You don’t have to look far to experience Rotorua’s geothermal wonders—hissing geyers and bubbling mud pools can be found all around the city. Visits to Rotorua’s natural hot springs are also a popular pastime. Here are some of the best options.
Government Gardens Rotorua
Queens Drive, Rotorua, North Island
The Government Gardens are the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll in Rotorua. This 50-acre (20-hectare) compound on the shore of Lake Rotorua was given to the Crown by local Maori tribes (iwi). The area was transformed from a patch of scrubland peppered with therapeutic hot pools into a public park with manicured lawns.
A bowling club, petanque club, and croquet lawn appeal to all ages, while children can also make use of climbing structures and a shaded play area in the rose garden. Opt for a narrated sightseeing tour of Rotorua highlights, combined with other points of interest, or ride an amphibious “duck” vehicle that takes you past the Government Gardens before cruising the lake.
Our tour guide was Stephen. He was great and gave us a lot of information. There were ample stops to take pictures. This was our first experience of booking a tour outside our cruise ship. The information about the meeting place was clear. It was so refreshing to be on a smaller van with less than 15 people. It was obvious this tour group knew what they were doing and ran a very professional tour.
Marjorie_S, Apr 2020
Things to Know Before You Go
Visitors can combine a driving tour that visits landmarks in the public park with guided sightseeing beyond Rotorua.
Guests can also swim or soak in geothermally heated pools at the historic Blue Baths, but call ahead to make sure the baths are not closed for a private event.
The Government Gardens offer one of the city’s most serene spots for a picnic.
How to Get There
The Government Gardens are located on Queens Drive, on the shores of Lake Rotorua in central Rotorua. Pickup from centrally located hotels is provided on most tour itineraries, but the site is an easy stroll from downtown.
When to Get There
The gardens are open daily from 10am until 6pm. Spring is a delightful time to visit, when visitors can listen to the birdsong that rains down from the branches of exotic trees, and take time, literally, to smell the abundant roses and other flowers that burst with color.
Stepping Back in Time in Rotorua
To add to the impeccable nature of the gardens, an ornate Bath House building was constructed on the property and now stands as a piece of architectural history. The building houses the Rotorua Museum of Art and History, though it was damaged in a recent earthquake. The museum is well worth a visit when it reopens.
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