Walk with Giants
Prior to leaving my homeland and traveling abroad to places far and wide, New Zealand is one of those places that I never gave much thought about. Meeting so many new friends and acquaintances from Auckland and Wellington on the North Island it was inevitable that I would find myself caught up in the lore of Maori culture, the good-time stories that were shared with me, and the primal urge to dig a ‘hangi’ for dinner…whatever that is; despite never seeing any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies.
Needless to say it was only a matter of time before I was standing in the International departure lounge with passport in hand ready to embark on an epic journey, bound for the Southern Hemisphere.
Walk A Little Taller
One adventure I did find intriguing was getting back to nature and visiting the Redwood forest located just outside of Rotorua in the North Island. The gentle giants rise to staggering heights and almost immediately cause a hush to fall over you as you see the elegance and majesty of the forest.
The trees themselves were brought in at the beginning of the 20th century from California in the hopes to help the struggling timber industry. But alas, with the climate significantly different from their Northern Hemisphere home, the wood simply didn’t make good building material…but the trees themselves make for an outstanding day out.
Completely accessible to everybody, the walk through the canopy runs for over 1,800 feet (⅓ of a mile) through the forest. The 21 suspension bridges connect the redwoods together making it the longest suspended walkway of its kind in the world.
The bridges and platforms are specially designed and suspended from the trees in a type of sling. The sling can hold up to five tons of weight while still allowing the trees to grow at their natural rate and to remain undamaged.
Being among the branches and leaves of the gentle giants allows you to gain a unique perspective of the forest that cannot be attained by viewing the timber from the ground. Not only that, but the entire experience is undertaken without the need to wear harnesses or protective gear of any kind.
Nightlights to Guide You
Once dusk starts to take hold, the thicket becomes dark exceptionally fast. But if you wait just a few moments and not hurry back to the base camp, the Lantern Walk will illuminate the remainder of your elevated trek by bespoke lanterns.
The elevated pathway is now lit with a soft incandescence by 30 suspended bespoke creations, all of which have been designed by David Trubridge, allowing for a captivating nocturnal environment. With the lanterns dangling high above your head and a multitude of colored spotlights and LED lasers, the forest takes on a completely different mood.
Some of the lanterns are over eight feet tall, but with the careful assembly and installation happening in the middle of the forest, special care was taken to make sure that the forest was preserved and never harmed.
Who Can Take A Walk?
Anybody and everybody. The only real requirement they have for completing the walk is that everybody must have a reasonable level of fitness and can walk without any kind of aide…including young children. But don’t worry, kids of all ages are welcome and that includes infants. Available free of charge are special ‘prams’ that have been built to fit the narrow walkways of the suspended bridges…so everybody is welcome.
Nothing short of amazing, after completing the 30 minute walk, you’ll take away more than just an experience, you’ll get something from the trees that you never expected and can’t give back…but then again, you wouldn’t want to either. The tranquility of the forest and the blackness of night allow you to find out something about yourself, but only you will know what that is.
Every Day 9:00am to 10:00pm (Closed on Christmas)
Day Walk Nightlights Day & Night Combo
Adult: $29 $29 $39
Child: $19 $19 $29
Child: FREE FREE FREE
Family: $79 $79 $99
(2 adults and up
to 3 children)
Special rates for Rotorua residents, groups, schools, and private tours are available upon request. CONTACT THEM
*All prices are in New Zealand Dollars and are subject to change without notice.