Just five minutes from downtown Rotorua, a beautiful forest awaits you.
The Whakarewarewa Forest is the perfect spot to feel revived with awe inspiring tree canopies and a myriad of places to explore from walking, horse riding and mountain biking trails, to lookouts, cafes and picnic spots. Make time on your trip to Rotorua to enjoy the tranquillity of the forest.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of a visit to our beautiful Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest.
Depending on how much time you’ve got, there is an array of walking trails from six short easy circuits starting at the Redwoods Gift Shop and Visitor Centre through to full day hikes which start in the majestic Redwood Grove.
A popular 30 minute walk covering 2km is the Redwood Memorial Grove Track. This meanders through breath-taking Californian Redwoods which were planted in 1901. These towering trees stand at approximately 67 metres tall and create a wonderful canopy.
They are dedicated to the memory of the men of the New Zealand Forest Service who died in the two world wars. Another feature of this track is the board walk which takes you across a thermal pond, home to a variety of exotic aquatic plant life.
Redwoods Junior Explorer Trail
To encourage fun exploration, there are Kids Discovery Packs with puzzles, art and goodies as well as the Redwoods Junior Explorer Trail Map for children aged 6 years or older.
Go on the trail and answer all the questions to become a Junior Explorer and collect a reward when you finish! These packs are available for purchase at the Redwoods Gift Shop and Visitor Centre.
The term isn’t as scary as many of you think… while it may bring to mind technical trails and jumps we see the pros do on television, there are also beautiful free flowing trails that kids as young as 3 tackle on their bikes, and if they can do it – you can too.
The Whakarewarewa Forest has 130 kilometres of trails flowing in a way that is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of beginners right through to skilled, experienced riders. Twenty years of trail evolution means there is a wonderful mix of styles and grades to suit all levels.
Pick up a map from the Redwoods Information Centre and then decide whether you’d like to hire bikes and go exploring or otherwise hire a guide to show you the best spots and a few tips on how to ride a mountain bike.
There are many great spots for a picnic in the Forest. Here are a few favorites:
The Redwood Grove – As you enter Longmile Road, you can’t miss the Redwood Grove with picnic tables in the centre and a coffee trailer nearby. The perfect spot for a picnic before a walk.
Puarenga Stream – you can either bike or walk to this spot which has stunning crystal clear water and ferns, making the place feel magical. There are many seats along this trail for a picnic.
Whakarewarewa Valley view – While this is a bit of a hike/bike uphill, it’s worth the effort with a stunning view of Lake Rotorua and the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.