Soak your troubles away in Rotorua. © Tourism Rotorua

Five picks for a weekend in Rotorua

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1. Experience great heights

Join Canopy Tours, a series of ziplines through the Mamaku Forest, where you’ll whiz off platforms – some more than 40 metres above ground and built around 1,000-year-old kauri trees. The untouched scenic reserve is one of few areas left as Māori would have experienced more than eight centuries ago. You’ll be treated to bird’s eye views of ponga fern canopies, spread like bright green umbrellas on a crowded beach. The guides are a wealth of knowledge, pointing out native wildlife, like the rare North Island robin. 

2. Get your blood pumping

For more adrenaline, head to Velocity Valley to push your limits further. A trip to one of New Zealand’s most thrilling adventure park that boasts rides called ‘Freefall Xtreme’ and ‘Swoop’ is good fun. Go for a blat on the Agrojet.

On a man-made lake that doesn’t look big enough for tricks, you’ll board a jet boat, buckle up, and within the blink of an eye be launched into 100km/h speeds.

For a thrilling 4WD buggy ride, some clay bird shooting and a horse trek, call in to see the team at Adventure Playground. At Skyline Rotorua you can let your competitive side come out, and race friends and a family down the luge track, in a part go-kart, part toboggan.    

3. Indulge

You’ll be spoilt for choice with places to eat and drink; after all, there’s a buzzing strip of bars and restaurants named 'Eat Streat'. For a wicked seafood buffet, take a gondola up to Skyline Rotorua’s Stratosfare Restaurant, perhaps having a drink at Volcanic Hills wine tasting beforehand. For a more traditional bite, hangi-style sweet corn, kūmara, potato, pumpkin and chicken are on the menu at Te Puia. Food is cooked underground at 98 degrees in a steam box. Nature’s a pretty phenomenal force when you can utilise underground geothermal activity to cook a meal.

4. Relax

Take a break from all the adventure, and soak in the soothing, thermal waters at Polynesian Spa.

Boasting lakefront views, the hot pools are nestled among boulders and ferns. Waters can aid aches and pains, leaving the skin smooth.

There’s also a range of indulgent spa treatments available. 

5. Stretch your legs

The Redwoods is a seriously striking and beautiful forest that’ll leave you feeling rejuvenated by nature. It’s home to towering pine trees, leisurely walking and cycling tracks and a crystal-clear blue stream.

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