Our favorite Rotorua Walks
With its diverse geography, magnificent redwood trees, and geothermal pools, Rotorua is the perfect place to find memorable walks. Stroll through towering redwood forests, view the gorgeous Green and Blue Lakes, and admire the volcanic craters. Walkers can hike past steaming multicolored mountains and immerse their feet into bubbling mud baths. You can even take a rewarding stroll that ends with a dip at Hot Water Beach.
You can choose from short 15-minute overlook walks or day-long excursions. The area’s natural and varied beauty is sure to captivate and keep you coming back for more.
Redwoods Rotorua Walk – Whakarewarewa Forest
A magnificent stand of Californian Redwoods was planted here in 1901. The impressive redwoods now stand as tall as 72 meters (236 feet). The forest features several different walking and mixed-used trails, ranging from short 30 minute walks to multi-day tramps.
Redwood Memorial Grove Track
For a quick introduction to Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, take the Redwood Memorial Grove Track. This two-kilometer track should take about 30 minutes and is suitable for the whole family. Walk under the towering Redwoods tree canopy and listen for bird calls. This walk takes visitors on a boardwalk, which crosses a thermal pond.
Tokorangi Pa Track
The Tokorangi Pa track takes walkers through the Redwoods before tackling an incline that reaches 500 meters above sea level. This track is 11.5 kilometers and should take about three and a half hours. You’ll walk to the site of an ancient pa, although nothing of the Maori village remains today. Along the route, walkers will enjoy views of Rotorua City, the lake, Mt Ngongotaha, and the tranquil countryside.
Tarawera Falls Track
Tarawera Falls is outside of Rotorua and requires a drive, but we can’t resist a fabulous waterfall. You can walk out and back along the Tarawera River to the falls in about 40 minutes. On the walk to Tarawera Falls, you’ll be headed upstream. The falls themselves are spectacular. Water gushes out of fissures in the cliff and creates a stunning scene.
If you’re in the mood for a longer walk, you can continue past the falls to Lake Tarawera. Along this walk, you’ll find additional cascades and a place to swim.
Visit Okere Falls Scenic Reserve and check out the laidback three-kilometer trail to the gorgeous Okere Falls. This Rotorua walk takes visitors along the Kaituna River and offers views of Okere Falls, Tutea Falls, and the Kaituna Trout Pool. You might catch white water rafts as they float down the Kaituna River. For a special treat, come back at night and look for glow worms.
For a walk that ends in a refreshing swimming hole, check out Hamurana Springs. This 15-minute walk will take you through the Redwood Forest and to Hamurana Springs. Here, you can swim in the cool, clear waters and truly enjoy nature.
Tikitapu/Blue Lake Walk
Travel clockwise on the five and a half kilometer trail. It should take about one and a half hours to walk around Blue Lake. The lake’s bed is made with pumice and rhyolite, giving the lake its gorgeous turquoise blue color.
The Blue Lake is popular for shoreside activities such as yoga, picnicking, and barbequing. Walkers will enjoy strolling through native bush. Stop along the way and enjoy small sandy beaches and a refreshing swim.
There’s also a shorter loop, the Tikitapu Nature Walk, that will take about 30 minutes. The Tikitapu Nature Walk features plant and bird identification information to help you get the most from your walk.
Rotokakahi/Green Lake Walk
This walk is 11 kilometers long and should take about two and a half hours. The lake has a shallow, sandy bottom, which makes it look green from above. Rotokakahi means lake of the shellfish; the lake has an abundance of freshwater mussels.
Discover hidden coves, enjoy strolling through the tree canopy, and listen to the many birds that call the shore home. The Green Lake also has fabulous views of Motutawa Island.
The Green Lake is considered sacred; therefore, swimming, boating, and fishing are prohibited.
The Maori name for Rainbow Mountain is Maungakakaramea, or “mountain of colored earth.” Rainbow Mountain was severely impacted when Mt. Tarawera erupted in 1886. The native plants have since evolved to geothermic conditions.
The Crater Lakes Walk
The Crater Lakes Walk offers stunning views of two volcanic craters. This short, one-kilometer walk takes visitors to an incredible overlook. You’ll walk past rainbow-coloured rocks and admire the white, brown, red, and orange steaming cliffs. The overlook reveals Crater Lake. Crater Lake is lined with pale white clay, giving it a fantastic turquoise color. There’s a second lake to the right, but it is mostly out of sight from the overlook.
Summit Track Walk
The Summit Track Walk is six kilometers and will take about three hours to walk to the summit and back. This track is steep in places. The Summit Track features fabulous views. You can see Mt Tarawera, Lake Tarawera, Lake Okaro, Lake Rotomahana, and Lake Rerewhakaaitu to the north on a clear day. To the south, you will see Lake Taupo and the volcano Mt Tongariro.
Skyline Rotorua Gondola
Take the Skyline Gondola to the top of Mt. Ngongotaha and take in the amazing birds-eye view of Rotorua below. Enjoy a treetop walk through over 15,000 native trees. Bird feeders are dotted through the nature walk area, and you are sure to see and hear a mix of native birds.
This public park features boardwalks that meander over Rotura’s most exciting attraction–geothermal lakes. See a crater lake, hot springs, and mud pools. Enjoy soaking your feet in the thermal foot bath. Kuirau Park is also a great spot to relax, enjoy the green space, and have a picnic.
The Tarawera Trail is a 15 kilometer (one-way) trail. It will take hikers about five hours to reach the campsite at Hot Water Beach. Visitors can book a water taxi in advance to ferry them back to the trailhead and their cars. Along the way, admire the bays, forest, and natural hot pools. You’ll cross spring-fed streams, walk past historic settlements, and enjoy the beautiful canopy of trees. At Hot Water Beach, you can enjoy the thermal waters. Just be careful with bare feet on the hot sand.
Lake Okareka Walkway
Lake Okareka Walkway is an easy five and a half kilometer walk. Visitors can stroll through wetlands and watch for waterbirds. This walk takes visitors through lush farmland and gently rolling hills. As you roam, enjoy the fabulous solitude and the sounds of nature.
Discover Your Favorite Rotorua Walks
These are just a few of our favorite walks in Rotorua. Pack your walking shoes and granola bars, and get ready to blaze your own trail in Rotorua. Relax in your Bachcare holiday home and plan the next day’s hike from the comfort of your home away from home.