Last Updated: 10th Feb 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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Not Your Usual Rangitoto

Rotorua, Bay of Plenty

Submitted by Jonathan Drake

Last Updated: 10th Feb 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 20 ?

Gnarl Factor: 40 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







This trail is an out-and-back in one direction to the summit at Rangitoto with some technical climbing, along with a more casual forest loop in the other direction past the caldera lakes. Obviously it can be done in either order, however this describes the route with the summit first.

From the signboard near the Outdoor Education Centre head south on the Tarawhai Track. Keep right always, as there will be two forks to the left. The second of these forks will shortly see you climbing into the hills on the Western Okataina Walkway. Eventually you will again come to another fork, where the Western Okataina Walkway continues to the left along the range. Taking another right will take you up to the Rangitoto trig and hopefully some incredible views.

Retrace your steps, then once back at that start follow the access road to Lake Okataina Road. Turn right to follow the road briefly before then taking a left onto the Ngahopua ("The Caldera") track. Be sure to look out for great views of the two very different caldera on your right as you pass them. This track is a simple loop that will take you back to Lake Okataina Road directly opposite the access road that will take you back to the start.

For a variation to this route, coming back down from the summit and hills you can follow the trails south of the Outdoor Education Centre and across Lake Okataina Road onto more trails that then link up with the Ngahopua track - see the NZ Topo Map for more detail.

This trail includes the peak Rangitoto Peak.

This route summits Rangitoto Peak, the highest point in the Wkakapoungakau Range with great views over parts of Lake Rotorua, Southern Waikato and Western Bay of Plenty on a clear day. It also adds a circuit past the caldera lakes of Rotoatua and Rotongata.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There isn't a marked carpark but there is adequate space to park on the grassy area adjacent to the loop at the end of the access road, across from the Outdoor Education Centre buildings and grounds.

29 km

31 minutes




Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

There are no sources of water on the trail.

The trail to the summit could be slippery in places in wet conditions, and the area around the trig while not greatly exposed but is likely to be more exposed in high rains or winds.

Trail Legend


Emma Dryland

has completed Not Your Usual Rangitoto once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

I really enjoyed the trail to see Rotongata and Rotoatau lakes!

Emma Dryland

January 21, 2024

Beautiful trail with enough vertical over a reasonably short distance to keep you honest. Decent views from the trip on a good day.

Anthony Sowerby

January 28, 2023

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