New Zealand Redwoods Forest
By Orla O Muiri
3 minute read
Get hold of your free New Zealand Trails brochure here
The Redwoods hike is one of our favourite tracks in the North Island, showcasing redwoods at their best. Redwoods can be found in the magical Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua. It’s a truly special place teeming with life, exceptional views and exciting activities to try your hand at. You’ll be spellbound as you roam through these Californian giants.
Fun facts about New Zealand Redwoods
- The New Zealand redwoods are not native to our country, they are from the northwest coast of America.
- The name 'redwood' comes from the vibrant red colour of the tree’s heartwood.
- The redwood grove in Rotorua was planted back in 1901 with the aim of using the timber for building purposes.
- The largest redwood in Whakarewarewa is 72m tall and 169cm in diameter. If you think that’s big, redwoods in California have been known to grow to a height of 110m and live for over 600 years.
- On the majestic Redwoods hike, you’ll also see hundreds of ferns! You might also spot one of our native fauna, the ‘uropetala carovei’ dragonfly, which can grow to a size of 8cm!
- The toilet in the Redwood Forest is an attraction in itself! Designed by Darryl Church, the toilet structures blend into the landscape seamlessly. Their design replicates the scattered trees and their sturdy trunks. The structures are decorated with the traditional Māori kowhaiwhai pattern.
Things to do
You could easily while away a day amongst the New Zealand redwoods. Here are some of our favourite things to do amongst these majestic trees.
Explore on foot
There are six signposted tracks beginning from the visitor centre. Whether you are out for a stroll or looking for a challenge, you’ll find it here. Take a walk beneath the canopy of these Californian coastal redwoods and through our own native flora. We’ll take you on a walk through the Redwoods Forest on our Sweet North tour. If you’re in the mood for something truly unique, you can go on the Redwoods Treewalk and Redwoods Nightlights. This involves a 700m stroll 20m below the treetops over 28 suspension bridges. Do it at night for an even more magical experience!
Go mountain biking
The mountain biking trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest are some of the oldest mountain bike networks in the country. Rotorua has long been considered one of the premier riding destinations in the country. Boasting 130km of trails, if you’re an avid rider this experience is not to be missed.
Go horse riding
In the summer months, you’ll see many people weaving through the forest on horseback. There is a network of forestry roads and trails solely for horse riding.
Best time for the Redwoods hike
The North Island has the milder climate of the two islands. And Rotorua in the North Island is no exception, with a somewhat temperate climate year-round. The hottest months in the valley are December through to January where temperatures hit 24°C (75.2°F). In winter, temperatures range from 9°C – 16°C (48°F - 60°F).
Visiting the Redwoods with New Zealand Trails
On the third day of your Sweet North tour, you’ll get the chance to explore the forest of redwoods. After spending the morning enjoying the delights of the geothermal wonderland that is Rotorua, we’ll head for a hike amongst the jaw-dropping redwoods of the Whakarewarewa Forest.
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