Things to Do in Rotorua - October 2018

One of the best things to do in Rotorua during October is to walk around the inner city and enjoy the stunning displays of Tulips. I've got to admit, our city looks gorgeous with all the spring flowers. Over 100,000 of them 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

Sport BOP Go By Bike Day:
Fri 10 at 7-9am
Getting the festival off to a great start is this event that has everyone and anyone biking to work, school or just playing around. Stop off at any/all of the 6 pitstops to pick up a spot prize and refreshments plus go into the draw to win one of three $100 vouchers. Contact Lauren on 07 348 4125 or

Velocity Valley Freestyle AirBag BIG AIR Comp Heats 1 & 2: 
Fri 19 at Rotorua Village Green
3.30pm Registration, 4.30pm Practice jumps, 6-8pm Jump
Categories: 8-12yrs mixed, 13-16yrs male, 13-16yrs female, 17yrs+ male, 17yrs+ female
Ever seen those bike riders who perform aerial tricks? Well now's your chance. Agroventures 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. Spectators are free.

Giant 2W Gravity Enduro - Race 3:
Sat 11 at Blue Lake/Whakarewarewa Forest 9am-5pm
Third in the series of 4 one day downhill mountain bike races, spread out over the months of October, December, February and May, getting harder every day. Competitors have 6hrs to complete four or six races per day. Best time overall each day wins. Tons of prizes for giveaway's, spot prizes and performance-based prizes. Ride individually or socially. Limited numbers.

Sport Bay of Plenty Family Fun Ride:
Sat 11 at The Redwoods, Cnr Tarawera & Long Mile Rds. 9-30am - 11.30am
Aimed at beginners, recreational riders and families, the Mokopuna track will be fun. Dress up theme this year is 'fairies, wizards and all things magical'. Couldn't happen in a more magical place. Spot prizes and it's free.

Ride & Reflect - A meditative biking event
Sat 11th at 8 Mile Gate, cnr 8 Mile & Hill Rds. 2-4pm
Make a gold coin donation and cruise along forest tracks getting into the zen(ness) of this corner of the world. Expect some meditative readings too. Easy Grade 2 trails.

The Big Bike Film Night:
Sat 11th at The Blue Baths, Govt Gardens.
Time: 7-10pm,
Cost: From $20
Short movies from around the world with action, drama, and even romance (the bike kind). Croucher Brewing beer available to buy.

Ride the Race Course Family Fun Day:
Sun 12 at Fenton St (by Rydges Hotel) 10am - 2pm
Not for the faint-hearted is a bike ride at Arawa Park Racecourse - usually the terrain of horses. It'll be rough. There's also a short course for the littlies, face painting, bouncy castles, truck rides, more entertainment and food.

Cyclezone Tour of the Valleys:
Sun 12 at Bluff Sports Club, 155 Waikaukay Rd. 10am - 2pm
All ages can take part in this fun road ride. Make it as hard or as easy as you want. Quiet roads, wind in your face, and just 43 or 86km to the finish line, depending on the option you choose.

Frocks on Bikes:
Sun 12 at Band Rotunda in Government Gardens 10am-12pm
Always a popular event involving frocks and bikes, this leisurely ride is for all ages and abilities.

BMX Bike Festival Club Meeting:
Sun 12 at BMX Track on Te Ngae Rd. 11am-3pm
This event is open to affiliated BMX riders. Spectators are most welcome.

Photography Workshops:
Sun Feb 12 and 18th at venue TBC, $75
Mead Norton, one of New Zealand's best sports photographers will teach you how to take great action shots.

The Big Bike Film Night - Cycle Chic:
Mon 13 at Blue Baths, 7.30 - 9.30pm
Tickets from $20
This evening's short films are all about women and the bikes they love to ride. It's going to be great.

Low Key Super D
Tue 14 at Nursery Hill Gate on Long Mile Rd. 6-9pm
A single timed downhill run. Apparently a good intro to 'enduro". This will be fun for the family. Yes, the family, and the dog if you want.

Frocks on Bikes Fashion Show:
Valentine's Special Tue 14 at Eat Streat (Lake end of Tutanekai St. Free.
The models in this fashion show have created their own vintage inspired outfits with the main accessory being, wait for it, a bike. Of course!

16 inch World Dual Slalom Champs
Wed 15 at the end of Long Mile Rd. 5-7:30pm
Small wheels they say, big action they say. This all takes place at Dodzy Memorial Skills Park.

Dipper Dash
Thu 16 at Dipper Trail, Whakarewarewa Forest. 6-8pm
Not satisfied with the children, now they've got to drag women in. This is the event where you get to (hopefully) fall in love with mountain biking too. What a dastardly plan. I love it already.

Agroventures Freestyle AirBag BIG AIR Comp - Heat 3, Finals
Fri 17 at Agroventures Adventure Park, 1335 Paradise Valley Rd at 6-8pm
The biggest aerial trick takes the prize. Scary!

Stars, Spokes & Tent Poles
Fri 17 - Sat 18 at Redwoods to Playnes Farm, Lake Okareka
Sleepover! Grab your PJ's, a tent, food and a hot drink for the morning. Leave from the Redwoods for a bike ride out to your destination. Ah, family bonding time. 5pm - 11am

The Happy Ewe Hot Lakes Ride:
Sat 18 at I-Site, cnr Fenton & Arawa Sts, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm
These guys are experts at taking visitors on leisurely bike ride tours. Learn about the culture, history and geothermal.

Sat 18 at Rotorua MTB Carpark 12.30-8.30pm
A 10km course for everyone at a time when the forest is settling down for the night. Age and ability no problem.

Ride the Runway - 3 Events:
Sat 18 at Rotorua Airport 5-8pm, Free entry
 Recreation biking wise, 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 Elimination Race "Devil Take The Hindmost" where one person is dropped each lap until only one is left. The evening finishes off with the Open Speed Session. That will be fun to watch. There's lots of other fun things to have a try of too, and music, and food.

MTB Adventure Quest
Sun 19 at Waipa Mountain Bike Carpark. 2.30-4.30pm
A navigation-based adventure suitable for everyone.

The Great Electric Bike Challenge:
Sun 19 at Government Gardens, 10am-2pm
Hire an electric bike, 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.

Cycling Rotorua Hill Climb Fun Challenge:
Sun 19 at Bottom of Mountain Rd, Western Heights. 12-2pm, $5 per rider.
Everyone can take part in this hill climb. And what a hill it is.

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

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

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

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

Dates: Sat 21 Oct, Sat 8 Dec 2018 and Sat 9 Feb, Sat 14 Apr 2019

Race 1 At:  TBC Holiday Inn, Cnr Foude & Tryon Sts, Rotorua

Time: 9am-5pm

Race Entry Prices: Various
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

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 -  Podium Rotorua 1/2 Marathon, Tarawera Trail Marathon and 50km Run & Walk and the Tikitapu Trail Run.

For those not so inclined the popular Rotorua Festival of Gardens is back and for pure entertainment you might like the Saturday Night Fever Musical.

More fun things to see and do in Rotorua

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