Rotorua, cont.

Our last day in Rotorua, we started with an easy hike at the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest Park. It was originally home to nearly 200 tree species, planted around the turn of the century to see which could be grown successfully for timber. The radiata pine took off, but it’s the California redwoods that make this park so magnificient today. The park is only about a mile from the center of town. We hiked the Pohaturoa Track, a 5 mile route that led us through the forest and up to a nice lookout viewpoint.

the grandeur of the redwoods


getting a sense of the magnitude of redwoods; these ones are “only” about 100 years old

hiking through the redwoods forest

at the viewpoint


view of rotorua; whakarewarewa thermal village in foreground

The majority of geothermal areas in Rotorua have been commercialized (translation: pay a hefty entry fee to get close to them alongside buses full of tourists). There is, however, one place in town where you can experience geothermal goodness without all the hype – Kuirau Park. We decided to check it out.

kuirau park


the park even has a couple places where you can soak your feet in geothermal waters

Our last stop before leaving Rotorua was Rainbow Mountain, so named because of its colored slopes. The mountain has volcanic origins and is still visibly smoldering in spots. During the hike, I could feel the heat coming off the rocks alongside the trail. It was a strange sensation. At the bottom of Rainbow Mountain is a crater lake. After visiting the lake, we took the trail to the mountain’s peak for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

crater lake


my shirt coordinates with the scenery


the bare brown, orange and red steaming cliffs


the views start to impress before we even reach the summit


at the summit


summit view


summit shot


headed back down the mountain


on our way back down, jay gets caught in one of those prickly plants, ouch!

That’s it for Rotorua. Next up: Tongariro National Park.

goodbye lake okareka campsite

6 responses to “Rotorua, cont.

  1. This trip is more like a three month training camp! What spectacular views you have captured with a bonus of wildlife. BTW, I love it when you tell us in advance “our” next destination because then I can look it up. Tongariro National Park sounds awesome: Emerald lakes, alpine meadows and hot springs surround the largest volcanoes in the North Island. Can’t wait to see it through your eyes.

  2. WOW! That all looks breathtaking and amazing!!! Our God is an amazing Creator God!! To think He merely spoke and it all came to be! Image how much more beautiful it was before the fall and how much greater the beauty will be in the new heaven and earth! Hard to fathom! So thankful that you are getting to experience so much!

  3. So awesome except for those painful prickly plants!! 🙂 ~those redwood trees are magnificitly beautiful~loved the way you captured the feel of being in them with your photos! Interesting looking summit structure. Curious…was there any unpleasant smell that came along with the smoldering heat off the cliffs & water?

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