Coming to Rotorua on holiday? Live in Rotorua? Please put the Redwoods Nightlights on your To Do List…
Over the school holidays,, I’d promised the kids (mine and the neighbours’) that I’d take them to the Redwoods Treewalk Nightlights if they “behave themselves with no fighting”. As hoped, my bribery was a winner, mostly, so off we went, well passed bedtime. We wrapped up warm and popped, literally, around the corner to the forest. The kids were pumped at staying up late and at the thought of seeing the lights. I eyeball the walk often, as I spend a bit of time meandering in the forest, and the lights and the walk itself looked simply ah-mazing. I was as keen as a bean!
Backing up the bus, I’d actually not heard too much about the attraction. The only people I knew that had done the Treewalk were our American visitors who rented out our house on AirBNB over the holidays. They’d enjoyed the walk so much they messaged to to say that it was so fabulous that they did it twice. High praise!
Wait. Haven’t heard of Rotorua’s newest Eco-Tourism attraction? Let me fill you in first.
Using ecologically friendly engineering, the Treewalk is located in Whakarewarewa forest (aka ‘Whaka’ or ‘the Redwoods’). This is a walk that is, literally, suspended through the trees (which are Redwood trees, 100 year old ones in fact). The walk is 553 metres long, there’s a series of suspension bridges and living decks. You don’t need any special equipment, this is designed for use without harnesses or protective gear, think of it a bit like a swing bridge across a river, only safer, with NO freaky gaps to fall through…
The Redwoods Treewalk was the vision of German Tourist, and now local resident, Alex Schmidt, who visited our beautiful forest in 2009. He was so inspired by the beauty of the forest, and the spiritual connection he felt, he wanted to share the experience with others: But from a unique perspective. Alex, who’d been involved in developing Treewalks in Germany, wanted to construct an experience with an elevated bird’s eye perspective. He wanted visitors to see the 110 -year-old redwood giants up close and view the beautiful forest from a spatial perspective. The walk is the result of Alex’s dream and perseverance. After convincing his wife to emigrate from Germany he secured support for his dream and… Voila! Here we have the Redwoods Treewalk.
Fitness wise, you don’t need to be fit (hell, I’m not). If you can walk you are good to go! The only prerequisite is that you can walk unaided, so kids that can’t, well, walk, are out: You can’t carry them at any stage on the walk.
Options: Day or Night Walk
There’s two options for the Treetop walk. You can do the walk during the day (which I haven’t done, yet). Now, since December, can do the walk at night. The Treewalk at night particularly piqued my interest. Why? Treewalk paired up with NZ world-acclaimed design and sustainability champion, David Trubridge, to put on the Nightlight experience. I’m a long-time fan of David’s and I was hankering to see his bespoke creations set up in, what is pretty much, my backyard. As a Hawke’s Bay girl, there was extra appeal for me knowing that the lanterns were made at David’s workshop in Hastings. I’m also a girl with forestry connections. Hubby is a forester and I used to work at Scion, the Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute that collaborated with David to develop the science and technology behind this work. For me at least, this attraction was all round, a must see.
Oh, we loved it. What a beautiful attraction. I thought there would be a few lanterns, but no! There were 30 giant Trubridge lanterns scattered throughout the forest and some of them are up to 2.5m tall!. In addition to the lanterns there were over 40 colour spots and feature lights set up which illuminated all the trees, the pungas and the ferns. The result was a captivating and magical look. One kid summed it up perfectly “Wow! This is majestical!”
The walk takes as long as you like, we meandered and took our time to enjoy the view from each living deck. The website says allow half an hour, we spent nearly an hour in there. Nope, the kids weren’t bored. They were captivated.
There’s a great education piece about this attraction too, as you go you learn about the history of the 110 year old Redwood Forest, the local iwi and the land. We read every sign and walked away with our brains full.
The only ‘bummer’ about the experience was that I couldn’t take decent photos to capture its breath-taking beauty. I was even prepared and took my ‘good camera’ but I’m, frankly, a bit of an amateur, and I ditched fiddling around with the settings, and just stayed in the moment and enjoyed the view. Consequently, as a disclaimer, the photos featured in this post were nicked off the Redwoods Treewalk site! These profesional photos, I’m pleased to report, are true to form, this is actually what the Nightlights looks like in person.
Here’s a pic of us though 🙂
Pricing, as you can see on the right, it is the same for the day or night experience. I would personally recommend getting the day and nightlights ‘combo’ and, literally, go twice, once during day light, once that night: Combo tickets must be used on the same day.
Are you a Rotorua local? Good news, there’s a local rate: $15/adult (16+), $10/child (5-15 years) and day and night combo prices $25/adult (16+), $17/child (5-15 years). Just remember to take proof of ID and residence (power bill did the job for us).
Tickets can be purchased from Rorotura’s i-Site on Fenton Street, or at the attraction at the i-Site Visitor Info Centre at the Redwoods. I know it looks pricey, but let me say, I’d do this again and in fact I will – Hubby wants to go! It was a unique experience and I reckon it was good bang for buck.
Redwood Treewalk opens at 9.00am. The Nightlights walk is open from 6:30 pm – 11:00pm. These are best viewed from 8.45 pm onwards, due to current daylight hours, but are turned on from 6.30. Be mindful that the last ticket is sold at 10.30pm. The Treewalk is open in all conditions, I’m picking the ambience and colours in the forest would be particularly pretty in the wet.
Suffice to say the Redwoods Treewalk totally met our (high) expectations. Others agree with me, it seems, I see the attraction has a well-earned 4.6 star rating on their Facebook page. On Trip Advisor it’s got four stars. So, get in. I reckon this one of a kind activity is a must-do if you are heading to Rotorua, or, like me, you are a local that’s a bit guilty of not making the most of the abundance of world-class attractions on our doorstep!
For more information, check out the Redwoods Treewalk website. Click here.
Have you been to the Redwoods Treewalk? How did you find the experience?