A redwood forest in New Zealand? Yes, you read that right! There is an actual Redwood forest in New Zealand. Located in Rotorua, the Whakarewarewa Forest contains real California Redwoods. Planted in the forest in the early 1900s (along with over 100 other tree varieties), the California Redwoods are one of the biggest draws of this forest.
The entire forest isn’t just made up of Redwoods though. There is a 6 hectare Redwood Grove that shows off the beauty of these massive trees, and you’ll find them throughout the forest. In addition to the Redwoods, you’ll find lots of Douglas Fir, Monterey Pine, Australian Eucalyptus, and plenty of other trees.
The Rotorua Redwoods are a popular place for mountain biking, with around 130 km of tracks that take you throughout the forest. There are also plenty of walking trails, making this a great place for both trampers and leisure walkers. Whether you’re looking for a short, simple walk or something that fills your whole day, there are plenty of options for you.
The day I went just so happened to be the day of a mountain biking competition. The forest was full of people and full of energy. The downside to that is some of the longer tracks seemed to be shut off to non-contestants, so I didn’t get to explore the forest as much as I would have liked. I was hoping to spend the whole day there, but I had to change my plans.
If you’re just looking to make a quick trip to the forest to admire the Redwoods, you can do that too. I did the 2.5 km loop walk through the Redwood Memorial Grove. This track is well-marked and super easy. It’s intended for families (kids) and leisurely walks, but there are plenty of runners and bikers using the trail as well. It’s the best option if you are just popping in for an hour or so.
Another great attraction in the Rotorua Redwoods is the Redwoods Treewalk. A series of platforms and suspension bridges have been built up in the trees, allowing you to walk high above the forest floor. It’s a beautiful, magical way to see the Redwoods and it’s a lot of fun for all ages. It does cost money though: $25 for an adult.
Getting to the Rotorua Redwoods
Getting to the Rotorua Redwoods from town is easy. If you have a car with you, get directions here. If you don’t have a car, take the City Ride bus (route 3), which stops at the end of Long Mile Road. From there it’s about a 10-minute walk to the visitor’s center. You can also walk from town along the main road or along the scenic Rotorua Walkway.
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