The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest in on the North Island of New Zealand is home to some of the best Rotorua walks in the region. One in particular that stands out among the rest is the Pohaturoa Rotorua Redwoods Walk. Also known as the Yellow Trail, this Rotorua walk will take you all along the Redwoods forest along with one of the best viewpoints of the town, lake, and geothermal activity out in the distance.
1) Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest
The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest is one of the most iconic landmarks in the vicinity of Rotorua. With over 5600 hectares of forest, The Redwoods is the perfect place to enjoy some of the incredible nature that New Zealand offers. It was initially established in 1901 for research to test out the suitability of different forest species for commercial planting.
Throughout the forest you will find countless hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and even some horseback riding trails. Further along in the forest you will find picturesque lakes to relax at.
You will also find the Redwoods Treewalk at the entrance of the park, which is an elevated platform to experience the forest from a different vantage point.
And what makes the forest even better, is that it is located just a few minutes away from downtown Rotorua, making it one of the most convenient places to visit in the area.
2) How to Get to Whakarewarewa
If you are visiting Whakarewarewa, you are most likely doing so from Rotorua. It is a great base to explore the Redwoods trails and all other activities around the area.
While you can reach Rotorua by bus, it may be a bit more challenging to see each and every attraction you would like to with public transportation. Rather, to have your own car in Rotorua would be my suggestion as you will not only easily make your way around Rotorua but you will also more easily make your way around New Zealand.
» Read up on the Driving in New Zealand Guide to learn more «
Getting to the Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest should not be a big deal either way though since it is located less than 5 KM / 3 Miles from town. If you do not have a car, you can either take the Cityride bus service that drops you off not too far away from the parking lot or walk the hour from town right to the main entrance.
When looking on Google Maps be sure to type in “Redwoods i-SITE Visitor Information Centre” as that is the proper entrance to the park and hiking trails.
3) Whakarewarewa Rotorua Hiking Map
This guide in particular is going to focus in on the hiking aspect of the park with the yellow Pohaturoa trail the main emphasis. With that said though, there are five main walking trails to enjoy throughout the Redwoods that all start right at the entrance to the park:
1) Redwood Memorial Grove / Red Track / 30 Minutes / 2 KM
2) Waitawa Walk / Blue Track / 1 Hour / 3.4 KM
3) Quarry Lookout Track / Green Track / 1.5 Hours / 4.8 KM
4) Pohaturoa Track / Yellow Track / 2 Hours / 7.5 KM
5) Tokorangi Pa Track / Purple Track / 3.5 Hours / 11.5 KM
From a hiking perspective, it is completely free to enter the forest and take part of these trails. The only thing that would cost some money would be that Redwoods Treewalk mentioned earlier. Below is the hiking map with the yellow trail more deeply highlighted.
4) Rotorua Walks / Pohaturoa Track
The reason I decided to head off on the yellow Pohaturoa Track is because I heard it was the one that had the best combination of Rotorua views and Redwoods. If you are just looking for a shorter track and just want to enjoy some Redwoods, then the Red and Blue Tracks are great options as well.
As mentioned above though, the Yellow Pohaturoa Track is about 7.5 KM / 4.7 Miles and should take about 2 hours to complete the loop. While most of the trail is relatively flat, you will find some uphills and downhills throughout.
From the entrance of the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, simply follow the yellow hiking markers throughout the duration of the trail until you end up back at the starting point.
At the beginning of this Rotorua Redwood walk you will experience plenty of Redwoods all around you. The trail will be on pavement, dirt, road and more as you make your way around the Whakarewarewa Forest.
About 40 minutes into the trail you will be directed upwards towards a viewpoint of Rotorua. This is definitely one of the highlights of the hike as you get to see Lake Rotorua and the town of Rotorua out in the distance with the Te Puia geothermal area right below you.
If you are lucky enough (or wait long enough), you should be able to see the Pohutu Geyser erupting as well, making this viewpoint even that much more memorable.
After enjoying the views, you can continue along the track, surrounded by a variety of different types of trees in every which direction.
You will also come across some incredible viewpoints of the never ending Redwoods at one point or another during the trail. The next 1-1.5 hours or so will be spent just following the path through the forest and enjoying the beautiful nature that New Zealand has to offer.
From there it is just following those yellow / Pohaturoa marked signs through the forest and back to the starting point.
5) Other Rotorua Activities
Rotorua is one of those towns in New Zealand where there is just so much to do all around the area. Some of the activities are a bit farther out, while others are right in the town itself. I put together a guide that goes over the 12 best Rotorua activities including some time in the Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest. Below are the other 11 activities to take part of:
» You can learn much more about each and every attraction in the 12 Best Rotorua Activities Guide
1. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
2. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
3. Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve ⇒ Learn more in the Hiking Rainbow Mountain Guide!
4. Hamurana Springs ⇒ Learn more in the Hamurana Springs Guide!
5. Okere Falls ⇒ Learn more about the Okere Falls Walk
6. Blue / Green Lakes Viewpoint ⇒ Learn more in the Blue & Green Lakes Lookout Guide!
7. Kerosene Creek
8. Polynesian Spa
9. Rotorua Museum
10. Rotorua Waterfront
11. Kuirau Park ⇒ Learn more about walking through Kuirau Park
6) Where to Stay in Rotorua
Rotorua offers a variety of options for its visitors – everything from budget backpacker friendly to high luxury. No matter what you are looking for there will be an option for you. Below are some highly rated recommendations based on price range.
2. YHA Rotorua
I hope you enjoyed reading through this Rotorua walks guide for the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. If you have any questions or comments feel free to write them in below. Also check out the other New Zealand itineraries and guides I have up on the site to help out with any other trip planning. Have fun out there and safe travels!