Rotorua: Government Gardens Walking Tour

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Join a walking tour of Government Gardens in the center of Rotorua. Learn about the unique story of New Zealand's only government-run spa town.


  • Smell the sulphur and feel the heat from the geothermal features
  • Enjoy a historic walking tour undertaken by a former museum curator
  • Get to know the town's unique history and curious spa treatments
  • Learn about the local landscape and the birds that live here
  • Cater to your interests and choose between a shorter or longer walk


Begin your tour in Sulphur Bay and learn how the Māori knew about the special qualities of these waters for centuries and how in the 19th century Pākehā (non-Māori) traveled from around the country to sit in hot pools and springs because of their healing powers. Continue around the lakefront and walk through the Government Gardens to learn about the construction of various bathhouses over 100 years or so to be the South Seas version of a European-style spa.  Using historic photographs your guide will bring to life the risks and unusual treatments undertaken by patients keen to ‘take the cure’ in Rotorua. Listen to your guide as they tell you about interesting historical figures, the geothermal activity and how it works, what exactly the scary-looking therapies and treatments given to patients were, and about the flora and fauna of the area. At the end of your walk, have the option of continuing to the new luxury Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa on the lakefront where there is a cafe. The shorter version of the walk is a circular walk, returning to the starting point.


Walking tour Guide

Important Information

  • This walk has 2 toilet stops The walk requires moderate fitness and currently is not wheelchair accessible A wheelchair-accessible variation of the walk is available

Easy cancellation

Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund


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