The Best Rotorua Family Activities for Winter

Rotorua! An incredible year-round destination packed full of culture, adventure and geothermal magic. Not often thought of as a winter destination, however, Rotorua comes alive in the winter and is one of the best times of year to visit. Check-out our list of Rotorua’s best winter activities!

The best Rotorua family activities for winter are:

1. Ride the Skyline Rotorua Gondola and Luge
2. Experience 3D Trick Art Gallery
3. Explore Lake Okareka Walkway
4. Play to Win at Motion Entertainment
5. Relax at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools
6. Redwoods Treewalk and Altitude 

The Rotovegas sign at Skyline Rotorua.
Image Credit: Keegan Jensen

1. Skyline Rotorua - A fully loaded family day out

Skyline Rotorua has been putting smiles on faces since 1985, introducing more fun-filled activities for families to enjoy year on year. 

A landscape photograph of the Skyline Rotorua complex, with Lake Rotorua and city in the background.
Image: Gorgeous shot of Skyline Rotorua with the lake and city below


A Fun, Family-Friendly Rotorua Activity!

Big enough to fit the whole family, (8 persons) the gondola is an activity that the whole family can enjoy together. Starting at the base of Mt Ngongotaha the gondola ride will take you to the top Skyline complex. On your journey, you’ll experience spectacular views of Lake Rotorua, Mokoia Island and the city of Rotorua.

Location: 178 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs, Rotorua
Price: See the most up-to-date gondola prices here. Under 5's ride the Gondola for free.

Family in a gondola, enjoying their ride.
Image: A family enjoying a Gondola ride


Fast-Paced Freedom

The perfect family activity, suitable for all ages. Park yourself into one of our custom New Zealand designed and built luge carts then blast down one of three awesome tracks.

  • Scenic: 2 kms of twists and turns through Californian redwoods.
  • Intermediate: A faster-paced track out in the open with views of Lake Rotorua, slightly shorter at 1.7 kms.
  • Advanced: a 1km super-fast, adrenaline-pumping ride with dips, a tunnel and sweeping corners sure to leave you buzzing with excitement.

Scenic track: 2kms, Suitable for all ages, 110cm required to ride, doubling allowed.
Intermediate track: 1.7kms, Suitable for all ages, 110cm required to ride, doubling allowed.
Advanced track: 1km, 10 years old and 135cm required to ride, no doubling allowed.

Family of four luging at Skyline Rotorua
Image: A family having fun on the Luge

2. 3D Trick Art Gallery

The first New Zealand themed trick art gallery. A unique experience that the whole family can enjoy.

The gallery is located indoors and able to be explored in all weather conditions.

With 5 themes to enjoy: Classic Art, Kiwi Life, Challenge, Fantasy, and Grand Nature you’re going to be entertained through the whole experience.

Location: 171 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs (Just down the road from Skyline Rotorua)
Price: Prices start from approximately $18 for children, $25 for adults, and family passes from $86

Women clinging onto Sky tower, 3D trick art.
Image Credit:

3. Lake Okareka Walkway

Just a short drive from downtown Rotorua is a collection of stunning lakes, including lake Okareka!

The Lake Okareka walkway is about 5 kms in total (2.5 kms each way) and is perfect for any fitness level/ ability. The walk begins at the Acacia Road car park and makes its way along the lake's edge.

The first section of the track goes through bush, before opening onto a boardwalk through wetlands. There’s plenty of birdlife to enjoy through here. There are information panels along the way sharing information about the lake, the walking track, and the wildlife in the area.

The walk then continues along a well-maintained track that will take you to Silver beach. A great place to have a muesli bar and recharge. At this stage you can turn around and head back the way you came or continue to the outlet, a few stairs and a narrow track will get you there.

This is a great option to get the kids outside to burn some energy and explore. Reward yourself (and the kids) by stopping at the Airstream café at Lake Tikitapu (Blue lake) on your drive back to Rotorua.

Location: 50/62 Acacia Road, Lake Ōkareka, Rotorua
Walking Time: 1.5 - 2hrs
Distance: 5kms

A couple walking along a the boardwalk at Lake Okareka, as the sun's setting.
Image Credit:

4. Motion Entertainment

Feeling the cold? Head to Motion Entertainment! It’s in the name “Motion,” there are so many indoor activities under one roof that’ll get you moving and keep you warm, dry and well entertained for hours on end.

Take your pick from the below activities… Or do them all!

Laser tag, an indoor trampoline park, a virtual reality simulator, mini golf, ten pin bowling, interactive video games and an escape room!

Location: 366 Te Ngae Road, Lynmore, Rotorua
Price: Activities start from approximately $13 for a child and $15 for an adult

Motion Entertainment carpark
Image Credit:

5. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

Located on the outskirts of Rotorua is this natural geothermal Gem! The perfect family escape suitable for all ages. The living waters of the thermal pools are 100% natural with no added chemicals. The water comes straight from the Te Manaroa spring, the largest source of boiling water in New Zealand.

The complex has many pools to choose from, most of which are suitable for children. For family fun try the big splash pool! If you’re up for a little adventure after your swim take the Eco trail to check out the Te Manaroa boiling spring, only 5 minutes’ walk from the hot pools.

Location: 648 Waikite Valley Road, Waikite Valley, Rotorua
Price: Prices start from approximately $11 for children, $20 for adults, and family concession from $53

Family enjoying a hot swim at Waikite Valley hot pools.
Image Credit:

6. Redwoods Treewalk and Altitude

Down Long Mile road, just minutes from downtown Rotorua your canopy adventure awaits you. Nestled high in Californian redwoods are a series of suspension bridges up to 20 metres high!

The tree walk loop is 700 metres long and can be enjoyed during the day or at night for a magical experience. No need for harnesses or special training, the course is designed with practicality and simplicity in mind (there are even custom-made baby strollers for your little ones.)

If the youngest member of your family is 10 years old or older try out the Altitude experience. A challenging and fun guided canopy experience, 25 metres high. The course is made up of 25 bridges, 3 ziplines, and 2 spiral staircases.

Professional guides will lead you around the 650m loop on their continuous safety system. Listen closely as they explain the redwood forest’s history, share their local knowledge and Maori legends. The entire Altitude experience will take around 2 hours to complete.

Location: 1 Long Mile Road, Lynmore, Rotorua
Treewalk prices start from approximately $20 for children, $30 for adults and $89 for a family

The Redwoods tree walk at night, and a woman enjoying the altitude experience.
Image Credit:

If you're planning the perfect family getaway to Rotorua...

Read on to discover how your family can make memories that will last a lifetime:

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