Best things are free, get outdoors and explore Rotorua
Rotorua has a number of walking trails and shared cycle trails for visitors to get outdoors and experience nature. The Department of Conservation has provided an excellent visitor resource explaining how to get to various trails and walks, what to expect and estimated duration of a walk. Check the travel pack section for the brochure. Remember that walks are free and for visitors on a budget check out Rotorua 10 things to do for free – Best Bits for tips and ideas.
MT NGONGOTAHA SUMMIT
Mt Ngongotaha lookout is a popular visitor experience combined with the Skyline gondola ride. Information plaques describe the flora and fauna together with significance of the viewpoints along the way to the lookout. This walk can be conducted independently of the skyline gondola experience.
REDWOODS, Whakarewarewa Forest
Get up high above the treetops on a canopy walk through 5.6 hectares of forest. The mature 118 redwoods with their red tinted bark gleam in the forested twilight. In the Things to do in Rotorua. Activities, Attractions & Places to Visit the Redwoods are a must-do attraction.
A public park with mesmerising mist wreathing the boardwalks creating a fantasy world. Follow well marked walking tracks past boiling mud pools, sulphur infused boiling water. There is even a warm foot bath afterwards.
BLUE LAKES (TIKITAPU)
Water sports destination with clear deep blue waters has the making of a great lakeside walk. There are inviting beaches to linger on and native forests to walk through. Lake Tikitapu shared walking and cycling tracks are linked to the mountain bike trail network in Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. There is a boat ramp, toilets, public BBQ facilities and children’s playground.
Between Blue and Green (Rotokakah) lakes is a lookout point where you can view both lakes simultaneously and observe the contrasting colour.
WAIMANGU VOLCANIC VALLEY
Walking trails give visitors a chance to view how nature is recovering after the catislmic 19th century eruption. Plant life is flourishing among the hot springs and silica formations. For the enthusiastic walkers there is the challenge of hiking up Mt Hazard for its sweeping views.
OKERE WATERFALLS SCENIC RESERVE
This is a popular 3 km walk along the Kaituna River with two waterfalls Okere and Tutea providing photo moments. Remember to check out the Kaituna Trout Pool.
A favourite pastime is to watch rafters drop down one of the world’s deepest commercial waterfall drops at spectacular Tutea Falls.
TARAWERA TRAIL (15 km)
While you can book a water taxi to the delicious treat of Te Rata Bay (Hot Water beach) you can tramp around Lake Tarawera through Kotukutuku Bay. Enjoy a break at Hawaiki Bay for a swim in the lake or to relax with a picnic. Continue on past Twin Streams cold springs and Te Hinau Bay with your destination Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach). Nirvana is soaking weary feet in the therapeutic warm natural waters.
Freshwater springs, a wildlife sanctuary and home to the endangered dabchick. The springs are a major source of water supply for the Hamurana and Ngongotaha areas and flow eventually into Lake Rotorua. The short easy 800 m track follows the meandering stream, through a redwood grove. There are information plaques along the track explaining plants and importance of the area to the traditional custodians.
The Yns Fraser walkway leads to a viewing platform with sweeping views of the surrounding area.
Rotorua Centennial Park – Rotorua Trees Trust
The Tree Trust has carefully managed over 20 hectares of rolling landscape on the slopes of Tihiotonga neighbourhood. There are several trails with an area for people to dedicate trees to family and friends. The trust has planted a cheerful garden, established a BBQ and picnic area. Trails are well signposted with a total length of 2 km.
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