Things to Do in Rotorua - October 2018

One of the best things to do in Rotorua during October is to stroll around the inner city enjoying the stunning Tulip displays. I've got to admit, our city looks gorgeous with all the spring flowers. Over 100,000 are Tulips alone.

Rotorua TulipsTulips

It's time too for the school holidays, and Labour Weekend, the last public holiday before the stretch leading up to Christmas.

Featuring in this month's calendar of events is the annual Okere Store's Beerfest, and the annual 10 day Rotorua Bike Festival, a whole lot of fun. It's shaping up to be a busy month.

Don't forget, there will be plenty of Rotorua Markets held throughout the month as well. The dates for the Lakefront Craft Market are the 7th, 20th & 21st (Labour Weekend).

Discover things to do in Rotorua in October

Virtually on Track Scavenger Hunts

Dates: Daily from Wed 26 - Sun 14 Oct
Venue 1: Tihiotonga Centennial Park, Mokoia Drive
Venue 2: Waipa Mountain Bike Park, Waipa Mill Road
Time: 9am-8pm
Cost: Free

Scavenger Hunt!! Get out into our natural parks and reserves to solve clues, take photos and answer questions. Downloadable map and instruction sheet available. As well as having fun you might win a prize too.

See more at: Virtually On Track

Rotorua Mega Fun Carnival

Dates: Sat 29 Sep - Sat 6 Oct
At: Lakefront Village Green, Memorial Dr
Times: 1pm (weather dependent)
Costs: Various

Rides, food and fun. The place for families or friends to come together and enjoy some light-hearted timeout on the Dodgems, Train, Explorer, Flying Dragons, Ferris Wheel and much more. Make sure your wallet is full, or get the evening Super Pass Special of $39. That's unlimited rides excluding the Turbo Boost from 7-10pm.

Check them out on Facebook: Rotorua Mega Fun Carnival

Rotorua Library School Holiday Activities

Date: Sat 29 Sep - 14 Oct
At: Rotorua Library, 1127 Haupapa St
Open Times: Mon-Wed 9am-5:30pm, Thu 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-5:30pm, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
Costs: From free to a gold coin koha (donation)

The library has a number of activities taking place, like solving an engineering puzzle, creating a Picasso mask, enjoying a rainbow dance party, learning how to care for animals, building a Lego Town and more.

As well kids can take part in The Great Te Aka Mauri Scavenger Hunt. 4 prizes are up for grabs. The clue sheets are available near the front door. Answer the questions from finding the clues scattered around the library and make sure the entry is in before the end of the school holidays.

Learn more: Rotorua Library School Holiday Activities

Holiday Arts Academy at the Arts Village

Date: Mon 1-Fri 5 Oct and Mon 8-Fri 12 Oct
At: Arts Village, Cnr Hinemoa & Hinemaru Sts
Time: 9am-3pm
Cost: Full day $25
Ages: 8-12yrs

Local artists come in to show young creatives how to go about creating things such as cardboard bug sculptures, dream catchers, a mosaic, a bird feeding station and a heck of a lot more. One theme per day.

Find out more: Arts Village

Skids Rotokawa October Holiday Programme

Date: Mon 1-Fri 5 Oct and Mon 8-Fri 12 Oct
At: Rotokawa School
Time: 7:30am-6pm
Cost: Full day $44, Half day $25, Short day $30, Trip day $60
Ages: 5-13yrs

Kids love the fun, safe activities at Rotokawa School. One theme per day, includes Science Gone Mad, Ten Pin Bowling, Movies, Sports, PJ Party, Master Chef....

Find out more: Skids Rotokawa School

Buttercups Big Break, Moo-sical Mayhem

Date & Times: Tue 2-Sat 13 Oct 10:30am-12:20pm, Sat 13 Oct 7:30pm-8:50pm, Sun 14 Oct 10:30am-12:20pm
At: The Blue Baths, Queens Drive
Time: 6:30pm Kitchen, BBQ & Bar
Prices: General Admission $15, Show & Swim Combo $20, Concessions for Groups of 10+
Restrictions: All ages

A cow wanting to be a Country-Western star. Who knew? Laugh out loud at Buttercup's adventures hoofing it to a Nashbull competition to make a name for herself. She'll be joined by the likes of Tyra Shanks, Whitney Gooseton and Pavatrotti amongst others.

