With lush forest and geothermal gems aplenty, on foot is one of the many ways to explore what makes Rotorua special while getting up close and personal with nature. We’ve collated the top six short walks you’re bound to love – all offering something a little different but equally as special.
1. Hamurana Springs
Journey through the Hamurana Springs Nature Reserve at your own pace, taking in the natural elements and cultural stories which create this magical place.
With different length walks to choose from, starting from 30 minutes, there’s something for everyone regardless of age or fitness level. You can also take a guided tour to engage further with your surroundings and its rich history.
Connect on a deeper level with nature along these walks and take the opportunity to learn traditional stories of the lands, waters and people of Hamurana Springs.
2. Okere Falls
There is plenty to entertain on this easy 1.2km bush walk. From info boards about the history of the area, to spectacular views of magnificent waterfalls and white water rafters making their way down the Kaituna River, plus geocaches and glow worms at night.
You can also take a detour down Hinemoa’s Steps, to get closer to the water and take a peek into Tutea’s Cave at the bottom. One story about the cave is that women and children would make their way down by rope to hide in times of war.
Located 20 minutes out of Rotorua, grab a coffee and snack at the Okere Falls Store Café before hitting the trail.
3. Jubilee Track
A short distance from town, Jubilee Track is the only walking path up to the summit of Mt Ngongotahā, the volcanic dome sitting 757m above sea level overlooking Ripple and the wider city.
This is a spectacular 5.5km track that climbs through native New Zealand bush with views of one of the largest rata trees in the Bay of Plenty. No view at the top thanks to all that stunning bush, but well worth the effort to experience being surrounded by our beautiful native flora and fauna.
4. The Redwoods Memorial Grove
One of the best-loved walking areas in Rotorua, and for good reason! Take a walk through stunning Redwood trees standing sentinel – some up to 67m tall – the canopies of which create a cascading covering of green to walk beneath.
With many different length walks available depending on what you’re after, the trails start through the Redwood Memorial Grove, a 2km loop providing incredible photo opportunities and stunning scenery. This easy short walk also features a boardwalk over an old geothermal pond, home to unique aquatic plant life.
Trails then branch off in different directions from the grove, all well-marked by colour-coded arrow signage. Grab a map at the i-site and start exploring!
5. Whakarewarewa lookout
Look to your heart’s content over the stunning Whakarewarewa Forest from the top of the Puhaturoa walking track, a roughly 7.5km loop starting at either the Redwoods or Waipa carparks (which sit on opposite sides of the forest).
This track has lots of ups, but they’re 100% worth it for the views – not only can you gaze out at the expanse of forest and mountain bike tracks on one side, you can also look out towards Lake Rotorua, with town and the Whakarewarewa geothermal valley sprawled out beneath you.
This one’s not to be missed if you enjoy exploring locations from on high.
6. Lake Tikitapu
Lake Tikitapu, or the Blue Lake, features a 5.5km walking track that follows the undulating contours of the land and shoreline. With most of your time spent surrounded by towering trees and bush, there are also plenty of opportunities to appreciate the beauty of the lake itself.
Fancy firing up the scholarly synapses along with stretching the legs? There are also information panels about plants and birds along the way.