The Redwoods │ Whakarewarewa Forest
The Redwoods trees in the Whakarewarewa Forest are one of Rotorua’s most spectacular natural assets, and one of the city’s greatest treasures. Initially, this wasn’t one of our top reason for stopping in Rotorua. However, once we arrived and found that the forest was quite near to where we were staying, I knew we could not pass up this opportunity! There is something about forests, especially dense forests with very tall trees, that absolutely enchants and excites me. If, like me, you love the outdoors and want to experience nature at its best – this area is definitely for you! Over 5600 hectares of forest awaits you to enjoy and explore at your leisure.
We arrived at the forest entrance, and parked close to the office area. Our first mission was to try out the Redwoods Treewalk – New Zealand’s longest living tree walk. As you can imagine, we had an amazing time. Eli was not at all afraid of being so high up above the ground, and he basically ran from platform to platform. Justin (who IS cautious of heights) followed him so that Mama could take her time, breath in the magic of the forest, and take a gazillion pictures!
Activities In the Forest
The forest is most well-known for the network of superb mountain biking and walking tracks and for it’s magnificent collection of Californian Coast Redwoods. These towering trees, along with numerous other species and the fresh forest air, combine to create an invigorating atmosphere and a truly unique and special environment.
There are a number of recommended walking trails, so we picked one of the shorter ones because Elis was in his stroller. Asleep, of course! He must have tired himself out after his run through the tree-walk. All of the shorter walks are suitable for families, wheelchairs, and even strollers. If you want to take a picnic basket, you are welcome to sit down along the way and relax among the trees.
Looking Up at a Giant
Check out The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest website HERE.
The website contains write ups on all of the walks, long and short. Below are the short walks listed on the site:
Redwood Memorial Grove Track 2.0km – 30MINS
On this popular track you can meander through the breathtaking Californian Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) which were planted in 1901. These towering trees stand at approximately 219 feet (67 metres) tall and create a wonderful shelter, along with the under planted European Larch, for a diverse range of native plants and birds. Another feature of this track is the board walk, which takes you across the old thermal pond, home to a variety of exotic aquatic plant life. Admire these magnificent trees which are dedicated to the memory of the men of the New Zealand Forest Service who died in the two World Wars.
Waitawa Walk 3.4km – 1HOUR
This track takes you on an extension of the Redwood Track through the breathtaking Redwoods into a magnificent stand of Douglas fir. Discover the famous New Zealand Silver fern and the giant Mamaku ferns. Join the nature trail where many of the trees and plants are identified along the way.
The Fern Leaves
I absolutely fell in love with ferns while we were in New Zealand, so it was a real treat to be surrounded by so many giant fern leaves on the ground. As we walked through the Redwood trees, I become more and more intrigued. It felt like I was in being put into a trance-like state by the beauty around me. I know, I know – I sound like such a hippie. Seriously guys, I can’t describe how happy trees make me. To be surrounded by these incredible giants was, for me, one of the highlights of the entire New Zealand trip.
Quiet Quality Time
Thankfully, my husband knows me well, so he didn’t think I was too weird. In fact, he was happy to join in on the excitement. Eli was asleep at this stage, and for most of the walk, so we took our time and stopped many times. I think Eli really would have enjoyed walking through this forest, but it was good for us to be able to walk slowly, breath in the fresh air, and chat between ourselves.
Every now and again, I would just stand still and look up. I wanted to stay here FOREVER. I’m such a dreamer! The forest was so enchanting. I kept imagining that little fairies were about to pop out from behind the trees at any second! The rays of light coming in from between the tops of trees was mesmerizing, and the temperature was perfect.
“The upper canopy of exotic tree species provides shelter and shade to a kaleidoscope of ferns, shrubs, flowers and fungi. The understory of mostly native plants is an integral part of the forest eco-system. It adds greatly to the scenic value of the forest.Ferns are commonplace in the New Zealand landscape. There are about 200 native varieties throughout the country. They have evolved into forms that can cope in just about any environment. It is therefore no surprise that one of the most noticeable plants dominating the understory in the Whakarewarewa forest is the fern.”
Old Thermal Pond
One of the features of the track that we followed was a board walk. We stood there to looked across an old thermal pond. This pond is so clear that it looked like merely a layer of glass was covering thousands of suspected branches. The pond is home to a variety of exotic aquatic plant life.
Whether you walk, bike, horse ride, run with your dog, or just relax, this forest will evoke all sorts of feelings. It certain did for us. Check out the tree walk here: Redwoods Treewalk, Rotorua.
The only thing that I didn’t like about this place, was that I couldn’t stay here forever!
We highly suggest a visit to The Redwoods in Wakarewarewa Forest.