Visitors and locals alike will be able to travel to Rotorua attractions in style and safety at night thanks to Big Red.

Big Red is the double decker bus locals and tourists may have spotted around Rotorua recently.

It is a remodelled 1974 Leyland Atlantean.

Headfirst Travel BALL promoter Dave McRae said he was amazed by the support from the community and business sector.


"We began in October with the SnapshOt city sights tour of Rotorua and the last few months have been a settling in period.

"We needed to make sure our timetable worked for everyone and give some time for Big Red to learn the route."

Labelled a hop-on hop-off service, SnapshOt customers jump on and off the open topped bus as they please, visiting many of Rotorua's top scenic attractions.

These include the Rotorua Museum, the Polynesian Spa, the Redwoods and Te Puia.

"It's proved very, very popular."

From today the bus will be offering visitors a night service to get to and from night venues around Rotorua.

It will be in conjunction with Big Red's regular daytime SnapshOt as a 24-hour pass for $39.

Regular trips from 5.30pm to 10.30pm will visit motels and hotels along Fenton St and Lake Rd on the way to and from Eat Streat, Polynesian Spa, Te Po, Mitai, Skyline and Rainbow Springs, Mr McRae said.

Data released by Statistics New Zealand last week reported a record September for nights spent in commercial accommodation in Rotorua with hotels, motels, backpacker hostels and holiday parks hosting 156,700 visitor nights for the month.

That was up 13,900 nights, or 10 per cent, on September 2015, compared with a 6 per cent increase nationally.

The Rotorua Attractions and Activities Monitor also reported a record September with 201,700 visits, up 37,800, or 23 per cent, on the previous year.

Rotorua Visitor Centre and iSite manager Graham Brownrigg said the double decker bus service was a well-recognised concept abroad.

"This initiative will allow visitors, particularly those without vehicles, more flexibility to explore and make the most of their time in the region.

Area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said the night service would certainly offer benefits for tourists.

"It offers an element of safety and support by being connected with a 'local' driver and an opportunity to connect with like-minded people.

"I see the service as being a positive experience. Tourists needn't necessarily rent a vehicle when they can be driven about in Big Red to attend venues, so there are some safety benefits there."

Night schedule servicing, 5.30pm to 10.30pm:
- Te Po
- Mitai
- Rainbow Springs
- Skyline
- Eat Streat restaurants
- Polynesian Spa
- Lake Rd
- Fenton St