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Begin your adventure just 5 minutes from the Rotorua City Centre with a visit to the famous Redwoods forest. Inside the beautiful Whakarewarewa forest, you’ll find a lifetime of walking and mountain-biking tracks suitable for all levels of fitness and skill. If you’re looking for a fresh perspective, check out the award-winning Redwoods Treewalk, where you can explore the forest canopy along a network of nature-friendly suspension bridges; their after-hours Night Lights experience is truly exceptional night-time event.
Blue and Green Lakes
Head over the Tarawera Road hill to leave town and transport yourself the epic greenery of the New Zealand bush. Continue along the meandering road until you hit Blue and Green Lake (or Tikitapu and Rotokakahi, respectively). You can enjoy a short 1 ½ hour walk around the popular Blue Lake or take a refreshing swim. Be sure to stop at the scenic lookout located between the two lakes to take in their contrasting blue and green colours.
Mount Tarawera & The Buried Village of Te Wairoa
Continue along Tarawera Road, through the rolling green hills until you reach the historical gem that is the Buried Village of Te Wairoa. New Zealand’s most-visited archaeological site is home to the stories and displays of the world-famous Pink & White Terraces and the Te Wairoa Township, which was forever changed by the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera, still looming in view of the village. Explore the award-winning museum, Vi’s Teahouse historical café, and a stunning 1km walking trail through the relics of archaeological sites through to the scenic views and cascading Te Wairoa waterfall. To explore further, the truly inspired can even arrange a trek up Mt Tarawera to take in the 360 degree vista or simply walk around the crater’s rim.
Lake Tarawera & Hot Water Beach
Only 30 minutes from Rotorua City Centre, Tarawera Road turns off toward the vast and beautiful Lake Tarawera. A stop at The Landing Café provides uninterrupted views of the lake and some delicious fare. For the outdoorsy types, this is the jumping off point for camping at Hot Water Beach; a geothermal, lakeside campsite that can only be accessed via water taxi or a hike along the Tarawera Trail. Alternatively, you can take a 35-minute trip to a drop-off point to access the 1.7 km trail to the spectacular Tarawera Waterfall, which is rated NZ’s #1 waterfall.
The 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera was one of New Zealand's greatest natural disasters. Rocks, ash, and mud bombarded the peaceful village of Te Wairoa, leaving a tomb of ash and mud. Now you can see what lies beneath at this carefully excavated site.