Whakarewarewa Forest, aka “the Redwoods Forest”, is a hands-down favourite for locals and visitors alike.
Just a 10-minute drive from the city centre, 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 Ōkataina Scenic Reserve
The name Ōkataina means the lake of laughter, a shortened form of Te Moana i Kataina a Te Rangitakaroro, which means “the ocean where Te Rangitakarora laughed.”
Several 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.
Foris Eco-tours offers guided tours of the spectacular Whirinaki Forest and Rotorua's premium rafting adventure down the gorgeous Rangitaiki River. Choose guided hiking or combined river and guided walking options.
Majestic and magical, the Redwoods Treewalk experience is truly a walk to remember. Suspended high above the forest floor, encounter 75-metre-tall California redwoods as you walk across eco-suspended bridges and platforms intricately designed to honour and accentuate the stunning natural environment.
Soar through the trees and experience New Zealand’s ancient forest like never before – in two award-winning zipline adventures. Lose yourself on this engaging encounter with the natural world, exploring ancient native forest via ziplines, suspended swing bridges, treetop platforms and more on this unforgettable nature adventure.
Lake Tikitapu, affectionately known as Blue Lake, is a local favourite and well known to regular visitors to Rotorua.
Whakarewarewa Forest, also known as the Redwoods, is a mecca for mountain bikers, with more than 180km of trails winding their way through native and exotic forest.
The Whakarewarewa Forest or Redwoods walking trails all start at the Redwoods i-SITE, where you can pick up a map before heading to explore the forest walks.