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Rotorua Walks

Published 27th October, 2020

Rotorua is surrounded by beautiful scenery, forests and lakes. It is a perfect place for walking. Here are a few of many great trails you could easily access by road less than an hour from Rotorua.

Tikitapu/Blue Lake

1. Tikitapu/Blue Lake

Tikitapu / Blue Lake is situated 9 km south-east of Rotorua, via Te Ngae Road then a right turn at the roundabout into Tarawera Road.

Length:There is a 5.5 kilometre walking track around the lake.
Time: About 1 1/2 hours. Difficulty: Very easy, suitable for children.
If you park near the children's playground, you can walk around the north-east end of the lake before entering native forest and on to a beach. A set of steps take you from the beach up to a wide track and from there around the rest of the lake. Enjoy the glimpses of the Green Lake/Rotokakahi and the Blue Lake with its beautiful blue water.

Mount Ngongotaha

2. Mount Ngongotaha Nature Loop

Located at 55 Paradise Valley Road, Ngongotaha Valley.
Length: 5.8 kilometre loop.
Time: About 1 1/2 hours. Difficulty: Easy/average, suitable for children although some parts are steep, walking shoes are required..

Rotorua Lakefront

3. Lakefront/Sulphur Point


Length: 1.5-2 kilometres
Time: 20 minutes Difficulty: Very easy, suitable for children. Some boardwalks.
Park at the Lakefront, at the end of Tutanekai Street by the children's playground. Walk along the lake edge and enjoys views of Mokoia Island.

Motutara/Sulphur Point:

Length: 2 kilometres
Time: About 25 minutes. Difficulty: Very easy, suitable for children but they must be supervised.
This walk continues on from the Lakefront. This sulphurous area lies on top of an active geothermal field containing mud pools and sulphur vents. All walkers must keep to the designated path at all times. It is also a significant wildlife habitat and home to many different species of birds including the endangered black billed gull.
Walk back to the carpark through the Government Gardens and see the historic Bath House and Blue Baths buildings. This will take another 20 minutes unless you spend longer taking photos of one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand!

Redwoods/Whakarewarewa Forest Walking

4. The Redwoods/Whakarewarewa Forest

Length: Many walks ranging from 2 kilometres - 11.5 kilometres or more
Time: Range from 30 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes or more. Difficulty: Range from very easy, suitable for children to average fitness level required. Information about the various walks can be found at the Redwoods I-Site and Visitor Information Centre, Longmile Road. Park here, find out more about the walks and use this as your start/finish point. Alternatively, download the Whakarewarewa walking tracks map. Here is some information about a few of the walks:

Redwood Memorial Grove Track

Length: 2 kilometres.
Time: 30 minutes Difficulty: Very easy, suitable for children. This walk takes you through the Californian Redwoods and includes a board walk through a thermal pond.

Quarry Lookout Track

Length: 4.8 kilometres.
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Difficulty: Moderate, suitable for active children. This track consists of a reasonable climb up through beautiful bush to a lookout with a spectacular view of Rotorua, then steps back down to the car park.

Tokorangi Pa Track

Length: 11.5 kilometres
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes. Difficulty: Average fitness required. There is a steady climb up but the rewards are the beautiful forest and spectacular views of Rotorua city, the lake and Mount Ngongotaha. Once at the Pa, the track continues on down to "The Wash", then past the wastewater treatment ponds before taking you up and over Nursery Road back to the car park. Well worth the time and effort! .

Mount Tarawera

5. Mount Tarawera Crater Walk

Mount Tarawera is an active volcano located just out of Rotorua. It is a mountain walk and it is not possible to walk by yourself, you must go on a guided tour.

Length: 4 kilometres Time: 2 hours (4 hour round trip from Rotorua) Difficulty: Average, hiking boots suggested

Rainbow Mountain

6. Rainbow Mountain-Crater Lake Walk

Find Rainbow Mountain 26 kilometres south-east of Rotorua, Bay of Plenty. Length: 2.5 kilometres Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Difficulty: Advanced tramping track. Walk through regenerating native vegetation to the summit. The 360 degree view of the countryside include many of the districts lakes, mountains and ranges including the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park. Well worth the climb.

Lake Okaraka

7. Lake Okaraka Boardwalk

Find this walk on the shores of Lake Okareka, Acacia Road, about 9 kilometres from Rotorua. Length: 5 kilometres return (2.5 km around the shore to the outlet) Time: 1 hour approximately Difficulty: Easy, suitable for children, pushchairs, wheelchairs. The walk takes you through native vegetation, over a wetland on a board walk beside the lake. Observe bird wildlife while you walk

Lake Okataina

8. Okataina - Western and Eastern

Eastern Okataina Walkway Length: 10.5 kilometres Time: 3 hours Difficulty: Advanced tramping track

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We were in Rotorua for the Whaka100 & wanted to stay somewhere that would be 'mountain biker friendly'. We booked the self-contained family unit which was perfect for what we wanted. The unit was tidy & well laid out. The beds were comfy & the bathroom was adequate. The staff were friendly & helpful. Whilst the location wasn't close to town it suited us fine as we had a rental vehicle or just bikes into town along the cycle path. We would definitely stay again! Great value for $$. Stayed October 2016, travelled as a couple

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