Top 5 Things To Do In Rotorua At Night
While daytime in Rotorua means lazy lake cruises on classic steamboats or excursions out to the geothermal attractions that's made the region famous, the night has an altogether different set of attractions. Check out this list of the top nocturnal activities in the town, coming with bubbling spas and mysterious Maori rituals.
1. Redwoods Treewalk
It's one thing wondering up at the lanky redwoods of the wild Whakarewarewa Forest during the daytime, it's a totally different experience at night. Cue the nocturnal Redwoods Treewalk, an experience that fuses the organic lighting art of Hawke's Bay's-own David Trubridge with the majestic natural setting of the woodlands south of Rotorua.
As visitors stroll the timber boardwalks above the forest floor, more than 30 individual lanterns illuminate the canopy, and a palette of soothing blues, purples, magentas, and greens glow softly behind the boughs. It's an otherworldly, ethereal experience that gives a whole other perspective of North Island's wild backcountry.
2. Maori Village Experience
Fires crackle beneath the lurching trunks of the redwood trees. Painted Maori warriors blow shell flutes and traditional instruments under the gaze of the moon. Tribal huts huddle next to haunting totems and carved Tiki woods. Welcome to Te Pā Tū. Prepare to be wowed with ritual dances and face tattooing ceremonies, not to mention a whole hangi meal and the age-old cuisine of the Kiwi natives. In all, these nocturnal trips take 4 hours, and include a free shuttle bus to and from your accommodation in Rotorua city.
3. Evening Geyser Tour
Another chance to immerse yourself in the ancient ways of the Maori comes with the Cultural Performance & Evening Geyser package at Te Puia. Held sacred in the stories of the Kiwi folk of old, the spurting water jets and bubbling springs here are the perfect backdrop for getting to grips with the welcoming rituals and deep-held traditions of Rotorua's own tribe: The Te Arawa.
Then comes the hangi smorgasbord, with veg and meats all cooked in ancient pit ovens, served with a side of a manuka honey-laced tipple. And to dust it all off? Well, a nocturnal tour of the geothermal fields, with fizzing geysers beneath the twinkling North Island stars, of course.
4. Eat Street
Situated at the lake-front end of Tutanekai Street, 'Eat Street' is Rotorua's main dining hub. T he street is packed full of restaurants and bars with all offering al fresco dining. Cuisine options on Eat Street include Italian, Indian, Thai, Pub, Steak, Pizza and New Zealand. It's a family friendly place with plenty of casual dining options and child friendly menus. There's even an ice cream parlour.
The sheltered structure means outdoor dining can be enjoyed all year round. What's more, the sound of live music can usually be heard during the busier evenings, adding to the ambience. Read more in our Eat Street Guide.
5. Twilight Spa at Hells' Gate
The ancient Maori have long extolled the healing powers of Rotorua's natural mud pools and springs. Today, people flock from all over to bathe in the bubbling ponds and steaming waters, while some lucky folk get to do just that under the gaze of the glistening moon and stars.
A truly unique and romantic package that's offered by the Hell's Gate Spa just north-east of Rotorua, guests on this one enjoy late-night access to the mud pools and bathing spots, all while watching the sunset dim down and the twilight emerge over the sprawling geothermal park and its so-called Steaming Cliffs.