The school holidays are just around the corner, so two of our awesome kiwi guides, Santraea and Cam, have put together their favourite kid-friendly outdoor activities. These great outdoor activities will help you keep the education going throughout the holiday break and get the kids outside.
Santrea and Cams Top Outdoor Activities:
- Explore untouched native forest
- Go Camping
- Play Nature Bingo
- Teach the kids about our geothermal wonders
- Go biking
Photo: Learn about conservation and what New Zealand once was like with Rotorua Canopy Tours
1. Native Forest Zipline Adventure
Cam's favourite pick for your outdoor activities is an eco-tour with Rotorua Canopy Tours! They will teach you all about conservation and what New Zealand was once like. A big part of the work Canopy Tours does in their incredible native forest is restoring this beautiful place back to its original state. The kids will enjoy the thrill of ziplines in between learning about what they are doing to help our native species thrive. Plus, everyone who comes on tour becomes a part of the conservation story, with part of your ticket sale contributing towards all their conservation efforts. Find out more about our their conservation here.
Photo: Our fantastic kiwi guides Santraea and Cam
2. Go Camping at Cam and Santraea's favourite spots
Urchin Campsite - Santraea's pick
Located in Kaimanawa Forest Park is an awesome free campsite - Urchin Camping Area. Bring the tent for a night of camping under the stars and go on a family adventure with some kid-friendly outdoor activities near by. The Kaimanawa Forest Loop Walk, is an easy 20-minute loop track which starts and finishes at the entrance to the campsite. If you're after something a bit longer, the track from the Urchin Campsite to the Pillars of Hercules takes about 30-minutes one way and wanders through kamahi forest. On the walk you’ll see the incredible Pillars of Hercules, a dramatic deep chasm which was an ancient lava flow that has been eroded by the Tonagriro River.
Dalys Clearing Hut - Cam's pick
In the Kaimai Mamaku Ranges is Daly’s Clearing Hut, a great option if you’re keen to tackle your first overnight trip with the kids. This accessible hut has 16 bunks and a separate dining and living space. The trail is relatively flat following the beautiful Waitawheta Valley before turning west. Allow between 80-140 minutes one way. Find out about the tickets required for the hut here.
Photo: Daly's Clearing Hut
3. Play Nature Bingo
While you’re out in nature, teach the kids all about the scenery and wildlife surrounding them. If you're doing any outdoor activities including camping or walking, get the kids spotting native birds like the kereru and the tui, or teach them to tell the difference between our native trees. You can get the kids engaged with the bark bingo or nature ramble sheets below. There are some great outdoor activity sheets available online, or you can create you own.
Bark bingo – https://kcc.org.nz/portfolio/bark-bingo/
4. Teach the kids about our geothermal wonders
Waiotapu Boardwalk - Cam's favourite
Our geothermal wonders are pretty unique in the Rotorua region and getting up close to boiling mud doesn’t get much easier than the Waiotapu Boardwalk. The mud pools are just a few minutes from the car park, so the kids will be quickly entertained with the smells and splatter of the mud.
Crater Lake Walk - Santraea's favourite
Crater Lake Walk near Rainbow mountain is another awesome geothermal outdoor activity. The track is about 1km (15 minutes one way) walking under regenerating kanuka and leads to a vista of barren orange and red steaming cliffs. If you’re up to it, you can continue on the track up to the summit of Rainbow Mountain (3.5km one way).
Photo: Rainbow Mountain Crater Lake Walk
5. Go biking at Cam and Santraea's top places to ride
Craters of the Moon - Santraea's favourite
Our last pick for your Easter outdoor activities is biking. Craters of the Moon is a purpose-built mountain bike park with over 50km of single track trails. The tracks range from easy entry level (grade 2) through to technical cross country (grade 4-5) so you’ll be able to find the right track for all abilities. The trails are great all year round, even after rain, as the volcanic pumice soils have great draining qualities.
Te Ara Ahi - Cam's favourite
Another great biking option is Te Ara Ahi. This Thermal by Bike trail is a grade 2-3 cycle trail that offers incredibly unique scenery including geysers, steaming vents and bubbling mud pools. The 48km track is shared by walkers and has multiple access points and parts of the course which range from easy to intermediate to suit all riders’ abilities. This trail crosses some of Rotorua’s incredible geothermal spots and is rich in Maori culture - definitely one of the best biking outdoor activities.
Photo: Te Ara Ahi trail
We hope this has given you some inspiration to start planning your outdoor activities for the holidays. If you’re staying in the region you can also check out Things to do in Rotorua.
- Santraea and Cam