Jess is a Wanderer returned to the Bay of Plenty region – namely, Rotorua, in order to conquer the 740m high Rainbow Mountain. Made of different rocks, there are plenty of colours to pass on the ascent. Several lakes scatter the landscape with their beautiful bright blue colours.
From the car park located just off highway 2 (past the turn off for highway 38 if coming from Rotorua), it’s a 500m walk to the beautiful (but smelly, of course) blue lake at the bottom of the trail. From there, 3km through open land and bush leads you to the summit at 740m up.
It’s a fairly easy walk until the last 1km which is exceptionally steep in comparison with the rest of the trail. Also, if it had been raining (which fortunately it hadn’t), there’s a lot of soft rock which I think would have been extremely slippy and made the trail quite impossible to conquer!
Definitely check the weather. It’s only a 7km round-trip with a suggested walking time of three hours. The track is shared with mountain-bikers so do be alert and dive into the bush if needs be. I didn’t see any cyclists (which was a shame) as the track looked so difficult it would have been interesting to see how anyone attempted reaching the summit on wheels.
All in all, Rainbow Mountain is a lovely trek and has beautiful scenery so it’s a must-do when in the area.
Just a short drive down a gravel road (also off highway 2 towards Taupo) is Kerosene Falls. This is a natural hot spring and BOY IS IT HOT!!!! After a super sweaty hike up Rainbow Mountain I was looking forward to some cool water. Well… this stuff was hotter than what I’d shower in, let alone sit out in nature in. It was just making me sweatier and sweatier!! I didn’t last long. However, it is a fascinatingly bizarre experience (also totally free) that should be attempted by all. Literally, a river with waterfalls out in the bush but totally absolutely warm! Crazy. Oh and it stinks too.