Lake Okareka is only a 10 - 15 minute drive from Rotorua, past the Redwoods and up the hill, and is one off a cluster of four lakes. At the end of Acacia Road is a lovely boardwalk that travels around the edge of the lake where there is an abundance of bird life. The walk follows the lake edge where you then turn around, and head back. A lovely flat walk.
Kuirau Park is located on the edge of Rotorua City. This is a public park where you can relax and enjoy walking through the beautiful gardens, and exploring some of the geothermal hot-spots the parks has to offer, including mud pools and hot steam. On Saturday mornings you can enjoy the Kuirau Park Markets, which is great to have breakfast and mingle with the locals. It’s an idea place for a picnic, walk, bike ride or watch the kids play in the local playground.
The Government Gardens are a part of Rotorua City, housing the beautiful Rotorua Museum built in the early 1900s. This is a spectacular location with beautifully maintained gardens, where you can really feel the history and wander through the vast number of gardens and relax. Certainly, worth a drive in and a relaxing wander. Although the museum is currently closed the gardens are amazing!
Ohinemutu is one of our older local Maori Villages nestled on a beautiful setting overlooking the Rotorua Lake. This is the home place of the Ngāti Whakaue tribe where the local people still utilise the thermal resources for heating, cooking and bathing. Visitors are welcome to visit and discover the natural way resources are used in the modern world. This is a spiritual location, with the St Faith's Church sitting proud amongst the Tama-te-kapua Meeting House and the other local thermal facilities. The location is only a 10 minutes’ walk from the town.
Kuirau Park Markets are on every Saturday morning from 6am to 1pm, organised by the good people of the Rotorua Rotary International Club. There are a range of offerings from breakfast items from a wide range of ethnicities, to stores selling clothing wear, to fresh fruit and vegetables. While mixing with the locals, you also get to listen to some local musicians playing a few tunes. The foot baths are only a few metres away and so is the playground for the kids to entertain themselves. A good start to the day to fill yourself up at the markets.
The Redwood Forest is one of Rotorua’s jewels of the district. This is a just a magnificent outdoor recreational playground. With over 5600 hectares of forest, most visitors can explore the abundance of walking tracks, or venture out on to the world class mountain bike tracks. There is an abundance of Californian Coast Redwoods that are just mind blowing. A good place to start is Long Mile Road where you have the option of 30 minute, 1 and 2 hr walks which are all colour coded. For more information go to www.redwoods.co.nz
Kerosene Creek is a natural hot stream that flows through nature, leading over a waterfall. This is real Kiwi rustic adventure. No changing rooms, just nature to hide behind while you change into your trunks (togs). If you have been for a local tramp, this is a perfect way to relax the muscles in the body. This is an approximately a 30-minute drive from Rotorua.
Rainbow Mountain is located 25 minutes' drive from Rotorua heading southwards Taupo, about 25 km. Rainbow Mountain is a geothermal landscape with a unique coloured terrain. There are a number of walking and mountain biking tracks. The walk to the summit will take about an hour and a half depending on fitness level. At the top of the mountain the view is amazing – overlooking lakes, Tarawera, Rerewhakaaitu and Rotomahana to the North, and to the South, Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupo. There are a number of native plants that are unique due to the geothermal environment.