Explore, wander and walk your way through some of the most beautiful sights Rotorua has to offer. Because, truth be told, there’s just something about being in the green that feels like happy families. Together, discover natural wonders and geothermal landscapes that transport you to a land that time forgot. Here are Rotorua’s best walking tracks for families to explore.
1. Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest
A visit to Rotorua wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the iconic Redwoods Forest. This natural wonderland spans across 5,600 hectares of towering giants and is a hub of activity be it walking, running, mountain biking or even treewalking above the forest floor.
As one of Rotorua’s greatest natural treasures, Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest boasts a range of exotic tree species as well as a mix of New Zealand native ferns and bush, and geothermal areas. If it’s a bit wet out, this is a great option to enjoy some outdoor time under the sheltering trees. From 30-minute walks to 4-hour treks, the extensive network of tracks and trails means tracks here cater to all fitness levels.
There’s even a walking track that’s pram friendly so you can take bubba on the go. Picnic areas and water fountains are throughout with plenty of parking available.
2. Nature Walks at Whakarewarewa Village
In the heart of Rotorua at New Zealand’s only living Māori village, you can experience the home and legacy of the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people who have been sharing their unique way of life with visitors from all around the world for over two hundred years.
Guided tours, cultural performances, traditional Māori food, and a network of stunning nature walks across a geothermal valley means you can spend a full day here with the family, at your own pace and leisure, exploring unique landscape, flora and fauna, bubbling mud pools and geysers, and residents of the village going about their everyday lives.
Walking tracks are well-formed with ample signage and safety barriers in place surrounding the geothermal areas, with some fantastic vantage points to take it all in.
And when the kids get hungry or need a break, there’s Whaka’s world-famous Hangi pie or the more traditional Hangi Meal waiting for you to tuck into.
3. Rainbow Mountain Crater Lake Walk
This super accessible, stunning walk is a great pitstop to stretch the legs between Rotorua and Tāupo and is conveniently located along State Highway 5. From the carpark, it’s just an easy 15-minute walk to the viewing platform to Crater Lake. The track is very well maintained so perfect for curious littlies who like exploring with the added bonus of some spectacular views of two crater lakes in out of this world geothermal landscapes.
For the more advanced hikers (or ‘trampers’ as the locals say), there is an additional track up to the summit of the mountain. It’s a challenging 1.5 hour/2.5 km climb up to the top but the 360 panoramic views of countryside, volcanic peaks, mountain ranges and pristine lakes are worth it.
4. Blue Lake (Tikitapu) Track
Just outside Rotorua is the stunning Blue Lake (Tikitapu) walking track. This easy, 5.5 km loop track takes you through pristine native bush and secluded beaches with vistas of both the Blue and neighbouring Green Lake (Rotokakahi).
You can pop across to the Top 10 Holiday Park at Blue Lake to grab a treat at the reception after the kids charge through this walk – which takes about 1.5 hours at a steady pace.
Top off the day with a picnic by the beach and make the most of your time together in the great outdoors. With an awesome playground, lots of green space to frolic and play, BBQ and swimming areas to enjoy, it won’t take much convincing.
5. Okere Falls Track
Chasing waterfalls is always good motivation for kids and Okere Falls won’t disappoint. The Okere Falls Track is located just 21 km outside of Rotorua and is a short, easy walk that the kids will enjoy almost as much as the adults. Especially since they may spot some white-water rafters zooming along the Kaituna river to take on Tutea Falls – the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world. Experiencing breathtaking waterfalls, the lush native forest, and a bit of white-water action, all in a kid-friendly 1.2 km walk, is definitely a win-win.