The day we were there, we could see Mt Ruapehu 128Km to the south from the summit

Start on this walk with the easy Crater Lake Walk, leading you to two crater lakes in about 15 minutes. Then, walk uphill through regenerating native bush, passing vibrant, steaming ridges.

Along the way, soak in the great views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy the summit for the ultimate 360-degree views!

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Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Rotorua, Central North Island
  • Distance: 2.8 km
  • Time needed: 1 Hour 30 Minutes to the top
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Double back
  • Elevation: 743m
  • Mountain Bike: Yes but downhill on the mountain bike only track
  • Toilets: Yes at the beginning of the walk
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes

Summary points about this walk

Points of interest along the walk​

Carpark at the beginning of the walk

Crater Lakes lookout 650m, 2.8 km.  The start of the track is easy to find, for a change DOC has built a sign that you can see and read.  

An easy 15 minute walk, just follow the track. Turn left at the lookout sign, and in 2 minutes you will be at the Crater Lakes lookout, take your camera. 

Back on the main track again, keep a lookout to the left for good views and an excellent place to collect your samples of coloured soil.

To the left, you will see the crystal clear Emerald Lake.  If you feel like a little rough and tumble try making your way down to the lake, it’s only 50m.

As you walk higher, the bush changes from short dirty scrub to tall open young native trees.  Great for getting out of the hot sun or out of  the cold bone chilling wind.

When you walk around a corner and catch your first glimpse of Rainbow Mountain fire lookout, you only have a 45 minute climb to the top.  From this point on, look for a very short track running off to the left; go have a look, but tread lightly.

1 hour 40 minutes to the top, now it’s time for hot coffee and cake – I packed it myself!  The last 15 minutes is a little steep and rough. You will walk out onto a service road for the fire lookout.

You can either take the road to the top or cut back over to the left and continue walking along the walking track to the top. 

Enjoy the view, you might have to move around the lookout building to find a good spot out of the cold wind.  I’m not sure how fresh the water would be out of the rainwater tank next to the lookout, I will leave that up to you to decide if it is fit to drink. 

Now look to the south, follow the power line on your left running down to the road at the bottom of Rainbow Mountain.  This is Kerosene Creek a thermal swimming hole.  In the first photo you can just see the red car in the Kerosene Creek car park.

See more of my walks in Rotorua