Last updated on January 29th, 2020 at 05:28 pm
If you’re planning a trip to Rotorua, New Zealand and want to experience a kid-friendly adventure, you’ll want to check out the Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua. Scroll to find out exactly what to expect and things to know before you visit one of the coolest things to do with kids in Rotorua, New Zealand.
This post about the Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Things to do in Rotorua with Kids
Rotorua is about a 3 hours drive from Auckland and it’s a city filled with cultural and adventure activities.
Since I knew that Rotorua was one of the best places to learn about Maori culture, that was the only thing I planned prior to arriving. We reserved our tickets for the Tamaki Maori Village cultural experience a few weeks before the trip. That experience was incredible and you can read my full post about it here.
But, we also wanted to do something involving nature. Rotorua is really beautiful! Because our kids are younger (3 years old and 6 years old), we wanted to find an adventure that they could fully participate in.
We love exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park up in Vancouver, BC and doing their tree walk. So, when we saw the Rotorua tree walk activity, we figured that would be a slam dunk. And we were right!
If you’re looking for more kid-friendly things to do in Rotorua, check out this New Zealand itinerary
What is the Rotorua Redwoods Tree Walk?
Imagine a lush Redwoods forest where you can walk 20 meters high up in the trees across 28 swinging bridges. As you walk around, you get a birds eye view of the forest below and above. And you’ll hear birds chirping.
The walkway has been specifically designed and constructed to preserve the trees, plants, and the surrounding natural environment by using a uniquely constructed New Zealand-first technologically designed sling, which is suspended from the Redwood trees.
While the Redwood trees were planted in the early 1900s, this eco-walk in the Whakarewarewa Forest opened in 2015. It is completely safe and there are no age restrictions or physical limitations, which makes is a kid-friendly Rotorua activity.
In fact, more than 600,000 people visit every year.
Guide to the Redwood Tree Walk in Rotorua
The Redwood Tree Walk in Rotorua is located right off a main street. I recommend grabbing coffee and breakfast at Sequoia Eatery on your way. Their coffee was incredible!
There’s also the Outdoorsman right next door to the cafe. It’s an outdoor outfitters, kind of like a small REI. They had a big sale on jackets and fleeces when we went right after Christmas.
As soon as we drove in, we found tons of parking available in their free lot. We were there mid-morning on a weekend. Some of the spots offered shade.
There are a ton of restrooms near the gift shop and Redwoods Tree Walk starting point. They actually look really cute from the outside!
Almost everyone in our group took a few minutes to use the facilities, especially since we had kids with us.
We purchased our tickets online but you can also purchase tickets in the gift shop. Because we were already planning on doing the Tamaki Maori Village that evening (and it was our last night in Rotorua), we didn’t do the combo ticket.
The combo ticket allows visitors to come back and experience the tree walk at night, which is a completely different experience. Guests have 2 days to use the combo ticket.
TREE WALK STARTING POINT
One of the most visually stunning parts of the Rotorua Tree Walk is the spiral ramp right at the beginning. People walk up it to get to the starting point.
It’s actually also the end of the tree walk, so staff is on site to manage guests going up and down. It’s pretty seamless.
When you get up to the top, there’s a display of a giant Redwoods tree section so you can see just how wide the trees are. It’s a fun photo spot while you wait for your turn to begin.
You’ll get in a line and a staff member is there to make sure only 8 people at a time cross the first suspension bridge. If your group is less than 8 people, they will let you cross as your own group.
We just happened to have exactly 8 people in our group, so it worked out perfectly.
They give each group a few minutes to get across before letting the next group go. That’s to give everyone enough space. Only 20 people are allowed on a platform at a time, so the spacing helps keep that from happening.
There are 28 bridges the connect to the platforms. Some bridges are short and some are long. They aren’t exactly swinging bridges, but they do bounce a lot when multiple people are crossing.
The suspension bridges have wood railings and rope netting to ensure no one falls off the bridge. It feels very safe and contained.
The bridges are also fairly narrow, so you’re able to hold onto both railings as you walk.
One of the rules is guests aren’t supposed to jump or purposefully rock the bridge. That’s a great rule because it would be easy for people to lose their balance if the bridge is moving a lot.
