Experience something completely new - The 15km Tarawera Trail, a native walk winding around Lake Tarawera to the popular Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach). The one-way walk takes moderately fit walkers around 4-5 hours to complete and is the first of a proposed network of trails, planned for development in the future, involving the New Zealand Department of Conservation and Maori private landowners to connect the 14 Te Arawa Lakes in this area.

The Walk
The 15km walk starts at Te Wairoa carpark off Tarawera Road, with opening views of beautiful Lake Tarawera. Follow the trail through Kotukutuku Bay and after 5 kilometres, stop at Hawaiki Bay to enjoy lake access and a picnic area with toilet facilities. The track continues with intermittent climbs, through lakeside bushland into Te Hinau Bay, passing over Twin Streams cold springs. After an uphill climb to reach the Rotomahana lookout point, descend into Te Rata Bay to enjoy a soak at Hot Water Beach. The cultural and historic stories make the one-way trail unique as walkers can brush up on the region’s rich history by reading the info panels along the trail.

Hot Water Beach
Whether you start your walk from Hot Water Beach or arrive there after a 15km mission, when you arrive you’ll be greeted by steam coming off the lake. Gather some rocks and create yourself a private lake-edge pool or follow the stream inland where you can take a dip in a secluded bush pool. Thrill-seekers will be chuffed to know there’s a jumping rock nearby to perfect that cannonball.

Camping at Hot Water Beach
There’s a fantastic Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite at Hot Water Beach which means after your hike, you can pitch a tent and stay a few days. In summer the shore is abundant with boats and with only 30 camp sites, bookings are a must. To book your site visit whakarewarewa.com/Tarawera.

Walk, Water Taxi or Helicopter home
There are some great options for getting to and from the trail including water taxis which do daily trips to Hot Water Beach and can be privately chartered. Or you could take the scenic route home with a helicopter pick up from the campsite back to the city, allowing for a bird’s-eye view of Rotorua’s unique geothermal activity.

The Tarawera Trail carpark gates are closed overnight for security.
Lake Tarawera Water Taxi offer watertaxi services across the lake.