The 10 Best Walks in Rotorua

Rotorua’s spectacular lake, beach and forest scenery makes it easy to find a track, path or walkway that allows you to get away from the crowds, blend into nature and give you an insight into local culture and history. Find a tree walk in Rotorua to unwind, immerse yourself in nature and gather Insta-worthy snaps that will have your friends green with envy.

The best walks in Rotorua are:

  1. Skyline Rotorua Walk
  2. Redwoods Treewalk
  3. Kuirau Park
  4. Rainbow Mountain
  5. Blue Lake Walk
  6. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
  7. Okere Falls
  8. Hamurana Springs
  9. Tarawera Trail
  10. Various Geothermal Parks

1. Skyline Rotorua Walk

Head to the top of Mt. Ngongotaha for some spectacular views over the city of Rotorua. Take your time discovering native and exotic flora and fauna along this stunning tree walk, with more than 15,000 native trees growing at our Rotorua complex. Information boards are scattered along the path offering cultural and historical information about the region. A round trip at a casual pace will take around an hour.

Opening Hours: Skyline Rotorua opens daily at 9 am. The last Gondola departure is upon restaurant closure (about 10 pm).
Walking Time: 1 hour.

A Gondola ascends to the Skyline Rotorua complex.
Photo Credit: skylinerotorua

2. Redwoods Treewalk

Known as “The Redwoods” by locals, Whakarewarewa Forest offers visitors a canopy walk through 5,600 hectares of lush bushland. Walk amongst 118-year-old giants on the Redwoods Treewalk and feel at one with mother nature as you revel in her stunning natural beauty. 

Opening Hours: 9 am to 10.30 pm daily.
Walking Time: 40 minutes.

A lady stares upwards amongst towering Redwood trees.
Image Credit: treewalknz

3. Kuirau Park

Stroll past steaming, mesmerising geothermal pools in this legendary public park. Follow the walking tracks to discover extraordinary mud pools, boiling lakes and geothermal marvels. Make sure you stay within the marked safety fences, as minor eruptions occur naturally from time to time.

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours.
Walking Time: Variable with walking tracks lead to numerous areas of vigorous geothermal activity

Steam rises from the geothermal pools of the Kuirau Park.
Image Credit: sophiejanephoto

4. Rainbow Mountain

Journey up to the summit of Rainbow Mountain for extraordinary 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside, coloured earth and rock. Begin at Crater Lake and head north for approximately one and a half hours to reach the peak. On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot the stunning Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tarawera and Lake Rotomahana.

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours.
Walking Time: 2.5 to 3 hours return.

The morning light illuminates the stunning colours of Rainbow Mountain.
Image Credit: soph.dmz

5. Blue Lake Walk

Circle the clear blue waters of the aptly named Blue Lake with this leisurely one and a half-hour walk. Pass picture-perfect beaches, native bushland and exotic conifers of the Whakarewarewa Forest.

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours.
Walking Time: 1.5 hours

The shimmering waters of the Blue Lake dance with whips of wind.
Image Credit: turquoiseport

6. Waimangu Volcanic Valley

The baby of the geothermal family, Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers visitors a glimpse of rare plant life, hot water springs, silica formations and impressive volcanic craters. This 1.5 km walk is suitable for all fitness levels, with the option of the photo-ready Highlights Walk, or the full 4km walk. Consider adding the Mt Haszard hiking trail for a full workout!

Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 5 pm daily.
Walking Time: Varying between 30mins and 2.5 hours depending on which loop you choose

A natural hot spring featuring a fascinating array of green and orange colours.
Image Credit: waimanguvolcanicvalley

7. Okere Falls

A 23.3km drive from the Rotorua CBD will lead you to Okere Falls Scenic Reserve. Take the easy 3km Falls Walk along the Kaituna River and marvel at the Okere and Tutea falls along the way, before returning through beautiful native bushland to the Kaituna Trout Pool.

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours.
Walking Time: 1.5 hours return.

An incredible timelapse shot of the cascading flows of Okere Falls.
Image Credit: alexspodyneiko

8. Hamurana Springs

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind you with a 15-minute stroll under gargantuan Redwoods, home to a wide variety of native and exotic wildlife. Absorb the tranquillity of nature -  you won’t be able to resist diving into the turquoise waters of Hamurana Springs!

Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm daily.
Walking Time: 1 hour.

The crystal clear waters of the Hamurana Springs sparkle on a sunny day.
Image Credit: nina.dventure

9. Tarawera Trail

Well-known as one of the best walks in Rotorua, the 15km Tarawera Trail winds around Lake Tarawera, through Kotukutuku Bay. Stop off at Hawaiki Bay for a dip in the lake or to chill out with a picnic. Pass the Twin Streams cold springs as you continue onto Te Hinau Bay, leading you to the end of the trail at Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach). If you’d rather not walk the whole way back, book a water taxi to return.

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours.
Walking Time: 3 hours (one way - we recommend the water taxi option)

An adventurer gazes through a parting in the native bush of the Tarawera Trail to a secluded bay.
Image Credit: sliceinthelifeofjulie

10. Geothermal Parks

Can’t get enough exploring the great outdoors? Discover more gorgeous mud pools with our list for more Rotorua walks near geothermal parks:

  1. Orakei Korako
An amazing aerial shot of the deep oranges and blues of Orakei Korako natural hot springs.
Image Credit: goexplorenz
  1. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Steam rises from a natural hot pool at the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Image Credit: waiotapu_wonderland_nz
  1. Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley
Steam rises from a large wall within the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.
Image Credit: cinzilicious
  1. Craters of the Moon
A large impression in the ground resembling a crater on the moon.
Image Credit: danielle.nzgirl2015
  1. Wairakei Terraces
Water cascades down the Wairakei Terraces as steam rises from each of the pools formed.
Image Credit: wairakei_terraces
  1. Tokaanu Thermal Walk
A remarkably blue natural hot pool steams away.
Image Credit: jdelgadoesteban

Now that you know the 10 best walks in Rotorua...

Read on to discover how to make your trip to Rotorua a trip-of-a-lifetime:

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