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Rotorua's iconic forests, lakes and geothermal activity are great incentives to get outdoors and explore it all. But where to start? To give you a few suggestions, here are some of Rotorua’s most unique nature walks, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
Imagine an active geothermal mountain, covered in coloured rocks and rare native plants. Now imagine a summit track, leading up to stunning 360 degree views over lakes, forests and rolling hills. You are now thinking of Rainbow Mountain! Located 20 minutes’ drive from Rotorua, allow yourself about an hour to venture up through the regenerating native bush to reach the mountaintop. If the Summit Track isn’t for you, simply take the more casual Crater Lakes Walk, where you’ll find views of steaming geothermal craters and majestic red cliffs. Rainbow Mountain’s Maori name, Maungakakaramea, actually means ‘mountain of coloured earth’, and you’ll see why!
Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village
If you’re not wanting to travel too far out of Rotorua, you’ll find central and accessible geothermal nature walks at Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village. Located in a natural geothermal valley, these nature trails will take you past boiling mud pools, bubbling hot springs and steaming lakes. There are even several lookout points with stunning views over Rotorua city. Able to be explored at your own pace, the walks are low-difficulty, and range between 10 and 50 minutes. What’s more, all of this is actually included in the price of entry to Whakarewarewa Village. As well as self-guided access to the nature trails, the experience includes a fully guided tour of the authentic Māori village and its geothermal features, as well as an enchanting traditional Māori cultural performance.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Created by the chaos of the 1886 Mt Tarawera explosion, Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s youngest geothermal system. Home to world-unique geothermal wonders, regenerating plant life and a host of native birds, Waimangu is an untouched natural phenomenon just waiting to be discovered. You’ll find volcanic craters, steaming cliffs and bubbling springs, including the largest hot water spring in the world! With an array of self-guided walking and hiking tracks, you can explore Waimangu's living, breathing environment in your own time. Walks generally take from 1-3 hours, and range in difficulty to suit most fitness levels. Located around 25 minutes out of the city, Waimangu Volcanic Valley is a true hidden gem, and a must-do experience while staying in Rotorua.
You may have walked through forests before, but not like this! The Redwoods Treewalk allows for a much more immersive experience, made up of bridges suspended from 30 to 65 feet above the ground! You can walk for 700 metres among the hundred year old redwood trees and gain a whole new perspective of Rotorua’s most famous forest. What’s more, the walk even stays open after dark. Lit up by the uniquely designed Redwoods Nightlights, make sure to come back in the evening for an even more magical experience!
A wonderland of Maori Culture, geothermal activity and traditions. Our unique Living Thermal Village provides guided tours, cultural shows and lunch time geothermal Hangi meals. Nau mai, haere mai, whakatau mai ki Whakarewarewa - Welcome