The 15km Tarawera Trail is a beautiful native bush walk that follows the contour of Lake Tarawera to the popular Te Rātā Bay and Hot Water Beach.
Tarawera Trail starts at Te Wairoa car park on Tarawera Road, a scenic 15-minute drive from Rotorua past Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake), and ends at Hot Water Beach in Te Rātā Bay.
For those who are moderately fit, this advanced walk takes around 4-5 hours one way. About 5km in, there's a great picnic spot with lake access for a refreshing swim, and toilets.
Hikers generally use the water taxi services for their return, rather than walking back out. The taxi must be booked in advance with Totally Tarawera. There's also a campsite and two luxury glamping sites at Hot Water Beach, both of which must be booked in advance. Contact Rotorua isite Visitor Information Centre for booking assistance.
Download the Tarawera Trail Brochure
The 15km walk starts with opening views of beautiful Lake Tarawera. Follow the trail through Kotukutuku Bay and after 5km, 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 Rātā Bay to enjoy a soak at Hot Water Beach. Info panels along the trail tell the region's rich cultural and historic stories.
Hot Water Beach
At the end of the walk you’ll find Te Rātā Bay and Hot Water Beach. Natural geothermal springs here provide an opportunity to make your own lakeside hot pool. Please use caution as localised patches of sand are very hot and can burn.
There is limited cell phone reception along the track, meaning there may be a delay in contacting the emergency services should the need arise.
Walkers are advised to carry a first aid kit.
Dogs, horses, fires, removal of plants or animals, and hunting are not permitted on the trail or at Hot Water Beach.
Vehicles, including bicycles and motorbikes, are not permitted on the trail. For more walks around Rotorua check out 10 wonderful walks in Rotorua.