Rotorua is a great place to explore with children. With a variety of family friendly walks you can discover geothermal wonders, towering trees, natural fresh-water springs, lakes and wetlands.
Hamurana Springs is the deepest natural fresh-water spring in the North Island. The family-friendly loop walk takes you through a Redwood grove and around the crystal-clear waters as the spring water makes its way to Lake Rotorua.
Kids will love watching the effect of the spring water coming through the sand at the aptly named ‘Dancing Sand Spring’ and there’s a great viewing platform for the Hamurana Spring. Locals can benefit from a discounted annual pass.
Waimangu Highlights walk
Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the perfect place for a kid-friendly walk. The highlights walk to bus stop 1 is mostly downhill with heaps for young adventures to discover along the way. Arm the kids with a temperature gun thermometer, and challenge them to count the steps up to the crystal blue Inferno Crater. Then when the little legs get tired, you can take the bus back to the visitor centre. Older kids will love the more challenging Mt Haszard hiking trail or take your time and do the full walk to the lake.
The Buried Village of Te Wairoa is a great spot for an educational day out and has several family friendly walks. You can stroll along the picturesque Te Wairoa Stream and down to Te Wairere waterfall. The steps are quite steep and can get slippery when wet, so take care with younger children. The Buried Village have some great activities for younger guests that want to explore the museum and archaeological site. There’s a Children’s Discovery Room and a treasure hunt with clues to guide you around the historic settlement.
Free Family Walks in Rotorua
Kuirau park in the centre of the city is a great place to go for a family walk. In this free geothermal attraction, you’ll discover a wealth of steamy geothermal features, boardwalks and lookouts. There’s even a kid’s playground, picnic tables and public BBQ’s. Obviously the geothermal activity comes with some danger, so make sure the little ones keep out of the safety barriers.
Lake Okareka is one of the less well-known lakes in the Rotorua region, set in a beautiful rural backdrop with views of Mount Tarawera. The Okareka walkway is a popular family walk. The wooden boardwalk trail is 2.5km one way of flat easy walking, suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. There is also a hide for bird-watching, where you can see grey teal, pukeko, coot, scaup, dabchick, shags and gulls.
The Rotorua Redwoods
The Redwoods visitor centre is the start point for a variety of colour-coded walks in the iconic Whakarewarewa Forest. Here you can find anything from the 2km Memorial Grove walk (Red Track) to the 34km tramping route, the Whakarewarewa Circuit (Black Track). Older children will enjoy the ‘Green’ Quarry track with some steps up to a lookout point. If you want to bring the bikes, the Mokopuna Trail is a family friendly trail, suitable for both walking and biking.