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

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Central North Island
  • Distance: 2.80 kms
  • Time needed: 1 Hour 30 Minutes to the top
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Double back
  • Elevation: 743m
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: No
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes
  • Last Updated: November, 2019

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Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Point 1: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk – Start

Crater Lakes look out 650m, 2.8 km.  The start of the track is easy to find, for a change DOC have build a sign that you can see and read.  The question is how long will it last.

Point 2: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk

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 look out, 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.

Point 3: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk

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, its only 50m.

Point 4: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk

Point 5: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk

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.

Point 6: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk

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.

Point 7: Rainbow Mountain Reserve Walk

1 hour 40 minutes to the top, now it’s time for hot coffee and cake.  The last 15 minutes is a little steep and rough. You will walk out on to 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 rain water 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.  Take a look at the Kerosene Creek walk on  In the first photo you can just see the red car in the Kerosene Creek car park.

Kerosene creek
184m at 1.8 km

Lake Okora
013m at 2.3 km

Lake Rotomahana
038m at 7.8 km

Lake Tarawera
015m at 14.2 km

Mt Tarawera
045m at 14.6 km

Mt Ruapehu
213m at 128 km

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