beating Hearts of Te Arawa): There are many stories told in this exhibition. About the Te Arawa people's journey to New Zealand, and the events that have taken place since that shaped the people, the area, the settlers that came later, right up to the present time. Irreplaceable taonga (treasures) are found within these walls too.

Visit website to see more: Rotorua Museum of Art & History - What's on.

Da Vinci Does Code - Kids Fun Day

Date: Wed 25 Jan
At: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, 1170 Fenton St
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: Adult $5,  Child $2,  Family 2 adults & 3 children $10 Door sales only

The last Da Vinci Day. Did you know he used code to keep his inventions secret? Kids will love copying some of his ideas using invisible ink, mirror codes, symbol codes and a whole lot more besides.
See more: Rotorua Museum

National Maori Basketball Tournament

Dates: Thu 26 to Sat Jan
At: Energy Events Centre, Queens Dr
Time: 8am - 5pm
Cost: Free

From U9s through to Prem Men's and Womens, Mixed Social, Masters, Wheelchairs and Special Olympics, this basketball tournament will have something for everyone to enjoy. Go. Have fun.

The Toolshed NZ Streetstock Grand Prix

Dates & Prices:
Fri 27 Jan - Adult $20, Child $10, Family $50
Sat 28 Jan - Adult $25, Child $10, Family $60
At: Paradise Valley Raceway,105 Paradise Valley Rd - Door sales only
Time: 7 - 10pm

Fun! Add a roll cage around your everyday road car, add some safety features and voila, you have a Streetstock. Then, get them on the speedway track and watch the drivers bash the hell out of these cars.

Learn more at

Rotorua A&P Show

Date: Sat 28 & Sun 29 Jan (Auckland Anniversary weekend)
At: A&P Showgrounds, 141 Western Rd, Ngongotaha
Time: 8.30am - 5pm
Cost: Adults $10, U16 Free

A fun two day event at the site of the famous Agrodome. Great family entertainment with rides, races, the Petting Pen and playing. For the adults, barrack for your favourites in the sheep shearing, wood chopping, equestrian events and much more besides. There's always the King & Queen of the Mountain Race events too. Let's hope for great weather.

Website: Rotorua A&P

Famously Rotorua 'Swim the Lakes' Series
EcoMist Blue Lake Multisport Festival (No.1 of 4)

Date: Sat 28 & Sun 29 Jan (Auckland Anniversary weekend)
At: Blue Lake, Tarawera Rd
Time: First races kick off at 8.30am
Cost: Free admission, Event entries range between $10 - $90

Five events held over two days. Main events are: an Aquathon with a 5.5k run followed by an 800m Open Water Swim, a 2k swim across the lake, and a Sprint Triathlon. Kids can join in with their own Triathlon and adults can enjoy a non-competitive Forest Fun Run/Walk. 

Learn more:
See more: Rotorua Swim the Lakes Series on Facebook

Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival

Date: Sat 29 Jan (Auckland Anniversary weekend)
At: Soundshell & Village Green, Memorial Dr
Time: 11am - 4pm
Cost: $30 - $135

Seafood, wine, and music performed by local talent. If it's a fine day this festival will be wonderful.

Buy your tickets at Eventfinder

Swamp Thing

Date: Sun 29 Jan
At: Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Road
Time: 6 - 10.30pm - Doors open 5.30pm
Cost: General Admission $55

This latest concert at Rainbow Springs is the popular NZ duo Swamp Thing - Michael Barker and Grant Haua. Blues music with a soulful sound is a feature of their performances. Look forward to getting an itch to dance too.
See more:

Princes Gate Cabaret Dinner & Show

Date: Saturdays through to 31/12/18
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

Looking forward to February (hot, hot, hot), bikes will dominate the month with the annual Bike Festival taking place over a period of 10 days (over 56,000 people took part in 2016). It will be amazing.

As well, the Rotorua Home & Garden Show hits town.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the gruelling Tarawera Ultramarathon will also have prominence.

Don't forget to book your accommodation early.

More fun things to see and do in Rotorua

Return to Top

› Things to Do in Rotorua January

only search Rotorua Travel Secrets

Like This Page?


Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.