Everyone knows and admires the Redwood Park at Rotorua. For bike riders it is heaven. For tourists it is compulsory. Rotorua Council deserves full credit for the way it has been developed as a tourist mecca. But did you know Turangi has our own Redwood Park too?
It is on the same scale proportionately, RotoVagus has a resident population of over 77,000. Turangi’s resident population is less than 3,000 and still declining. So the Turangi Redwood “forest” is about one twenty-fifth of their size.
That’s OK. The access track – Tongariro River Trail – meanders for 15 km alongside a truely world-famous trout fishing river that attracts tourist anglers and bikers from Rotorua and all other places.
In Turangi our Toe-paw Council, based fifty km away, does not even realise it exists. It deserves a special mention as so many tourist walkers and bikers pass through it every day without recognising it. They are there to walk the loop – the 15 km Tongariro River Trail is well known. The location is just north of the Mangamawhitiwhiti Stream on the TRB (True Right Bank looking downriver) above the Hydro Pool, about five minutes walk south of the swing bridge at the end of Koura Street.
Apparently, local legend has it that a few years ago, a teacher at the local high school was departing back to his native California and decided to leave a permanent footprint on his favourite river trail. The Redwood seedlings were planted alongside the Tongariro River Trail underneath the existing scrub. By the time they were discovered they had grown too big to remove. Now they are one of the many features of the Tongariro River Trail. Perhaps, like the famous pools, they deserve a tourist information board to explain their history.