Rotorua Hiking Guide
Te Whakarewarewa (Redwoods Forest)
Length: Various walks between 2km through to 34km
Estimated time: 2km should take around 20-30mins, 34km track estimated 8 hours
Experience hiking the top-rated attraction of Rotorua on TripAdvisor and its completely free!
Walk amongst the largest plantation of the California Redwood or Sequoia Trees outside the state of California. Some of these amazing trees tower 75m above the ground and are truly spectacular. There’s endless things to find in the forest and because of the various lengths of tracks it’s great for any level of walker, from quick trips to full day trips there’s joy to be found in the forest.
Some of the hiking trails offer great views of the city, check out the photo that I took during a recent trip to the top of the hill!
There is an Information Center by the start of the trails so grab yourself a map and see what you can find. Check out the Redwoods Treewalk while you’re there for a whole new perspective of the forest!
How to get there: From the center of town follow signs to Whakatane/Tauranga and you’ll drive past the forest until come across a roundabout with signs to head to the lakes. Take a right and the Information Center can be found down Long Mile Road.
Length: 15km (one way)
Estimated Time: 5-6 Hours
This iconic Rotorua trail represents a return of the people to their land following the devastating 1886 Tarawera eruption.
Once you’re on the trail you’ll be treated to some incredible sights including stunning views of Lake Tarawera, Mt Tarawera and Rotomahana among others. You’ll be hiking across bays of the lake where you can have a rest and soak your feet in the water and on the way if you keep your eyes peeled you may also see some hot and/or cold springs nestled in the bush.
The end of the hike leaves you at Hot Water Beach, a geothermal wonder where you can dig a hole in the sand and treat yourself to a warm bath after your hike. Just be careful as some areas can be very hot!
Note: There is a water taxi that can take you to or from Hot Water beach if you’d only like to walk one way but please remember to organise this in advance.
How to get there: The hiking track begins just before Te Wairoa (Buried Village), you’ll see a big carpark on the right-hand side of the road as you follow signs for Lake Tarawera, if you’ve hit the Buried Village you’ve gone too far.
Estimated Time: 15mins walking but you’ll stop to see amazing sights
See the amazing crystal clear waters of Hamurana Springs as you enjoy one of the most popular short walks in town.
An easy stream side walk through a grove of California Redwood trees that is suitable for all walking levels and a great place to take the family for a snapshot of our beautiful hidden gems. There are also picnic spots so take a bite to eat and enjoy your time here.
Make sure you check out the viewing platform that sits above where the spring feeds from and you’ll see just what I’m saying about this amazingly clear water.
How to get there: Hamurana is located 15 – 20 minutes’ drive north-east from Rotorua central, on the left-hand side of Hamurana road.
Estimated Time: 1.5 hours each way
If you’re heading to the top of Rainbow Mountain you’ll actually be undertaking two different trails
The first part of the hike is the Crater Lake Walk, a very easy 15min trail that takes you to see two crater lakes nestled in a backdrop of bare brown, orange and red steaming cliffs and a wide array of geothermal vegetation.
Continue north on this trail and you’ll be hiking up Rainbow Mountain. Approximately an hour and a half into this walk you’ll reach Summit Road, a short 10min walk up this road will have you reach the summit.
At the summit you’ll be treated to amazing 360 degree views including Mt Tarawera, Lakes Tarawera, Rotomahana and Rerewhakaaitu to the north; the Paeroa Range to the west; the Urewera Ranges and Kaimanawa Forest to the east; and Mt Tauhara, Lake Taupo and the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park to the south. Well worth checking out!
How to get there: Rainbow Mountain lies approximately 26 km south-east of Rotorua, heading towards Taupo. Approaching from Rotorua the carpark is situated just past the turnoff for SH 38 (the Murupara/ Waikeremoana highway), on the left-hand side of the road.