Welcome to Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty


Offshore from Whakatane is New Zealand’s most active volcano, Whakaari (White Island). Volcanic activity defines this region, and nowhere is this subterranean spectacle more obvious than in Rotorua. Here the daily business of life goes on among steaming hot springs, explosive geysers, bubbling mud pools and the billows of sulphurous gas responsible for the town’s trademark eggy smell.

Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty are also strongholds of Māori tradition, presenting numerous opportunities to engage with NZ's rich indigenous culture: check out a power-packed concert performance, chow down at a hāngi (Māori feast) or skill up with some Māori arts-and-crafts techniques.


Top experiences in Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty

Travel guides

Starting at $32.49

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Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty activities

$90.41 Cultural & Theme Tours

Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance

Your journey through time unfolds when your coach travels to a pre-European village set deep within the forest, 15 minutes from Rotorua. Let this 3.5-hour tour and your imagination take over as your guide instructs you on the protocol for visiting the marae. A chief is selected, a song is learnt and the eerie cry of the welcome is heard before you enter the world of the proud warriors of the ancient Maori. You will experience the powhiri (welcome ceremony) before you enter the village, with crackling open fires in front of traditional whare (houses). You'll hear traditional Maori instruments and watch the daily activities of days gone by. In the wharenui (meeting house), a Rangiatea culture group offers a powerful display of haka song and dance. Then, as new friendships are forged, dine on a traditional hangi feast, where the food is cooked slowly beneath the ground in earth ovens. This is an amazing re-enactment based on actual events from history, with real characters, traditional arts and crafts, powerful song and dance while enjoying an authentic Hangi feast.

$103.62 Shore Excursions

Tauranga Shore Excursion: Rotorua Highlights

Leaving the port at Mount Maunganui, your shore excursion begins with a trip beside the port's pristine ocean beach and waterfront.Your first stop is Te Puke, New Zealand's kiwifruit capital, the Kiwifruit Country. Then, travel through the Bay of Plenty's beautiful farmland, past forests of pine trees, and stop to take a short walk to Okere Waterfalls, home to rainbow trout, eels and freshwater crayfish.Continue into the North Island’s lake country, where more than a dozen beautiful lakes dot the countryside. Your tour includes a stop for lunch beside lovely Lake Rotorua (own expense).In the early afternoon, visit the unique thermal wonderland of Whakarewarewa, an amazing landscape of erupting hot springs, bubbling mud and the famous Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to 20 times a day. Take a walk with a Maori guide to hear how people came to live in harmony with this volatile environment, learning to use the boiling cauldrons and jets of steam for everyday purposes such as cooking and communal bathing.After learning about Maori traditions and culture, see this way of life in action when you visit New Zealand's only authentic living Maori village. Experience a traditional Maori welcome with songs and dances, including the famously warlike Haka dance.Complete your Rotorua shore excursion with a tour of Rotorua’s highlights, including the Government Gardens, historic bath house and natural hot springs at Whangapipiro (Rachel's Pool). If time allows, visit one of New Zealand's earliest tourist sights at beautiful Lake Tarawera.The return trip to your cruise ship at Mount Maunganui follows a different route, taking you through the region’s rolling farmland and the Tauranga City center before crossing the harbor bridge to the port.Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Tauranga port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$82.76 Cultural & Theme Tours

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua

Spend some time in Middle-earth as you explore the Hobbiton Movie Set, and delight in tales about hobbits on this half-day Lord of the Rings movie set and farm tour. After a 45-minute drive from Rotorua you will arrive at the Hobbiton Movie Set, constructed on a working New Zealand sheep farm and one of the last remaining structures from the famous Lord of the Rings films. You’ll explore the Hobbiton Movie Set and village, where Bilbo Baggins lived and the quest for the ring began. Have your photo taken in front of a hobbit hole or the by the pond while your guide entertains you with the stories and insider dish about filming these Hollywood blockbusters in New Zealand.You don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings movie lover to enjoy this tour with all its wonderful North Island scenery, but if you are, this tour will be all the more special.