Book Online at Eventfinda: Buttercup's Big Break

Animates Rotorua - School Holiday Activities

Dates & Times:
Thu 4 Oct 11-11:45am and 2-2:45pm
Thu 11 Oct 11-11:45am and 2-2:45pm
At: Animates, 124 Lake Rd
Price: Free

Teaching kiddies how to safely interact with dogs is a great skill to impart, so why not let the experts do it? You might get yourself a new pet while you're at it.

See more on Eventfinder: Rotorua Animates School Holiday Activities

Children's Fishing

Dates: Sun 7 Oct

At: Fish & Game Grounds, 1130 Paradise Valley Rd

Time: Hourly from 9am, last slot is 2pm
Cost: $3 suggested donation (how cheap is that?)

Immerse your children, 6-14yrs, in learning how to cast and fly fish. Everything is provided and it's so much fun for the whole family. Sausage sizzle, tea, coffee and soft drinks make for a party atmosphere and dads can talk about the monster fish that got away. No! Really?

Put this on your annual list of things to do in Rotorua.

Bookings:  Children's Fishing

Uce Juice - Hip Hop & Rap

Date: Fri 12 Oct
At: Lava Bar, 1286 Arawa St
Times: 8pm
Costs: Early Bird $25, General $30, Meet & Greet $60
Restrictions: R18

Donell Lewis, Kennyon Brown and DJ Noiz come to town as part of their "Uce Juice" New Zealand tour. Selected shows feature Beau Monga and Nofo Lameko. Will this be one of them?

See more on Eventfinda: Uce Juice

Rock of Ages

Show Dates & Times:
Fri 12 & Sat 13 Oct 8-10pm
Sun 14 Oct 2-4pm
Wed 17-Sat 20 Oct 8-10pm
Sun 21 Oct 2-4pm
Wed 24 - Sat 27 Oct 8-10pm
At: Casa Blanca Theatre, 122 Riri St
Costs: $32
Restrictions: R16

Spiral back in time to the 80's and listen to the hits of Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister and others brought to you by Rotorua Musical Theatre. Fun!

Book at Ticketmaster: Rock of Ages

The Dirty 8:30 - It's Udder Bullshit

Date: Sat 13 Oct
At: The Blue Baths, Queens Drive
Time: 8:30-10:30pm (Kitchen & Bar from 7:30)
Prices: General Admission $25, Premium $35
Restrictions: R18

A cow wanting to be a Country-Western star. Who knew? Laugh out loud at Buttercup's adventures hoofing it to a Nashbull competition to make a name for herself. She'll be joined by the likes of Tyra Shanks, Whitney Gooseton and Pavatrotti amongst others - but - the actors are off-script in this session and it's bound to get bulls-deep they say. Risque, raunchy and a little bit ranchy.

Book Online at Eventfinda: The Dirty 8:30 - It's Udder Bullshit

Rotorua Ekiden Relay (15th Anniversary)

Date: Sat 13 Oct

At: Village Green Start/Finish (Lakefront)
, Memorial Drive
Time: 8am First race starts
 to 3:45pm
Restrictions: R13
Cost: School Teams $245, Std Teams $295

Teams of 3-6 people make their way around the beautiful shores of Lake Rotorua in this fun event. Six segments are broken into distances of 5-8km. Get a group together, make it a family event, a work challenge. Who will win the Fancy Dress World Champs? And who's going to the 80's Activewear After Party?

Learn more: Ekiden Relay

Okere Falls Beerfest 2018

Wed 17 Oct   5-10pm
Thu 18 Oct   5-11pm
Fri 19 Oct    5-10:30pm
Sat 20 Oct   12-10pm
At: Okere Falls Store, 759 SH33, Okere Falls
Costs: Various (different days, different specials)

Beer Fest at its best in Rotorua. Local and specialty events with main ticketed events on the Friday and Saturday nights. Some of the lineups include Whitechapel Jak, Otium, Lloyd Ackroyd, The Miltones, Phil Edward's Band and Waiheke International Soul Orchestra.

And look out for specialty German biers and the Schweinshaxe pork roast dinners, griller burgers, bratwurst sausanges and more. You've got to book though.

$10 return trip buses laid on.

