The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest – Rotorua, New Zealand
Looking to redeem the day, we continued our morning routine- woke up early and fixed our oatmeal- and headed out the to The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. Surprised to read about a redwood population in New Zealand, it was an obvious stop to compare to the California Redwoods. There are two options- the free one where you walk around the forrest floor or the paid one where you walk in the tree walk set up with a series of suspension bridges among the trees.
We ended up doing both options, starting with the Redwood Treewalk and while it was a bit pricey at $29 a ticket, it gives a unique perspective high above the forrest floor through a 700 meter trail.
The walk had two height levels (9 and 12 meters) and many informative plaques as you walked. Planted as recently as 100 years ago, these redwoods get more moisture than the California counterparts since New Zealand has rainfall as opposed to relying on the California fog for moisture. This has allowed the New Zealand Redwoods to grow much faster and are already as tall as the California Redwoods that have been there for thousands of years. Since the growth is more rapid, the bark of the New Zealand Redwood is very soft and not hard like traditional tree bark. These factors make redwoods more suited for New Zealand climate than the iconic location in California. Very interesting!
The fern trees are also very important the to New Zealand people. The fern is the sign on the sport teams and often referenced by the Māori people. It is shown as white because the underside of the fern leaves show a lighter color but more importantly, reflective. These leaves were used for tracking purposes by the Māori as the leaves reflected the moon light. These populated the ground floor of the forrest extensively.
After an hour exploring the tree walk, we spent another hour walking the forrest floor as the sun began to shine through the forrest illuminating the water droplets throughout the trees. It was such a peaceful walk in the morning before the crowds over ran the place.
This was a great spot to visit in Rotorua and a nice change of pace among all the exhilarating activities, not to mention the beautiful scenery. The treewalk is also available at night which I am sure is another unique experience.