10 FABULOUS FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROTORUA Enter email for instant access
Rotorua Redwoods Treewalk
The Redwoods Treewalk is a fun family activity that is affordable, easily accessible, and kind to the trees. Located at Rotorua's Redwoods, what's normally an earth bound perspective of the world is upended with a walk on the high side, through the canopy of a time-worn, yet still majestic Redwood forest.
Rotorua Redwoods Treewalk Entrance
When I first saw the Treewalk as it was being built, I admit to having had reservations about it.
Why would people want to pay to do that when Canopy Tours offers so much more - in my view - with native trees up to 500yrs old, bird life only found in New Zealand, ziplines, swingbridges, 22m high tree platforms, and conservation at it's best. Granted it's pricier but it's also a 3hr experience and part of the ticket price is set aside for the conservation efforts of this eco-friendly business.
And then there's the perfectly great Paradise Valley Springs Treetops Canopy Walk. Not only is it in a beautiful, native rainforest setting but it's a fascinating learning experience as well. It only costs $2 more than the Redwoods Treewalk yet there's so much more substance included. New Zealand wildlife, fish, the pride of lions, springs, and the setting is tranquil and away from the busyness of everything.
Add to this the fact that Redwoods aren't even native to New Zealand and I did wonder.
Ground view of Treewalk crossing over top of the carpark
The only conclusion I could come to is that it caters to a market that wants an affordable activity, quick to get to, a short time commitment (30min for the walk) and easy for families to do, i.e., there's no learning curve.
All you have to do is climb a set of stairs and you're ready to walk the circuit of 23 suspension bridges, measuring 553m in length, that gradually incline from 6m to 12m.
Okay, now that I get. (Patience grasshopper. I'm weighing up the pros and cons to myself as I write.) If this sounds like you, great. It's perfect.
And this is not to take anything away from the Redwoods Treewalk because it does have wonderful views of the forest, gorgeous in and of itself from whatever angle. If I was less than sold on the idea initially, once I read the back story of the creator, it did change my opinion.
Rules & Map of Redwoods Treewalk
Redwoods Treewalk Backstory
Long story short, Alex Schmid, a German tourist visiting Rotorua, fell in love with the Redwoods (and doesn't everyone). But he took it a few steps further.
As a mechanical engineer, Alex had been involved with the building of treewalks in Germany and was inspired to do the same here, to share his passion for the Redwoods with others. Alex's feeling about the forest was so great that it prompted him to leave his homeland (after talking his wife into it - I wonder how that conversation went and how long it took) and to settle in Rotorua. 6yrs later, it's all history.
Don't you love a vision like that? A vision that compels you to do something so big you're prepared to do just about anything to make it come about. When I learned that he loved the forest just like we all do, that's what sold me.
A bird's eye view from the upper platform
It is a novel experience to walk amongst the treetops no matter what type they are. And who am I to say that one treewalk is better over the other. Each is unique and what's neat is, there's one to suit everybody depending on time constraints, budget, etc.
It's only a short 5 minute drive from the city centre. All you have to do on arrival at the Redwoods is to park up, purchase your tickets in the on-site Redwoods Visitor Centre, take a few steps and you're soon high up in the canopy of the forest.
View from the walking track below.
Best Time to Visit?
When it's raining of course. Yes, really. That's when the
forest puts on its prettiest party dress.
Tree leaves and ferns take on an intense emerald sheen, gossamer threads of spider's webs
glisten with the finest of raindrops, and the scent of life dying and
being reborn, layer upon layer, year upon year, compels a person to
breathe in deeply, to capture that essence which makes one feel alive and oh so
energised. It can be quite a mystical experience
Cost & Hours
Purchase tickets at the Visitor Centre (right next to the Treewalk). This is where you will find toilets too.
Adults: $25, 5-15yrs: $15, U5yrs: Free Family: 2 Adults & 2 Children: $69 - with 3 children $79
Local prices with id and proof of living in Rotorua Adults: $15, 5-15yrs: $10, U5yrs: Free
Summer Hours 9am-6pm 1Nov - 31 Mar
Winter Hours 9am-5pm 1 Apr - 31 Oct
Directions to Redwoods Treewalk
The google map below shows you how to get to the Redwoods Treewalk - it's easy. Markers pinpoint places handy for eating and where to get off if you catch the local bus out (involves a 5-10min walk to the Redwoods).
"We are a family of four from Sydney Australia and love nature - bush to beach. We love your website and found your tips on things to do in Rotorua very valuable - exactly what we look for in destinations." Anita —Sydney
"Thank you Karen! I think you site is wonderful. We followed your ideas today for blue lake and green lake, and went to the Landing Cafe first, brilliant we would have missed Lake Tarawera otherwise and it is so beautiful and peaceful." Rosie
"Thank you for your prompt response. I have managed to get a great deal through 'book me', so once again thank you so much. Great service. " :-) Chris
"Awesome website all about Rotorua. Well done Karen Shelford." Amiria Tomoana - Global Traveller
"Yes, really worthwile information for those visiting Rotorua. Take it from someone who used it. Thank you, so much easier." Karen Hubbard - Sydney, Australia
your website is the best resource for planning a trip there that I have
encountered! It answers all of the questions you end up having after
reading other sites, and presents information in such a clear and
concise way. ... wish I'd encountered your site before printing off reams of info that will probably be whittled down to one page. ... hope the local government and tourism people realise what a great asset and ambassador they have in you! :P" Vicky Fairchild - Auckland, New Zealand