One of the most popular towns to visit in New Zealand is Rotorua in the North Island.
It is best known for its natural geothermal activities, Lake Rotorua and Maori culture, with attractions such as Te Puia and Whakare-warewa – The Living Maori Village offering interesting insights for tourists.
There’s also The Redwoods, which is part of the Whakare-warewa Forest, located next to the geothermal area. Here, you can find many beautiful Californian redwood trees, which are famous for its size – they are the tallest tree species in the world.
At 5,600ha, The Redwoods only makes up a small portion of the main Whakarewarewa forest, which is estimated at 55,000ha! There are many purpose-built trails there, and visitors can either walk, hike, bike or ride their horses on these trails.
The trails are based on distance and technical difficulties, and you can choose which one(s) to follow from the available maps, which you can get from the information booth at the entrance.
The longest day trail is the the “tramping route” for hikers, which is a whopping 34km that will take you through not just the forest but also two lakes, Tikitapu and Rotokakahi.
Another long trail would require you to stay overnight in the woods, but you need a special permit for this, and to periodically check in with the ranger for safety reasons.
When you’re done with the forest you can head to the Kuirau Park, a free public geothermal park. Here you can explore the mud pools, the hot springs, a lake and beautiful gardens. There’s also a small playground for kids, as well as thermal foot baths where you’re free to soak your tired feet.
For swimming, check out Kerosene Creek, a natural hot pool that’s also free for public use. The place is about 25 minutes away from the Rotorua central business district by car, and you would have to hike through a forest to get to the exact location. But Kerosene Creek is definitely worth the hassle.
We may not be able to travel abroad now, but we can plan ahead. The #TravelTomorrow campaign headed by the United Nations World Travel Organisation is ongoing, and StarLifestyle supports its initiatives.