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  1. New Zealand
  2. Bay of Plenty Region
  3. Rotorua
  4. Lake Tarawera

Rotorua City: 1-hour Private Guided Walking Tour

Product ID: 113065
Looking for a personalized tour with a friendly local? An historic living Maori village with hissing steam, boiling hot pools and culturally significant sites? Or just discovering what most visitors never get to see or do? Look no further.
About this activity
Duration: 1 hour
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Wheelchair accessible
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:



  • Visit one of New Zealand's only living Maori and geothermal villages - also the spiritual home to the well known Morrison family.
  • See how mother nature provides for daily bathing, cooking and heating.
  • Enter one of the few beautifully carved churches left in New Zealand and take time to appreciate its peacefulness.
  • Meet knowledgeable and friendly locals that are passionate about sharing their culture, history and stories with people from around the world.
  • Learn why Rotorua is the birthplace of tourism in New Zealand and the cultural heart of the Nation.
Full description
This is a one hour personalized guided walking tour through the Māori village of Ohinemutu, Rotorua. This place is home to the Ngāti Whakaue tribe, a sub-tribe of the Te Arawa waka (canoe) which journeyed from the Pacific homeland of Hawaiiki to New Zealand around 1350AD. The location was chosen for its lakeside setting and abundant geothermal energy, used for cooking, bathing and heating. The tour begins with a short walk up Pukeroa Hill providing scenic views of Lake Rotorua, Mokoia Island and Ohinemutu. Learn about the geological make up of the city and the local Maori legends that makes this city unique in New Zealand. Other tour features include the importance of Mokoia Island and Mt Ngongotaha, how tourism began in New Zealand, the war memorial cemetery and notable people and families that are from Ohinemutu Village.

Ohinemutu became the main centre for the Rotorua region in the early 1870s. Visitors, including royalty, arrived at this bustling settlement before going on to visit the Pink and White terraces at Lake Tarawera, and to experience the healing waters of Rotorua. Today the village retains a sense of importance. The large meeting house provides the setting for many significant occasions for the people of this area. Visitors may also encounter community events like a wedding, funeral, concert or a tribal meeting on the tour of which the guide will explain. View the cooking arrangements over the boiling hot water vents and see the outdoor bathing sheds. Ohinemutu is home to the Te Papaiouru Marae and the Tama-te-Kapua meeting house, named after the paramount chief and captain of the Te Arawa canoe. The carving on the large meeting house is exquisite and highlighted by hundreds of inlaid shiny paua shells. Although the house is not open to the public the guide will explain its significance and visitors can still enjoy it from the outside. Towards the lake's edge is the historic and magnificently decorated St Faith’s Church, which was completed in 1914. While its exterior is Tudor-style, the church interior has a strong Māori influence, with beautiful carvings and woven panels. A memorable feature is a window etched with the image of Jesus wearing a Māori cloak (korowai) – he appears to be walking across the surface of the lake.

The guides are specialists in Rotorua history, Maori myth and legends, sharing their knowledge and life experiences of growing up within Rotorua and being Maori and or being married to Maori and having Maori children. After the tour visitors are encouraged to stroll through the area revisting particular spots of interest. Visitors that book a private walkng tour help contribute towards maintaining the historic buildings and sites for everyone to enjoy and will leave with a better understanding and appreciation of a rich and living culture.
  • A private one hour guided tour that is personalized to suit
  • Entry into St Faith's Anglican church

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

1 Mataiawhea Street, Rotorua Lakefront, Rotorua - the carpark area behind St Michael's church

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Important information
Know before you go
• The tour includes walking up and down some hills and operates all year around including during inclement weather
• It is wheelchair friendly and is outdoors so visitors are recommended to have appropriate footwear, clothing and accessories
• It is best to have children in their strollers for the duration of the tour and to be supervised at all times
• If visitors have special requirements, it is recommend that these are made clear at the time of booking
Organized by

Epic Maori New Zealand

Product ID: 113065