Looking for a Rotorua Forest to explore?
Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua is a destination that captivates visitors with its geothermal wonders, Rotorua forest experiences, Maori culture, and breathtaking landscapes.
Among its many natural treasures, Rotorua boasts a range of lush and mystical forests, perfect for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Check out our top Rotorua forest experiences.
Top Rotorua Forest Experiences:
- Whakarewarewa Forest
- Dansey Road Scenic Reserve
- Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve
- Hamurana Springs
- Hinehopu/Hongi’s Track
- Mt Ngongotaha Nature Loop
1. Whakarewarewa Forest
Also known as the Redwoods, the Whakarewarewa Forest is an iconic destination that showcases towering Californian Coastal Redwoods. Situated just minutes away from Rotorua’s city center, this sprawling forest offers a network of well-maintained trails, making it perfect for hiking, mountain biking, or leisurely strolls.
2. Dansey Road Scenic Reserve
Dansey Road Scenic Reserve is located about 15 minutes from the city centre. This Rotorua forest is not accessable by foot, here there are no walking trails the only way to experience this forest is to fly via zipline. Dansey Road Scenic Reserve is an ancient native forest, with towering rimu and carpets of lush green ferns.
Rotorua Canopy Tours is your ticket to experience this magical landscape. Canopy Tours offers two experiences ziplining through this Rotorua Forest, the Original Canopy Tour and the Ultimate Canopy Tour. Check them out here.
3. Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve
For a unique forest experience, head to the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve, located south of Rotorua. This reserve is home to the awe-inspiring Te Ranga, a dormant volcano that showcases a vibrant palette of colorful mineral deposits. The walking tracks in this area wind through native forest, providing stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including Lake Tarawera and the volcanic landscapes. Some plant species found on the mountain are very rare and grow only in geothermal areas.
4. Hamurana Springs
Just a short drive from Rotorua lies the magical Hamurana Springs, a pristine forested area that showcases some of the clearest spring water in New Zealand. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking tracks, which wind through towering native trees, ferns, and moss-covered rocks. The main highlight of the springs is the crystal-clear water, which emerges from deep underground and creates a mesmerizing sight as it forms the Hamurana Stream.
There is an entry fee to experience Hamurana Springs. Click here for more information and opening hours as they differ from season to season.
5. Hinehopu/Hongi’s Track
This place is magic. The serene native forest grows right to the lakes edge. Pleasure boats find quiet coves where they can swim, picnic or fish in solitary contentment. But, it wasn’t always this peaceful here. In the early nineteenth century, Maori chief, Hongi Hika, and his men hauled their war canoes through the forest from Lake Rotoehu to Lake Rotoiti. Hongi was heading for Lake Rotorua at the southern end for a surprise attack on the local tribe, Arawa.
Allow up to two hours return to walk the track. Depending on the weather, a cooling swim in the lakes at either end may appeal. In colder weather, drive out along State Highwy 30 toward Lake Rotoma, to the Waitangi Soda Springs for a hot soak.
6. Mt Ngongotaha Nature Loop
The Mt Ngongotaha Nature Loop is found in the Violet Bonnington Reserve on Mt Ngongotaha. It is an easy loop track that ascends through stunninf native bush. You will hear the calls of native birds and see them flutter through the sun dappled leaves.
Interpretation panels make this walk fantastic for kids, with information about the natural and cultural features of Mt Ngongotaha and the surrounding area.
Rotorua never fails to mesmerize visitors with its enchanting forests. From the towering giants of the Whakarewarewa Forest to the colorful landscapes of the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve, these forests offer a chance to connect with nature in a truly magical way. So, put on your walking shoes, breathe in the fresh forest air, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Rotorua’s captivating forests.