Rainbow Springs Rotorua

Rainbow Springs is a 22 acre wildlife park in Rotorua set amongst native trees and streams.

Rainbow Springs

Rainbow Springs

The park is located on Fairy Springs Road, next door to another popular attraction Skyline Rotorua. Rainbow Springs is open every day from 8.30 am till late. The last ticket is sold during winter at 9.30 pm, and 10 pm in the summer.

It is $40 for adult, $36 senior, $20 child (3-15 years). There are also family pass and annual passes available. They also do combo tickets for Rainbows Springs and Mitai Māori Village or the Agrodome.

The park, which first opened in 1932, has several walk through free flight aviaries where visitors can walk amongst branded rail, kaka, kākāriki, kereru, kingfisher and teal. There are also kea, morepork and weka enclosures.

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Bird aviaries and enclosures

Bird aviaries and enclosures

Streams flow throughout the park with hundreds of wild trout, such as rainbow, brown and tiger trout. Guests can get a bag of fish food to feed the trout from reception. There is also an underwater viewing area to see the large trout up close.

There is a tuatara and exotic lizards enclosure with mature and juvenile tuatara, as well as skinks, geckos, blue tongue lizards, water dragons and the Southern Belle Frog on display.

Each day at 11:30 am there is a free-flight Bird show held in a purpose built 384 seat outdoor auditorium. Once the doors are closed guests are not permitted to enter so aim to be seated at least 5 minutes before the show.

Bird Show

Bird Show

There is an excellent Kiwi enclosure with informative displays and a chance to spot scurrying kiwi. The outdoor kiwi enclosure has no glass and only a knee high fence. They also offer the opportunity to upgrade to a 30 minute Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter Tour. This guided tour costs $10 and covers the incubation, hatch and nursery rooms. If you are lucky you may get to see staff weighing a kiwi and recording its growth.

In 2012 Rainbow Springs opened their newest attraction The Big Splash, which is a nine minute flume ride that travels through New Zealand’s ecological evolution from dinosaurs and the Moa to the arrival of Māori and Europeans. The ride ends with 12 metre drop and splash. The Big Splash operates between 9am and 5pm with unlimited rides.

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The Big Splash

The Big Splash

There is also an interactive children’s playground and exotic bird aviaries located near The Big Splash.

The Wairere Café is located next two trout pools and a 4 metre high water fall. It is open 9am to 4pm (weekends 5pm) with indoor and outdoor seating. They do a variety of hot food, sandwiches, savouries and cakes.

Wairere Café

Wairere Café

Parana Park

Parana Park is a children’s playground located on Memorial Drive in Hamilton East.

Parana Park

Tui chick and egg sculpture, Parana Park

Parana Park, was gifted to Hamilton City by George Parr. In his will Mr. Parr gifted the house located at 3 River Road to be used as a home for children recovering from illness. The land surrounding the house was to be used as a children’s playground. It became apparent that home was not suitable for a children’s convalescent home and the 1958 Hamilton City (Parana Park) Empowering Act was established to give the Council more control over managing the park.

The name Parana does not have anything to do with piranhas in the pond. That is a joke. The name came from a combination of Mr. Parr’s name and that of Annie McPherson who planted the trees on the property.

Parana Park

Parana Park

In April 2012, the playground reopened after an extensive upgrade, which included new paths, sculptures and a viewing platform.

The park has been designed with a kōwhai theme. There is a 300-jet fountain shaped liked a kōwhai seed, a slide shaped like kōwhai flower and viewing platform overlooking the Waikato River shaped like a kōwhai leaf.

Kōwhai tress are a small legume trees with yellow blooms native to New Zealand. Kōwhai is also the Māori word for yellow, a reference to the colour of the flower. Although not officially recognised the kōwhai flower is often seen as New Zealand’s national flower.

300 jet Kowhai seed shaped fountain

300-jet kōwhai seed shaped fountain

Kowhai shaped slide

Kōwhai flower shaped slide

There is also a small amphitheatre, playhouse and an aviary in the park.

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Aviary, Parana Park

Aviary, Parana Park