There are 27 platforms in the tree walk. They are very simple and basically are like a little deck that goes around the tree. There are benches available for people to sit down as they wait for their turn to cross the bridge.
Some of the platforms have a little plaque with info about plants or animals. And almost all the platforms have a sign reminding guests to not touch the trees. It never would have occurred to me that we wouldn’t be allowed to touch the trees, so I appreciated the reminders.
The platforms are a great place to take photos of the forest and of people crossing the bridge. They also make great selfie spots!
HIGH WALK VS. LOW WALK
There’s one spot where you get to decide if you want to climb up a bunch of stairs to do the high walk or keep going at the same level.
You must make a decision, as you cannot do both.
We opted to do the high walk and it wasn’t remotely scary. In fact, my 6 year old led our whole group up the stairs. What’s cool about the high walk is that is has a clear platform so you can see the forest floor below you. This was definitely a hit with the kids!
END OF TREE WALK
After you cross the final bridge, you’ll be back on the spiral ramp. A staff member will let you know when it’s safe to walk down.
At the bottom of the spiral ramp, there’s a photo area set up where you can snap a few family photos in front a giant Redwood Ring that’s more than 2,000 years old.
One staff member also gave my 6 year old an activity book where he could create a bird.
We always joke that my husband “hasn’t met a gift shop he didn’t like” and the Rotorua Tree Walk Gift Shop is no exception.
It’s actually the best gift shop I saw in Rotorua. They had a great selection of adult and children’s t-shirts (and at a reasonable price.)
Plus, they had an extensive children’s section featuring some amazing 3D projects where kids can create animals out of recycled cardboard. They are all the rage in New Zealand.
Also, there’s a little cafe inside the gift shop where you can get coffee, ice cream, pastries, and other snacks.
Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua at Night
One of the newest things to do in Rotorua at Night is the Redwoods Nightlights. It’s the same tree walk, but it’s lit up with 30 exquisite lanterns and colorful lighting designed by world-renowned designer and sustainability champion David Trubridge.
These lanterns turn on at dusk and it looks simply magical.
It’s the same price to do the Tree Walk in the daytime or nighttime. Or you can get a combo ticket and do both.
Rotorua Redwoods Tree Walk: What You Need to Know Before You Go
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Single Use Tickets
Adult (ages 16+): $30
Child (age 5-15): $20
Family (1 adult and up to 3 children): $65
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): $89
Child (under 5): Free
Combo Tickets (good for 3 days)
Adult (ages 16+): $40
Child (age 5-15): $30
Family (1 adult and up to 3 children): $85
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): $109
Child (under 5): Free
WHAT ARE THE HOURS?
9AM – 11.30PM (last entry at 11PM)
HOW TO GET TO THE ROTORUA REDWOODS TREE WALK
The physical address is: 1 Long Mile Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, 3010
- Follow the signposts as if heading to the Rotorua airport. You will be traveling on TE NGAE ROAD.
- At the first large round-a-bout turn RIGHT onto TARAWERA ROAD.
- Turn RIGHT onto LONG MILE ROAD.
- It is the second street on your right and has a big black and white sign on the corner that says “The Redwoods”. The Redwoods Visitor Centre and i-SITE is the only building on this road and is about 1 km from the corner.
On Foot or by Bike
You can follow the same directions as above OR you can follow the scenic Rotorua Walk/Cycleway which takes you off the main roads.
- Join the trails on Amohau Street just outside the Sudima Hotel.
- Follow the blue & white walk/cycle symbols across Sulphur Bay, under Te Ngae Road and along the Puarenga Stream.
- At 99 Sala Street turn left across the bridge and continue following the symbols. You will walk through forest research tree trials and pop out across from the Redwoods Visitor Centre car park.
The City Ride bus service operates Monday to Sunday, except public holidays.
- Take bus route three: Owhata, from the main bus stop on Pukuatua Street in the city centre. They leave every 30 minutes from 6.50 am.
- Hop off at the bus stop on Tarawera Road near the corner of Long Mile Road.
- Look for the big black & white sign that says “The Redwoods”. The Redwoods Visitor Centre and i-SITE is the only building on this road and is about 1 km walk from the corner.
IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO FOR FREE?
Yes, if you don’t want to spend the money to do the tree walk, you are able to walk in the forest underneath. These ground walks are on uneven terrain and you’ll want to make sure you are dressed appropriately.
HOW LONG IS THE REDWOOD TREE WALK?
This Rotorua eco-tourism walk is 700 meters long and spans across 28 suspension bridges and 27 platforms. The walk takes about 40 minutes to complete.
HOW HIGH ARE THE SUSPENSION BRIDGES?
The suspension bridges are about 30 feet above ground. The entire walk is between 9-20 meters above the forest floor.
WHAT TO WEAR ON THE ROTORUA REDWOODS TREE WALK
Because it’s an outdoor adventure, you’ll want to dress appropriately for the weather. I recommend a lightweight jacket to block the wind and rain.
Layers are another good idea. We were there in summer time, but I’m glad I had on long pants and a sweater under my rain jacket.
You’ll also want to wear sturdy, close toed shoes. Hiking boots aren’t required.
Depending on the weather, you might also want to wear a sun hat.
IS IT A GOOD RAINY DAY ACTIVITY?
Yes! This ecological walk is a perfect wet weather activity with the stunning colors of the forest coming to life in the rain.
You’ll definitely want to wear waterproof shoes and a rain jacket.
ARE PHOTOS AND VIDEO ALLOWED AT THE REDWOODS TREE WALK?
Yes! While guests are discouraged from taking photo and video while walking on the bridges, the platforms make an excellent photo spot.
View this post on Instagram
If you are planning on using your phone to take photos/video, I highly recommend getting a Love Handle or another photo grip to attach to your phone for extra security. I’m guessing a lot of people drop their phones on the Treewalk and you won’t want to be one of them.
I brought along my DJI Pocket Osmo to take video of this activity. It’s so easy to use and I was able to slip it in my pocket while crossing bridges, so I didn’t worry about dropping it.
CAN YOU BRING A DRONE?
No. Drones are not permitted around the Treewalk. Don’t bring one.
CAN YOU BRING A WHEELCHAIR OR STROLLER ON THE REDWOODS TREE WALK?
For wheelchairs, you can take them up the ramp on the starting platform, but that’s as far as you can go. But, family members in wheelchairs are invited to enjoy the view from up there while the rest of their party does the Treewalk.
View this post on Instagram
For strollers, you cannot bring your own stroller onto the Treewalk. However, they have created a super unique baby trolley/wagon that parents can use to push their baby.
Baby carriers are not allowed. All guests must be able to walk the Treewalk on their own or be pushed in the baby trolley.
ARE THERE PLACES TO SIT?
Yes. There are benches around the Redwood trees on the viewing platforms. If someone in your party needs to rest for a bit, you can sit down and let other parties go in front of you at any point during the Treewalk.
ARE DOGS ALLOWED ON THE REDWOODS TREE WALK?
No. Dogs are not permitted on the Treewalk. If you have your dog with you, you can enjoy the free walking trails on the forest floor. Just remember to keep your dog on a leash.
WHEN ARE THE NIGHT TIME LIGHTS TURNED ON?
The night lights are turned on each night around dusk.
DO YOU NEED TO USE DAY/NIGHT COMBO TICKETS ON THE SAME DAY?
No. Combo tickets are valid for three consecutive days from the first use of one entry.
DO THEY SELL FOOD/DRINK?
Yes, you’ll be able to get food and drink in the cafe inside the Gift Shop. There’s an area to sit down and they even have some children’s toys available to keep kids occupied.
IS THE REDWOODS TREE WALK IN ROTORUA KID-FRIENDLY?
Definitely! Kids of all ages can complete the walk and have a blast doing it.
What Else to do in Rotorua with Kids?
Get your discounted Hell’s Gate tickets
HOBBITON MOVIE SET
If you are a fan of The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings series, you’ll definitely want to set aside a day to explore the Hobbiton movie set.
And if you don’t have time to do the tour, you can still enjoy their cool gift shop and cafe.
Get your discounted Hobbiton Movie Set tickets
This is probably one of the coolest things to see in Rotorua. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is where you’ll see gurgling mud pools, volcanic craters and steaming lakes.