A busy three months marks the start of a bumper year of events which is expected to bring millions of dollars to the city.

The jam-packed summer schedule has events almost every weekend from now until the end of March and after that there's still loads more to look forward to.

Destination Rotorua consumer marketing manager Tom Worsp said many Rotorua hotels were reporting strong forward bookings, an early indicator the town would be busy over the next few months.

He said "high season" in Rotorua ran from mid-October to mid-April, which was a result of hard work by the visitor industry to bring people here for longer.


"We're fortunate in Rotorua to be able to attract big summer events like the Tarawera Ultramarathon, ZM's Float, the Lakeside concert and Crankworx. These help to draw domestic visitors from out of town.

"Not only do these visitors attend the events but they also spend money on accommodation, hospitality, retail and attractions, so the economic benefit is felt widely through the community."

Float music festival at Lake Tikitapu attracted thousands last year. Photo / File
Float music festival at Lake Tikitapu attracted thousands last year. Photo / File

Based on last year's spending by domestic and international visitors, Destination Rotorua believed the city could bring in millions of dollars from the events this year.

Crankworx organisers estimate the event will draw in at least $1 million a day based on the previous history. Last year the event drew in more than $4 million.

"In the year to October 31, 2018, total expenditure from international and domestic visitors was $830.6 million, a year-on-year increase of 5.2 per cent," Worsp said.

Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty president Reg Hennessy believed accommodation providers in Rotorua were "fairly chocker" but said it would be hard to give accurate figures as more people were using Airbnb.

NZ Bomb Comp tower at Lake Tikitapu last year. Photo / File
NZ Bomb Comp tower at Lake Tikitapu last year. Photo / File

"Every day I walk my dog up Fenton St and all the motels seem to have the no accommodation signs."

Hennessy, who owns Hennessy's Irish Bar, said Rotorua had become busier with tourists and domestic visitors in the past few years but did not believe it was just events that drew them in.


"The majority of people that I see coming into the CBD, I think they are here with their families enjoying what Rotorua has to offer that is more the natural things rather than events."

Summer: Now to February 28

The Summer Seafood Festival starts off a busy month, bringing seafood, sun and good music to Rotorua on February 2.

It is headlined by Sons of Zion on the music stage and by New Zealand Masterchef Brett McGregor on the cooking stage.

On Waitangi Day, Opera in the Pā returns after a four-year hiatus.

The concert's musical director Elisha Hulton previously told the its return was to honour the event's founder, Bill Kingi and his wife Gay.

The summer schedule also includes the ZM Float Festival and Flava's NZ Bomb Comp next month.

In its third year, ZM Float Festival is expected to attract more than 6000 people to Tikitapu (Blue Lake) on February 16 for New Zealand's only floating music festival.

The all-age festival brings together local talent, including Drax Project and Balu Brigada, and special guest star Stan Walker.

Flava's NZ Bomb Comp runs from February 14 to 17 alongside Float.

NZME brand engagement manager Kat Hicks expected the event to be bigger and better than last year.

Float music festival at Lake Tikitapu attracted thousands last year. Photo / File
Float music festival at Lake Tikitapu attracted thousands last year. Photo / File

"The Bomb Tower opens this year on Thursday and Friday evenings for bombs at just $5 for five bombs. This continues through Sunday morning until the Bomb Comp heats begin."

Registrations for the competition also allow unlimited bombs at any other time the tower is open.

"Sunday's competition day will offer a fantastic family day out at Tikitapu with prizes to win, entertainment from the bomb tower and Flava's radio announcers on site," Hicks said.

Autumn: March 1 to May 31

The annual Lakeside concert kicks off the Autumn events on March 9.

Lakeside 2019 Waiata Mai #past, present, future will feature artistic directors Rewa Ututaonga from Rotorua and Leon Wharekura from Huntly and among the line-up will be the Koi Boys, Mark Williams and Suzanne Lynch.

March fixture Crankworx is marking its fifth year in Rotorua this year and organiser Tak Mutu said it would be "massive".

The 2019 Enduro World Series kicks off at Crankworx and Mutu said the series was all but sold out.

The crowd watches in awe as a rider flips in the air.

Crankworx runs across six days from March 19 to 24. In previous years it has run over eight days but Mutu said there would be the same number of events happening, just in a shorter period.

Canada's Brett Rheeder thrills the crowd on his way to a Slopestyle gold medal last year at Crankworx. Photo / File
Canada's Brett Rheeder thrills the crowd on his way to a Slopestyle gold medal last year at Crankworx. Photo / File

Mutu estimated the event would draw more than 15,000 visitors to Rotorua and 40,000 to 50,000 would head to the Skyline site when it was open. Some riders had already visited the city, Mutu said.

"It's the first stop of the Crankworx world tour and the Enduro World Series so they're just trying to get themselves familiar with the trails."

Some of the spectator action will be free for Rotorua locals with proof of address.

Mutu said the event would have another focus: showcasing Māori culture and showing the arts and culture side of Rotorua to the world.

Tickets to Crankworx are on sale.

Later in March, the Rotorua Walking Festival returns for its 26th year.

The 26th annual Walking Festival brings in international crowds. Photo / File
The 26th annual Walking Festival brings in international crowds. Photo / File

Organising committee chairman Deryck Shaw said the festival would have a similar format to previous years but this year they were encouraging families to enter and holding a 5km family walk at a lower cost.

Shaw estimated about 1000 people would participate in the festival and it would attract overseas visitors.

"Most of our early bird entries have been international people from all around the world."

The Rotorua Walking Festival was held in several locations over the weekend.

Early bird entries to the festival close next Thursday.

If running is more your style, you can take on the Rotorua Marathon which marks 55 years on May 4.