See More on Eventfinda: Okere Falls Store Beer Fest

Pink Walk 10th Anniversary - Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust

Date: Wed 17 Oct
At: Lakefront Village Green, Memorial Dri
Time: 4.30-7.30pm
Price: Up to 12yrs Koha from $2,  13yrs+ $10

A fun-filled family event to raise money for the Trust. Entertainment begins prior to the 3.4km walk that starts and finishes at the Village Green. Have spare cash on hand for the face-painters, cup cake stalls, raffles and food. Get dressed up too and you might win a prize.

Read more and register online: Pink Walk or phone 021 209 6099

Rotorua Hospice - Jo Seagar

Date: Fri 19 Oct
At: Rotorua Bowling Club, Government Gardens, Hinemaru St
Time: 6-8pm
Price: $30

Patron of Hospice New Zealand, Jo Seagar, shares tips and tricks for putting on milestone events with minimum effort and maximum effect. Glass of bubbly from Volcanic Hills Winery and nibbles by Stolen Bike Catering Ltd. You might like to buy her book too.

See more on Eventfinda: Rotorua Hospice - Jo Seagar

Rotorua Bike Festival

Dates: Fri 19 - Sun 28 Oct
The Rotorua Bike Festival has amped it up in 2018 with a jam-packed calendar of 32 events. 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.

Rotorua Plate Day

Date: Sat 20 Oct
At: Arawa Park Racecourse, Fenton St (by Rydges)
Time: 12-5pm
Price: Free admission

Take a picnic and relax with live on-course music, lots of activities for the kids, oh, and racing of course.
Find out more as it may change: Racing Rotorua

Rotorua UkeBox - Ukulele Open Mike Sessions

Date: Sun 21 Oct
At: Te Runanga Tea House, Queens Dr, Government Gardens
Time: 3-5pm
Ages: All
Cost: Gold coin donation

Pop along to enjoy ukulele music, whether you play or not. Local group Thermaleles get things going with a short session before everyone joins in with singing or playing. There's also an open mic session for anyone who would like to perform.

See more: Rotorua UkeBox

Lake Tarawera Spring Fair

Date: Sun 21 Oct
At: Stoney Point Reserve, 151-153 Spencer Rd, Tarawera
Time: 10am-3pm
Price: Free entry

A great way to relax and just potter is a visit to the Lake Tarawera Spring Fair. situated on the shores of Lake Tarawera. There will be arts, crafts, pottery, kids stalls, yummy food, diggers, canvas goods and lots more besides. Cash only.

More on Facebook Page: Lake Tarawera Spring Fair

Action Sports Direct Jet Ski Racing Winter Finals

Date: Sun 27 Oct
At: Hannahs Bay Park, Willow Avenue
Time: 11am-4pm
Price: Free entry
Restrictions: All ages

Full force jet ski racing in this final round of Winter Enduro racing. Take a picnic or buy food and coffee on site. If you have a jet ski and want to try it out you will just have to buy a Day Licence, $20.

See more: Jet Ski Racing NZ

Hell-O-Wheels: Halloween Roller Derby Spooktacular

Date: Sat 27 Oct

At: Southern Trust Sportsdrome, Queens Dr

Time: 6:45-9pm 

Cost: Adult $15, Child $7, Family (2 adults, 2 kids) $40 

It's that time of the year. Rotorua's Sulphur City Steam Rollers' Motley Crew, will take on a visiting team in what's bound to be a bruising roller derby event (battle really). Think 'rugby on skates'.

Prizes for Best Dressed Adult & Child and for Best Supporter Signs.  The kids will love the Lolly Scramble at half-time.

Stay up to date at Sulphur City Steam Rollers on Facebook
 where you can find out how to buy tickets before they sell out: Ph 07 928 4500

Princes Gate Cabaret Dinner & Show

Date: Saturdays
At: 1057 Arawa St (by entrance to Government Gardens)
Time: 7pm-10pm
Price: Dinner & Show is $89pp.

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 out for accommodation specials.

Bookings: Princes Gate Dinner & Show

Coming Up in November

Take your pick of outdoor adventures to take part in or to support - amongst others there is the Podium Rotorua 1/2 Marathon, 2TOA Aotearoa CrossFit games for same gender pairs, and Central Districts Foot Orienteering Champs.

For those not so physically inclined, enjoy the opening night of the speedway season including the only public fireworks display. Princes Gate are having a NZ Lamb & Beef Degustation evening if you like dining out, and a dinner and dance party later in the month.

More fun things to see and do in Rotorua

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