Whakarewarewa Forest, aka “the Redwoods Forest”, is a hands-down favourite for locals and visitors alike.
Just a five-minute drive from the CBD, the forest is home to wide, meandering trails through giant California redwoods, New Zealand’s famous silver fern, and native bush undergrowth. The cool, fresh air is ideal for walking running and mountain biking, and the scenery provides the most amazing backdrop for family photos and selfies.
A section of this 5,600 hectare forest contains our world-renowned mountain bike park, which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve
The name Okataina means the lake of laughter, a shorted form of Te Moana-i-Kaitaina-a-Te Rangitakaroro, which means “the ocean where Te Rangitakarora laughed.”
Several different walking tracks and one mountain biking track through beautiful native forest with lake views offer something for everyone, with varying lengths and both easy and advanced levels. The reserve is roughly 30 minutes’ drive from town.
Access to the forests is always free.
This award-winning, eco-tourism walk is 700 metres long, spans across 28 suspension bridges, 27 platforms and takes about 40 minutes to complete. With the height of the walkway ranging between 6-20 metres, you are presented with a unique, birds’ eye perspective of the forest below and treetops above.