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Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Beach
“This is one of the most popular surf beaches in the country, as you drive along Ocean Beach Road and Marine Parade this really tells a story of the type of people who holiday or live at this beautiful seaside resort town. The main beach is great for swimming in the summer months, “swim between the flags” that way if you get into trouble, you will get rescued by surf lifesavers if you raise your hand. Or just stroll along the boardwalk, check out some cafes or boutiques. If you’re feeling more energetic climb Mauao (this is the name of the mountain) which locals love to run or walk up. It takes approx 40 mins up and about 20 mins down. Take in the sights as you go up and enjoy an ice-cream afterwards at the famous Copenhagen cones across the road from the hot pools (they are salt and also really worthwhile). Ask the locals if you can’t find Copenhagen cones but usually you can smell it before you get there. The main shopping street Maunganui Road is also really good for shops, souvenirs, bars, cafes and restaurants. Drive time from 360 Clayton Rd - 1-hour Our sun is really harsh in NZ, so wear hats, cover up and apply 30+SPF sunscreen”
  • 168 locals recommend
Shopping Centre
“The Bayfair Mall has recently been refurbished [2019], and is packed with a great selection of delicious eatery’s.”
  • 67 locals recommend
Trail
“I love doing the treewalk at night time, the forest is lit up by incredible lights!”
  • 64 locals recommend
Pedestrian Plaza
“Dont know what to eat and where. Eat Streat is a pedestrian only covered collection of rotorua dining establishments. From ice creams to fine dining is catered for”
  • 59 locals recommend
Pool
“Very popular hot pools located at the base of Mauoa. Perfect on a chilly day/night. A local favourite and open till 10pm daily.”
  • 46 locals recommend
Restaurant
$$
“Great bar for groups of all sizes. Cool buzz once it really gets going about 10pm, lots of live music over the Christmas break.”
  • 42 locals recommend
Café
“Great food and heaps of it. (smorgamboard)You travel up by gondola to the restaurant. On your way up you will get a panoramic view of Rotorua and its lake. You can even see your host's house. There is a host of activities that are too many to mention here”
  • 62 locals recommend
Natural Feature
“Enjoy a short hike along the Waikato river to the Huka falls or hire a bike from the local Huka Cycles. ”
  • 51 locals recommend
Hot Spring
“Great place to relax outdoors with different levels of warmth in different pools ”
  • 46 locals recommend
Art Gallery
“Donation only to see artifacts and pieces of art from national and local artists. ”
  • 28 locals recommend
Café
$
“Upmarket bar and restaurant. Good cocktails, fireplace with lounge area, booths and cocktail tables. Good is quite nice too. ”
  • 39 locals recommend
Scenic Viewpoint
“Certainly worth the effort to climb this beauty. If you're fit then a 20 to 30 minute hike to the top...but why rush! Not good for those with knee issues as lots of stairs. A walk around the Mount is also a great experience. I prefer to go clockwise so you're facing the beach side on completion....lots of cafes along the beach front along with public toilets and water stations. An easy 45 minute amble. Just 3.5 km around the base of the Mount.”
  • 48 locals recommend
Beer Bar
$$
“Craft beer or cider paddles. Great dumplings. A very popular bar just 5 km from your accommodation.”
  • 40 locals recommend
River
“It's amazing to see the volume of water feeding New Zealand's largest river, the mighty Waikato. ”
  • 36 locals recommend
Cinema
“You can walk there! Massive chain theatre, they have four theatres and up-to-date releases.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Place to shop
“Domain Road approx 7km. Two large Supermarkets (Countdown or Pak n Save), Banks and ATMs, variety store, Food Hall, tavern (Papamoa Tavern), Petrol Stations (“Z” full service) and Pak n Save (discount if you shop), plus a range of stores to meet daily needs.”
  • 22 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Restaurant
“Great bar for groups of all sizes. Cool buzz once it really gets going about 10pm, lots of live music over the Christmas break.”
  • 42 locals recommend
Café
“Great food and heaps of it. (smorgamboard)You travel up by gondola to the restaurant. On your way up you will get a panoramic view of Rotorua and its lake. You can even see your host's house. There is a host of activities that are too many to mention here”
  • 62 locals recommend
Café
“Upmarket bar and restaurant. Good cocktails, fireplace with lounge area, booths and cocktail tables. Good is quite nice too. ”
  • 39 locals recommend
Beer Bar
“Craft beer or cider paddles. Great dumplings. A very popular bar just 5 km from your accommodation.”
  • 40 locals recommend
Bar
“A very popular bar/restaurant located on the main street. Great food and wonderful service. Bookings recommended during the busy season.”
  • 18 locals recommend
Restaurant
“We love this spot for Taupo's best fine dinning experience. It usually has a great deal on a three course meal. The courses are not huge and over all its good value for money. We find its smart/casual so not too over the top.”
  • 21 locals recommend
Restaurant
“A good bistro type place to go. Good for a drink and bar snacks but also good for a meal. Its not fine dinning but has good bistro type meals and good sized platters. Its cozy and warm in winter. It is also open for lunch. ”
  • 25 locals recommend
Restaurant
“The best restaurant in town, with tapas-style sharing plates. A great place to go if it's a special night or you feel like spoiling yourselves. Best to book!”
  • 27 locals recommend

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