Redwoods Treewalk, Rotorua
This amazing Redwood Treewalk was brought to life by a German tourist that became a local Rotorua resident, Alex Schmid. He visited Rotorua’s internationally renowned Redwood Forest in 2009, and was inspired by the spiritual connection he had with the forest. My oh my – I had that same spiritual connection! Alex wanted to share this experience with others, but from a completely unique perspective: an elevated bird’s eye perspective. He wanted visitors to be able to see the 115-year-old redwood giants up close and to view the beautiful surrounds of the forest from a spatial perspective.
After convincing his wife to move from Germany, Mr Schmid spent the next six years bringing his dream to reality. The 553m long walkway is located 12m above the forest floor and secured using a New Zealand-first ecologically friendly method. This was the main requirement from the Forest Guardians to ensure the natural environment of the forest and the native giants were protected from harm.
Re-energise and Inspire
The 30-minute walk provides a journey behind the history of the 115-year-old Redwood Forest, the local people (iwi) and the land (whenua) allowing visitors time to appreciate the peaceful and breath-taking surroundings that re-energise and inspire the body and soul. The new night-time experience, opened on 22 December 2016, offers visitors and locals the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by Trubridges’ bespoke creations to create an immersive and captivating environment.
“This is a one of a kind eco-tourism walk that provides a unique experience for visitors to Rotorua. It offers an accessible, low-level adrenaline experience for all ages that captures the beauty and spirit of this famous forest.” – Alex Schmid
Off we Go
Elijah was super excited to explore these walkways. He was not at all fearful of how high up he was above the ground. In fact, I don’t think he even had time to look down. He walked quickly across each suspension bridge, never looking back to see where we were. My incredible husband, who isn’t the biggest fan of heights, followed Eli while I took my time. Justin knows how much trees means to me.
When I am in a forest: I seem to drift off into another world. I love to stop, admire, take photos, and soak it all in. It is the moments like this that remind me what an awesome husband I have. He went on ahead with Eli while I took my time, basically doing the tree walk alone. It was magical!
Touch this Bark
All along the treetop walkway, there are informational boards at each platform. This is a really great idea – a chance to stop, relax, read, and appreciate your surroundings. I am pretty sure that I stopped to read every single information board.
Obviously, touching the Redwood trees is not a good idea. Thousands of people visit this forests a year, and if everyone touched them, they would quickly damage. At this stop, however, there is some bark for visitors to touch.
How Interesting: The Coastal Redwoods bark can grow up to 300mm thick!
The Tallest Tree on the Treewalk
The tallest tree on the tree walk is one of the original 1901 redwood plantings. It is 72m high, has a radius of 1m, and a circumference of 6.2m – Looking up at this beautiful tree was breathtaking! Coastal Redwoods like this one are the tallest trees in the world and, given the right conditions, can grow up to 115m tall!
Interesting Fact: As trees grow taller, getting water to the leaves becomes difficult due to gravity, and the path of resistance, as water travels from the roots up the trunk to the leaves. Imagine drinking from a 100m+ long straw! THIS limits how high trees can grow.
A typical house uses roughly 10 cubic meters of wood, but only half of log volume appears as finished sawn timber. Therefore, this amazing 72m high tree has enough timber to build around 3 and 1/2 houses!
A Forest of Ferns
There is no doubt about it, I 100% fell in love with ferns while we traveling through New Zealand! This country is home to almost 200 species of ferns. They belong to ancient groups of plants with long fossil records, extending back about 380 million years.
We Will be Back!
While I was walking, I noticed that some trees had pretty lanterns around them. Now, if I was traveling alone, or even if I had an international driving license, I would have driven back here that evening. But I had to take into consideration that my husband might not be floating in euphoria the same way that I was. Our entry treewalk tickets also included a free night walk. When I presented this idea to my husband, I sort of expected him to shrug it off. When he happily agreed to return to the Redwood forest that evening, I was sooooooo thrilled!
What nature Does for your Mind
I saw this information on one of the last boards along the walkway, and it really made me smile…
In one study, people performing memory and attention test upped their scores by 20% after walking through an arboretum. Walking down a busy street, by comparison, offered no such benefit. You don’t even necessarily have to enjoy the walk to get the benefit, because “what you like is not necessarily going to be good for you”. Thankfully, for me personally, I don’t think that I could love anything more than walking through a forest!
Nature is a stress killer and offers a cascade of benefits, including: rejuvenating physical energy, faster physical recovery, and reduced anxiety. It reduces muscles tension, deceases stress hormones, and heightens immunity. If you have high blood pressure… you might benefit from a nature walk! It lowers blood pressure and heart rate! INCREDIBLE NATURE!
Can you tell how joyful this experience made me? I was in heaven. Imagine my excitement when we left the treewalk, and started walking on the ground, at the base of the trees. If I thought that I had experienced something magical up in the trees, it was nothing compared to the spiritual connection that I felt when we walked through the paths between the trees. More on that coming in another post! Clearly it doesn’t take much to make this girl happy!