5 of the best free short walks in Rotorua

Rotorua is a fascinating place to visit with so much on offer. We’ve put together our pick of the best free short walks!

Rotorua has visitors flocking here all year round to experience and view the incredible landscapes, majestic Redwoods and geothermal activity.

Whether you’re in Rotorua for a short break or staying longer, we understand that you want to fit as much into your schedule as possible, so we’ve put together our pick of the best short walks in Rotorua.

The great thing is that these tracks are suitable for the whole family and vary in time between 30-minutes to an hour to complete.

Rainbow Mountain Crater Lake

This is a fantastic short walking track that ends with amazing views over the emerald-coloured crater lakes at the bottom of Rainbow Mountain. To find this walk, head out of Rotorua towards Taupo and you will find the Rainbow Mountain car park on the left, just past the turn off to SH 38. If you’re up for a more physical challenge, you can continue up Rainbow Mountain to the summit. This is a very steep climb that takes approximately 1 hour, however you are rewarded with excellent 360-degree views of the luscious green rolling hills.

Kuirau Park

A visit to Kuirau Park is a great introduction to the spectacular geothermal activity in Rotorua. Kuirau Park is located right in the centre of town and features beautiful gardens, mud pools, hot springs and free thermal foot baths. The geothermal activity is all naturally occurring so make sure to stick to the marked paths. You can spend as much time as you like exploring the park on foot or on bikes.

If you’re visiting Rotorua we recommend staying at centrally located Aura Accommodation and borrowing one of their free cruiser bikes to explore Kuirau Park!

Redwood Memorial Grove Track

A walk through the Whakarewarewa Forest, or the Redwoods as it is known to the locals, is a must do when visiting Rotorua. The peaceful and beautiful tracks take you through the breath-taking Californian Redwoods and are perfect for all visitors, including children. The Redwood Memorial Grove track starts and ends at the Redwoods Visitor Centre and takes you over a boardwalk passing over an ancient geothermal pond. From the ground at the visitor centre you will also notice the range of suspension bridges high up in the Redwoods, belonging to the spectacular Redwoods Treewalk. The Treewalk can be enjoyed during the day or at night, and costs $25 for adult admission.

Rotorua Centennial Park – Rotorua Tree Trust

You will find this little gem in the Rotorua suburb of Tihiotonga, just past the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. This is home to the Tree Trust, with an area for people to dedicate trees to family members. The gardens and trails are bursting with colour all year round. However, during Autumn and Spring the Magic Garden looks particularly spectacular. Bring the whole family along and utilise the BBQ area, picnic tables and explore the several trails.

Okere Falls Scenic Reserve

There are many scenic lookouts of the Kaituna River along the Okere Falls tracks. The first lookout brings you to the hydroelectric power station on the way to the spectacular Tutea Falls. If you time it right you may even see the rafters coming down the Tutea Falls, which is the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world! Make sure to head down Hinemoa’s steps to the Tutea caves, or even keep following the main track for another 20-30 minutes to the Trout Pools. If you prefer, you can drive around to the Trout Pools, where there is another car park. You will find the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve heading out of Rotorua on State Highway 30 and turn left just after the Okere Falls Store onto Trout Pool Road.

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