$107.79 Outdoor Activities

Rotorua Eco Thermal Small Group Morning Tour

After morning pickup from your Rotorua hotel, travel about 25 minutes in a comfortable minivan to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, taking in the sight of farmland and forests as you drive.Upon arrival at Wai-O-Tapu, your experienced guide leads you along well-marked paths to reach a series of brilliantly colored natural pools of steaming hot water that bubble with geothermal activity. Hear a morning presentation about the Lady Knox Geyser and watch the daily eruption that shoots a fountain of water high into the air. Your guide explains how the Tarawera Volcano eruption in 1866 formed the park's natural hot springs that glow in bright yellow, orange and turquoise colors. Your guide also points out examples of how the native bush regenerated after the eruption. As you take in bubbling mud pools, steaming lakes and more, you’ll understand why Wai-O-Tapu is considered one of the world’s most surreal places.Expect a leisurely walk along wide trails with plenty of time for photo ops and informative commentary from your guide. Feel free to ask any questions that you may have as you admire the otherworldly beauty of Wai-O-Tapu. See even more geothermal spots during a short drive through the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Your guide explains the ways that local Maori people have used the sites as well as how New Zealand’s volcanic processes work. At the end of your 4-hour tour, your guide returns you to your Rotorua hotel.

$110.58 Cultural & Theme Tours

Hobbiton Movie Sets Shore Tour: Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit

Escape into the enchanting world of JRR Tolkein’s imagination – on a trip to the Hobbiton Movie Set and farm. Intricately recreated after being used as a film set for both the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, this tour will take you to another world set deep in New Zealand farming countryside.Whether you have read the books, seen the movies, or neither at all - this is one day you won’t forget. Our expert guide will set the scene as we leave the Bay of Plenty region and climb over the Kaimai Ranges. Admire the amazing scenery before arriving at 'The Shire's Rest' visitors centre where your Hobbiton experience begins.Hobbiton Highlights: • Explore 44 Hobbit holes set across 12 acres of lush pasture and manicured gardens. You can even get pop inside a doorway for a souvenir photo. • Learn inside tips from your specialist guide and get wrapped up in the fascinating stories they tell. • Make a visit to Bag End, the Party Tree, Gandalf’s Cutting, The Mill House and more. For you movie buffs there are recognisable landmarks at every turn! • Cap off your tour with a complimentary ale, cider or ginger beer in the Green Dragon Inn…where you can sit by the fire, admire the expert craftsmanship and imagine life as a hobbit! This tour is provided by Tauranga's best Shore Excursion team. Also included on the itinerary is a stop at a local honey shop (with FREE tastings of fresh NZ honey and FREE honey ice cream), and a visit to a kiwifruit orchard to see how this quintessential New Zealand icon is grown. About us:Our team has been delivering world-class Shore Excursions for over 16 years. It all started with owner Ian - one man and a beloved Rolls Royce car. Today, the number of vehicles and tours has changed, but the philosophy hasn’t – every customer is treated like one of the family, and we will make sure you have an unforgettable day. We have over 100 years combined tour guiding experience so you know you are in capable hands (and if you’re lucky you may even get to travel with Ian – he still loves to get behind the wheel!).Travel in a modern, air conditioned vehicle with a passionate local as your host. We specialise in smaller groups to allow an intimate and personalised experience. Every tour is guided and commentated from start to finish - our guides delight in showing off our little corner of the world. And, we guarantee to have you back to the ship on time!

$178.03 Cultural & Theme Tours

Tauranga Shore Excursion: ‘Lord of the Rings’ Set, Rotorua

Your shore excursion begins with pickup from your cruise ship port at Tauranga. The scenic route to Middle Earth takes you across the Tauranga harbor bridge, then leaves the Bay of Plenty coast to climb the Kaimai mountain range and enter the Waikato district's lush farmlands.Arriving at Hobbiton near the town of Matamata in Waikato, meet your guide and take a two-hour tour of this famous movie set location. Enter the world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on a walk past hobbit holes, stand under the party tree and admire the gently rolling farmland that brought the Shire to life. Your Hobbiton tour concludes with a drink of beer, cider or ginger beer at the Green Dragon Inn.Your tour continues over the Mamaku mountain range and into Rotorua. Stop for lunch (own expense) beside Lake Rotorua, then continue to the living thermal village of Whakarewarewa.Accompanied by a Maori guide, admire the amazing thermal springs and bubbling mud pools, and see the famous Pohutu Geyser burst into life. Listen to your guide's fascinating commentary, and hear how people learned to live in harmony with the geothermal activity, cooking over steam vents and bathing in the hot springs.Your tour also takes you to the traditional Maori meeting house, Whare Tupuna, with its ancient wood carvings. See Maori customs and legends come to life when you experience a traditional Maori welcome, songs and dances, including the warlike Haka dance with its demonstration of fighting skills.The return trip to the port follows a different route, revealing more of New Zealand's scenic beauty. If time allows, stop at a redwood forest en route for a photo shoot -- with cloaks, hats, staffs and swords provided, you can dress up as Bilbo, Gandalf, Eowyn and other favorite characters from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for the ultimate souvenir of your trip to Middle Earth!Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Tauranga port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.