The 757 m high summit of Mt Ngongotaha, near Rotorua, is accessible by the Jubilee Track, a walking track starting by Paradise Valley Rd, or by walking or biking up the last 5 km or so of Mountain Rd from the carpark and locked gate. The lower part of Jubilee Track is shared with the Nature Loop, an easy 3.7 km long loop with numerous information signs and panels. Unfortunately there are no longer any views of the surrounding area from the summit, due to the regrowth of native bush in the Mt Ngongotaha Reserve.
There is a small car parking area on Paradise Valley Rd next to the Violet Bonnington Reserve and the start of the Nature Loop and Jubilee Track. Basic DoC toilets are located about 100 m from the carpark, next to the track.
Lake Tikitapu or Blue Lake is situated in the Lake Tikitapu Scenic Reserve, alongside Tarawera Road and the Whakarewarewa Forest, a few kilometres south of Rotorua. The lake is used for various watersports and together with the area around it for competitions such as triathlons. A walkway of close to 6 kilometres in length runs all the way around the lake. The walkway is well formed, and has no steep sections and only a few steps. Alternative tracks are available to bypass the steps.
Parking is available directly off Tarawera Road across from the holiday park, near the Okareka Loop Road intersection. Another parking area is also available near the water ski clubhouse, at the northern end of the lake. Toilet facilities are available nearby, but some of them are closed during winter months.
The treewalk mentioned and shown in previous posts from The Redwoods in Whakarewarewa Forest opened to the public in late 2015. The access point to the treewalk is next to the information centre on Long Mile Road, off Tarawera Road. The walkway consists of a fixed starting/ending platform and 22 platforms suspended between 6 and 12 metres above ground in large redwood trees, joined by a series of suspension bridges. The total length of the walkway is just over 550 metres.
Details of the walkway can be found on the official treewalks web site, including the cost of access, the rules for the walk, and requirements such as age and weight limits. Almost anyone who can walk unaided can do the treewalk.
Tokorangi Pa Track is the longest of the three longer walking tracks through the Whakarewarewa Forest. As with the other two, the Pohaturoa Track and the Quarry Track, it starts and ends at the information centre on Long Mile Road, off Tarawera Road. The start of the tracks is covered in the posts with those two tracks, and information about the tracks can be found on the Redwoods site.
The track has a posted length of 11.5 km, with an estimated time of 3 hours 30 minutes to complete the walk. It passes through various forest areas, with several different varieties of trees, but there is no obvious sign of the actual Tokorangi Pa site along the track. A significant part of the track does not have any or only partial shade from trees. The track consists of a loop, marked for walking in a clockwise direction.
The Quarry Track in the Whakarewarewa Forest is a loop track of just over 4.5 kms starting and ending at the Redwoods information centre on Long Mile Road, off Tarawera Road.
For information about the parking and other facilities at the information centre, and the start of the Quarry Track, see the previous post about the Pohaturoa Track.
Whakarewarewa Forest, near Rotorua, is a production forest with tracks for walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders open to the public. About 12 hectares of the forest was planted in Californian redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) in 1901, About 6 hectares of these plantings remain, with some of the trees having reached a height of more than 70 metres. Numerous other tree varieties were planted in the forest at about the same time, but few of these remain today. The forest covers 5600 hectares.
The forest walks all start at the information centre at The Redwoods, on Long Mile Road, off Tarawera Road. The mountain bike trails are accessed from Waipa State Mill Road, off SH5 between Rotorua and Taupo, where there is a large parking area. Toilet faciities are available at both these locations, with shower facilities at the Waipa State Mill Road location.
Rainbow Mountain – Maungakakaramea is located adjacent to SH5 and SH38 between Rotorua and Taupo. There is a parking area just south of the SH5/SH38 intersection, across the road from a rest area by Lake Ngahewa Recreation Reserve. The mountain is located in an area with geothermal activity, with Waimangu, Waiotapu and Waikite geothermal areas nearby. The mountain itself has a number of themal vents, and steam can be seen rising in numerous locations. Continue reading
Hamurana Springs, at the northern shores of Lake Rotorua, consists of several springs producing a constant flow of cool, clear water which forms the Hamurana Stream and flowing directly into Lake Rotorua. There is a very easy and short walkway around the springs in the Hamurana Springs Reserve, which is jointly managed by DoC, Ngati Rangiwewehi, the Hamurana Golf Club, and a local community group. The golf course is next to the reserve, alongside Hamurana Rd.
There is a parking area off Hamurana Rd, giving access to the walkway. There are no toilet facilites at the carpark or in the reserve. More information can be found on the DoC web site.