Rotorua is situated in the central North Island of New Zealand, making it easily accessible from most parts of New Zealand and the world!

As a popular tourist destination, Rotorua is part of The Great New Zealand Touring Route on the Thermal Explorer Highway and the Pacific Coast Highway. The Thermal Explorer Highway is a popular self-drive tour, which includes fabulous places to explore such as Rotorua, Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, Waitomo and Hawkes Bay. With so many itinerary routes available to and from Rotorua, visitors can travel down one way and then take a different route back – providing a fabulous opportunity to experience the entire region.

If you decide to drive to Rotorua, the following drive times are a guide only.

Drive time to Rotorua

  • From Auckland: 3 hours 20 mins
  • From Hamilton: 1 hour 35 mins
  • From Tauranga: 1 hour 15 mins
  • From New Plymouth: 4 hours 15 mins
  • From Waitomo: 2 hours 20 mins
  • From Taupo: 1 hour 10 mins
  • From Palmerston North: 4 hours 50 mins
  • From Wellington: 6 hours 35 mins

Travelling by bus or coach is a great option for those that want to enjoy the scenery whilst leaving the driving to someone else. Plus you don’t have to worry about reading maps! InterCity is New Zealand’s largest coach network and has connections to Rotorua from Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton, Taupo, Whakatane, Gisborne, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings and Wanganui. A popular bus services for those travelling New Zealand on a budget is the Naked Bus, which services Rotorua as part of its touring route. If you prefer someone else to arrange your holiday itinerary I suggest you contact one of the many private coach charter companies that include Rotorua within their group tour.

Flying is a quick and easy way to get in and out of Rotorua and there are daily national air service links with Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. Please also remember that you can fly from almost any city in New Zealand to Rotorua, however you will have to take a connecting flight at some stage of the journey. Rotorua airport is only a 15 minute drive from the city.

Once you are in Rotorua it is pretty easy to get around the area due to the good range of coach, taxi, shuttle and rental vehicle services available. Travelling across the city is a pretty easy mission as it only takes 20 minutes, while many tourist attractions and activities are located within walking distance of the CBD. From scooter and bicycle hire to personalised tours and campervan rentals, you will easily find transport to suit your budget and requirements at the i-SITE Tourism Rotorua Visitor Information & Travel Centre.

If you prefer to see the region by air I recommend something a little bit special with Volcanic Air Safaris. This Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Activity offers an extensive range of scenic flights by helicopter or floatplane.