Thousands of people are expected to descend on Rotorua this long weekend both to attend and participate in events or simply to make the most of the extra day off work.

Destination Rotorua's executive manager of visitor services Graham Brownrigg, who also manages the iSite, said Rotorua was always a popular destination on long weekends for both domestic travellers and local day trippers.

"It's an easy place to get to and there is so much to see and do here, so people come back time and time again.

"While events such as the A&P Show and the Ecomist Blue Lake Multisport Festival are part of that attraction, we know that the weather will also have an impact on numbers in town this weekend.


"The good news is that the forecast is for fine weather and I know that many of our tourism operators are preparing themselves for a busy weekend as a result."

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures show visitor spending makes up 9 per cent of Rotorua's GDP.

Destination Rotorua's executive manager of visitor services Graham Brownrigg, who also manages the iSite. Photo / File
Destination Rotorua's executive manager of visitor services Graham Brownrigg, who also manages the iSite. Photo / File

Brownrigg said accommodation was also filling up, although last minute bookings could still be made.

Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park manager Kelsi Hira said earlier in the week the park was about 80 per cent full but would likely be fully booked by the weekend.

"We are expecting a very busy one. We always fill up on Auckland Anniversary Weekend with between 700 and 800 people.

"We're always really busy but it's a really fun and exciting weekend. It's all the same families usually."

With more than 200 sites at the park, Hira said it took a lot to fill.

She said most of the visitors came from Auckland and visited to make the most of a long weekend rather than for any particular event.

Top 10 Blue Lake manager Kelsi Hira expects the park to be fully booked by the weekend. Photo / Ben Fraser
Top 10 Blue Lake manager Kelsi Hira expects the park to be fully booked by the weekend. Photo / Ben Fraser

Rotorua Moteliers Association chairwoman Shelley Hobson-Powell said Rotovegas Motel had been booked for about eight months and other motels would say the same thing.

"It's the same every year ... people are booking well in advance.

"Last weekend was the same because it was Wellington Anniversary Weekend."

A first this weekend is crime writing festival Rotorua Noir.

The two-day event is sold out and features authors from Australia, Iceland, Scotland and Finland, founder Grant Nicol said.

The festival includes workshops, author panels, and question and answer sessions and Nicol said he was excited to bring the country's crime writers together.


"We'll be getting every crime writer in New Zealand together under the same roof for a weekend. A few people have been toying with the idea for a while but now it's finally going to happen."

Blue Lake multisport festival. Photo / File
Blue Lake multisport festival. Photo / File

The annual A&P show is on tomorrow and a new one-day format is being trialled.

The weekend also has sporting events on offer including touch competition the 2019 Bunnings Northern Interprovincial Series touch tournament and the Ecomist Blue Lake Multisport Festival.

Touch New Zealand partnership manager Sandi Hackett said the tournament could draw between 2000 and 6000 people.

"As far as team numbers go there are 88 teams entered and that equates to about 1200 participants plus coaches, managers and physios.

"In general we work to about two to three support people per player so over the week we're expecting anywhere between 2000 and 6000 people."

A&P Show. Photo / File
A&P Show. Photo / File

Teams from eight provinces are entered and the visitors will all be staying at hotels and motels.

Multisport festival co-organiser Nicola Muggeridge said they were expecting a 50/50 split of local and out-of-town entrants.

"We've got six events across the weekend and for our kids' triathlon we've got competitors as young as 4 entered. With some of the other events, we've got people in their 70s.

"We tend to get entries from as far away as Auckland and Wellington but primarily from Tauranga, Taupō, Hamilton and Whakatāne."

Muggeridge said they expected about 500 participants, including elite athletes.

She said the event was positive for Rotorua because attendees would leave the festival in between events to explore Rotorua and eat, while others would pay for accommodation for the weekend.


"The event is across two days but a lot of people come into town on Friday night and don't leave until Monday."

The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists to plan ahead and expect the roads to be busy all weekend, not just at peak times.

"Those travelling should allow plenty of time for their journeys, drive to the conditions and plan ahead," Bay of Plenty systems manager Rob Campbell said.

"We also encourage people to check the travel section of our website or our social media pages so they can know the current road conditions."

The MetService forecast for the weekend is for mainly fine but partly cloudy weather.

Monday is shaping up to be the best day of the weekend with a forecast high of 29C compared to Sunday's 25C and Saturday's 23C as of yesterday.


What's on

A&P show: January 26, 8.30am to 5pm, Agrodome, adults $10, children under 15 free.

Rotorua Noir: Crime writing festival featuring workshops, Q&A and discussions, January 16 and 27, Shambles Theatre, sold out.

Multisport festival: January 26 and 27, Tikitapu (Blue Lake), six events for all ages including an aquathon, triathlons and open water swimming.

Touch tournament: January 26 and 27, Ray Boord, Westbrook Fields, including grades from under-10 to under-14 and teams from eight provinces.