One tourism operator hit record numbers and other businesses say Queen's Birthday Weekend ''brought life'' back to the city despite wild weather lashing the region yesterday.
Weeks of lockdown restrictions crippled many local retailers, however, an influx of out-of-town visitors had boosted morale.
Rotorua Moteliers Association chairman and Owner of Arista Rotorua motel Mike Gallagher said it had been a "really good" weekend for accommodation providers, with full rooms and a much-needed cash injection.
He said it had been nice to "engage with people again" and see the excitement guests had to be exploring the city.
"People have had such a good time and so many of our attractions have benefitted from it."
He said it was clear people were getting out and exploring their backyards.
Redwoods Treewalk owner Bruce Thomasen said it had been a "busy weekend" and the weather had played ball on both Saturday and Sunday.
The number of walkers was similar to Queen's Birthday last year, which was "hugely positive", he said.
"Business on a long weekend is around 200 to 300 per cent higher than a normal weekend."
The last few days had brought in welcomed cash flow to the tourism operator.
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"It shows that people are getting the confidence to get back out... it makes a huge difference for regional tourism."
He said there had been a large number of motorhomes with people coming from Auckland, Hawkes Bay and beyond.
Co-owner of Secret Spot Hot Tubs Rotorua Keith Kolver said it had been a "record weekend" for numbers with between 200 and 400 customers a day.
He said about 50 per cent of the customers had been new people, either from out of town or locals who had not been before.
This was "humbling", said Kolver, as they had been worried about what the weeks after lockdown may look like for their new business.
He said the support had been massive and a cracker weekend had made all the difference for them.
Both Saturday and Sunday saw town "bustling" with local cafes benefitting from the business.
Capers Epicurean marketing manager Philly Angus said it had been "really hectic" with a huge mix of local and visiting customers over the weekend.
She said the customers had "brought life" back into the cafe after so long and they were "so grateful".
The cafe was not currently at full capacity due to social distancing rules and they were excited for when things could go back to normal, she said.
"This weekend has really lifted all of our spirits again... it's been amazing to see everyone get behind us."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said it was "really good" to see people and businesses getting back into the swing of things.
He said he had heard that Rotorua had been "heavily booked" with tourist numbers.
"It is really positive and also a bit surprising."
After such a long "lock-up" and multiple long weekends missed, it seems that New Zealander's were getting their domestic holiday fix before winter, he said
WET WEATHER SPELLS TROUBLE FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS
Although the rain held off both Saturday and Sunday, wild weather swept the Bay of Plenty yesterday.
At 3pm, Rotorua had seen close to 10mm of rainfall in 12 hours, with heavy rain and strong wind watches in place for most of the day.
Strong winds caused trees to fall across the road on State Highway 30 near Lake Rotoma on Monday morning.
Fire crews spent about an hour working to clear it up and get traffic moving again, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said.
Many holidaymakers in the Coromandel found themselves stuck as hard downpours and strong winds saw trees down and flooding around the district.
Fire crews across the Bay of Plenty were kept busy as wild weather battered the region.
State Highway 25 between Tairua and Hikuai was closed as a result of flooding, with people describing the area as being "under water".
The Kopu area had the largest amount of rainfall in the whole country, with a whopping 204mm in 24 hours.
Stacey Lee Clarke, a Hikuai resident, posted on the Coromandel Peninsula Road Status Facebook group, saying "water is coming in fast with high tide not until a bit later".
Another poster, Sandra Morris, described Hikuai as being "underwater" as a result of the heavy rain.
According to the MetService the weather was looking to improve throughout the region today .
The city was expecting showers in the morning, turning to fine in the afternoon.