Explore Rotorua's backyard during Conservation Week 2017

Explore Rotorua's backyard during Conservation Week 2017

Exposure to our natural environments provides positive effects on human health and wellbeing. Each year, New Zealander’s are asked to get involved with Conservation Week to help build exposure to our natural environments and enjoy the positive effects of healthy ecosystems on human health and wellbeing.

Conservation Week 2017 runs between 14th and 22nd of October and this year’s theme encourages us to connect with the natural spaces on Rotorua’s doorstep and ‘love your backyard’.

Here in Rotorua’s backyard, the opportunities to connect with conservation and enjoy the great outdoors are endless. We’re fortunate enough to have lakeside campsites, fantastic walking and hiking tracks, magnificent mountain biking opportunities and even geothermal splendors to help us connect with the great outdoors. We’ve also got some pretty unique plant and animal species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

Here are some of the special places in Rotorua that you can visit all year round with your family and friends to connect with the great outdoors and the species which can be found there;

1 Sulphur Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Right on the doorstep of Rotorua’s CBD is the Sulphur Bay Wildlife Refuge and the Nature Heritage Trail Walkway which enables visitors to safely enjoy the geothermal sights and unique birdlife. Sulphur Bay is home to two of the world’s most threatened bird species – the Black Billed Gull and the Dabchick. Both of these species take refuge in the murky and mysterious waters of Sulphur Bay, which are colored white due to the sulphur.

2 Rainbow Mountain  360° views

From the carpark beside SH 5 (the Rotorua-Taupō highway) begin with the easy walking Rainbow Mountain Crater Lake. Views over the crater lakes are set against a backdrop of bare brown, orange and red steaming cliffs and an array of geothermal vegetation.
Fitter walkers can continue on the Track to the mountain summit for a very special 360 degree view from the top. Allow 3 hours for the return trip and views that will not disappoint.

3 Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre

It’s not very common to have raptors flying over your backyard, but in Rotorua this is a real possibility thanks to the work being done at Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre.
This incredible team of experts led the way for the first every urban release of falcons in Rotorua’s Government Garden’s and have monitored these unique birds to discover that they are now breeding in the wild. Seven falcons have been released as part of the urban release project since 2013. Visit Wingspan to experience daily falconry displays and the onsite museum (admission fees apply).

4 Hot Water Beach


In 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted, killing 150 people, destroying settlements and changing the landscape forever. Geothermal activity is still evident in many parts of the Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve, including Hot Water Beach where the water is visibly boiling in places.  A Department of Conservation campsite at Hot Water Beach provides the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway and hot thermal soak in this natural setting. Access is via boat or by walking the Tarawera Trail. Allow 6 hours one way.

5 Okere Falls

Not far from Rotorua is Okere Falls and the Kaituna River. A popular spot for kayaking and commercial rafting during the day - after dark the native bush around the River is lit up by thousands of glowworms. From the carpark on Trout Pool Road (off State Highway 33) take the steep set of stairs toward the River or follow the Okere Falls Track until you come across the glowworms. A visit to the Falls during the day will help you get your bearings for the night time visit. Discover other night time activities in Rotorua.

Department of Conservation has a list of events happening throughout New Zealand for Conservation Week 2017.