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Rotorua has recently started a government subsidised local service. It runs every day except Sunday.
There are ten routes in total but the ones of most interest to tourists will be the service to and from the Airport (route 10), Ngongotaha (Route 1) and Fenton Park Polytech (Route 2). There is also a twice daily service to Tauranga departing early in the morning and return in the early evening/late afternoon. The airport service massively undercuts the taxis and the airport shuttle although it means you might have to do some walking to your accomodation if it's not en-route.
Route 1: Ngongotaha, runs out to the Agrodome past the Kiwi Encounter and Skyline Skyrides.
Route 2: Fenton Park Polytechnic, runs out to Whakarewarewa, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Ti Puia.
They offer discounts for students. If you are likely to be using the service frequently then you can buy a card and put money onto it (kind of like a bus credit account) giving you a reduction on the standard fare.
Timetables and route maps are available from the drivers and tourist information. They cost a dollar. It's best to flag down a bus rather than wait for it to stop. At the Agrodome, for example, there is no marked stop so you need to flag.
You can get more information from the Cityride website.
Taxis can take you to alll areas, but can be costly. Car hire is readily available, with all the major chains having branches (taxes and insurance add-ons can be hefty), plus cheap operators like Ezi-rent and Rent-a-Dent who offer older cars with all charges included. You must have a credit card to be able to rent a car or provide a bond of $500. The minimum age at which you can rent a car in NZ is 21. Ezi-rent can do airport drop-off and pick-up at no extra charge, whereas most others will charge anywhere from NZ$10-25 each way.
Top tip - Ask the attraction you intend to use as often they have free transport to get you there. Also, don't underestimate the Tourist Information I-Site, they are excellent at providing transport information.