The marathon is Australasia's oldest major marathon event and entries are open now.

Winter: June 1 to August 31

An icy event from June 5 to 9 will keep families cool but is a far cry from the summer heat many families are enjoying now.

The Harcourts Outdoor Ice Rink officially opened last night

With state-of-the-art, artificial ice rinks, the Ice Skate Tour travels around New Zealand and will be hosted by Western Heights Primary School at the beginning of winter.

Matariki is officially celebrated on June 10 and how that will be marked in Rotorua is yet to be revealed.

Winter favourite the Tough Guy & Gal Challenge is also expected to return to Lakes Ranch from August 21 to 24.

Last year the event attracted more than 2000 participants in its final day.

The challenge includes 6km and 12km options which include swamp crossings, tunnels and climbing under and over various obstacles.

Spring: September 1 to November 30

Eight months out from spring, the events calendar doesn't appear to feature much, though there is plenty of time to add to it before September.

The fishing season on Lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina, which comes to an end on June 30, reopens on October 1 after winter.

The start of the season attracts out-of-town anglers to lake shores and this year there will also be a number of Kids Fish Out days.

Fish & Game has a dedicated pool stocked with trout for the fish out days where expert anglers from the Rotorua Anglers Association teach children how to cast and catch a fish.

Summer: December 2019

Rotorua's New Year's Eve Festival Glo will be back this year, though the details of the annual festival are yet to be revealed.

This year an earlier finish time was trialled with fireworks from 9.30pm. Last year's event drew a crowd of about 15,000 enjoying food trucks, a free movie screening, entertainment and the fireworks.

The annual Christmas Parade is also expected to return.

What's on

• Saturday, January 26 – Sunday, January 27: Rotorua Noir, a crime writing festival. At Shambles Theatre, see www.rotoruanoir.com.
• Saturday, January 26 – Sunday, January 27: Blue Lake Multisport Festival featuring six events over two days. Enter at rats.org.nz.
• Saturday, February 2: Summer Seafood Festival, 12pm-6pm at Soundshell and Village Green. Headlined by Sons of Zion. Tickets from eventfinda.
• Wednesday, February 6: Opera in the Pā returns after a four-year hiatus. Rotorua Arts Village, 5.30pm. Headlined by Moses McKay, Pene Pati and Maitai Pati of Sol3 Mio, and Joel Amosa. Tickets from Ticketmaster.
• Saturday, February 9: Tarawera Ultramarathon. Schedule and information at www.taraweraultra.co.nz.
• Friday, February 15 – Sunday, February 17: Rotorua Home and Garden Show, Energy Events Centre, adults $6.
• Saturday, February 16: Float music festival at Tikitapu (Blue Lake). Features Drax Project, Mitch James and Stan Walker. 10am-6pm, tickets from GrabOne.
• Thursday, February 14 – Sunday February 17: New Zealand Bomb Comp. Register at www.nzbombcomp.co.nz.
• Sunday, February 24: Art in the Park, 10am-4pm at Government Gardens. Free entry, features more than 60 stalls.
• Sunday, March 3: Redwoods Children's Day: Featuring art, music and stories. Free, 1.30pm-4.30pm.
• Sunday, March 3: Copthorne Rotorua off-road half marathon. Information and entry at eventpromotions.co.nz.
• Saturday, March 9: Lakeside 2019 Waiata Mai. From 5pm at the Lakeside, free.
• Friday, March 8 – Sunday, March 10: Aotearoa Cuban Festival, Lakes Performing Arts Company.
• Saturday, March 16 – Sunday, March 17: Rotorua Walking Festival. Earlybird registrations close January 31. Go to www.rotoruawalkingfestival.org.nz.
• Saturday, March 16 – Sunday, March 17: Legend of the Lake, Ocean Swim Series. From 8.30am both days. Entry and details at oceanswim.co.nz.
• Tuesday, March 19 – Sunday, March 24: Crankworx Rotorua. Various locations and cost. Visit www.crankworx.com.
• Saturday, March 30 – Tuesday, April 2: Studebaker, 25th New Zealand Nationals. Details to come.
• Sunday, March 10: Afternoon music in Government Gardens 1pm - Evelyn Falconer, 2.15pm - Rhinestone Mining Company. More information at eventsandvenues.co.nz
• Sunday, March 17: Sunday afternoon music in Government Gardens 1pm - Elisha Hulton and Turanga Merito, 2.15pm - De Nova. More information at eventsandvenues.co.nz
• Sunday, April 7 - Thursday, April 11: 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion. Standard Payment closes April 5. Register online at iuhpe2019.com
• Wednesday, April 17: Sue Nicholson - Earth, Life & Beyond. Information and tickets at eventfinda.co.nz
• Saturday, May 4: Rotorua Marathon. Registration begins at 6.30am. Entry and details at 55throtoruamarathon.eventdesq.com
• Wednesday, June 5 - Sunday, June 9: Ice Skate Tour. Door sales only or book a group through iceskatetour.co.nz
• Monday, July 1: The Legacy Tour with Kelvin Cruickshank and TJ Higgs. Tickets and information at iticket.co.nz
• Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14: Rotorua Home & Lifestyle Show. Door sales only. Further details call 06 354 0498 or info@expos.co.nz.
• Saturday, August 24: Rotorua Loaded Tough Guy and Gal Challenge. Earlybird registration closes May 1. Go to eventpromotions.co.nz
• Tuesday, October 1: Trout fishing season reopens.
• Tuesday, December 31: GLO Festival expected to return to Rotorua Lakefront. Details to be confirmed.
Date unknown: Annual Christmas parade through Rotorua CBD.
Check out the daily What's On guide for regular updates.