Double RainbowBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestLakesideOpen tussock/grasslandsVolcanic
Beginner - Intermediate
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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From the carpark follow the main trail, take the left turn a few hundred metres up on your left to the Crater Lake... well worth a look, then return to the main trail and continue slowly climbing until you come to some signs and an intersection.
Take the left trail signposted to the Summit and start climbing in earnest. Follow the trail to the road at the top (stopping for the views and photos of course), when you hit the road, turn left, a wee way up on the left is another trail, head onto that and climb to the road above that, turn left again and you are at the summit.
Once you have taken that all in and snapped some pics, head down the road for about 1.3km, ignoring the trails you came up and the MTB Trail. Then at a sharp corner in the road you will see a trail sign for Te Ranga Trail. This is the bottom half of the MTB trail that started further up and is generally treated as dual use, but be aware of any MTB riders and give way to them at all times. Follow the trail down, there is one split but both branches take you to the same place so suit yourself.
At the end of the trail (unless you need the loo, which is to the left in the Kerosene Creek Carpark) head right and follow the orange triangle route. This goes straight for about 500m and then turns left into lovely single trail, slowly climbing. Follow this trail, ignoring the one exit to the left and eventually it will bring you to the same intersection you were at earlier. Turn right this time and head up the mountain again... all the way to the top.
Once at the top and you've had a drink and boasted to the tourists about how it's your second time up today, head down the road again, but this time run straight past the previous turnoff and follow the road all the way to the bottom. There you will come out onto another road amongst the pine trees, turn left and then in about 500m left again. This turn may be a bit overgrown today so watch out for it. Carry on this road (you may even see a couple of red arrows from the Double Rainbow event) - past two gates - all the way to the highway. At the highway turn left and run for about 200m along the verge until you see the entrance for the trail. Follow this wonderful bush single trail for 2.5km to your car.
Features of interest
Plenty here... volcanic lakes, 360 degree views as far as Ruapehu on a fine day, great views most days of Lakes Tarawera, Ruataniwha, Rerewhakaitu and Okaro plus a few more small ones... and of course you can see Mount Tarawera.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 30%
Gravel Road: 30%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
From the centre of Rotorua, take the road to Taupo (S.H.5) for about 16km... just past the turn-off to Murupara on the left you will see signs for Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve followed by the carpark.
Plenty of parking although it can be a bit pot-holed.
Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
No drinkable water - there is water about but it is all thermal.
Generally pretty good all year round, may get a bit slippery in places after prolonged rain.
A couple of steep fall-offs on the climb, tree roots and trippable rocks on the single trail.
Post run indulgence
Kerosene Creek - How Water Swimming Stream
About 300 metres further towards Taupo from the Rainbow Mountain Carpark
It's free and it's awesome, lots of small swimming areas in the stream at a lovely warm temperature. Don't put your head under, as with all termal water that is dangerous. But a great place to unwind after your Double Rainbow.
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See other runs nearby:
Tokorangi Pa Track
Tarawera Trail Route Recce
Valley of the Killer Zombie Wallabies
Blue and Green Lake Loops
Whakarewarea Circuit - the Black Track
Yellow Plus Cardiac
Fat Man's Run
Okataina...Eastern & Western
The Other Okataina Trails
3 of the Best
RTRC Club Track Loop
A Roundabout Way to the Lost Tank
Whirinaki Long Loop
Lake Okareka Walkway
As You Do Loop
Not Your Usual Rangitoto