Mount Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve

Mount Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve , Rotorua Overview

Mount Ngongotaha is a volcanic dome located 757 metres above sea level. Rotorua city can be viewed from this scenic reserve. Mount Ngongotaha is an iconic peak for Ngāti Whakaue (Maori tribes), who believe it was once home to patupaiarehe (fairies), whose voices and flutes can be heard on the foot of the mountain on some days.

Mount Ngongotaha

Located just on the outskirts of Rotorua, this scenic reserve is known for its walking tracks and views. These walking tracks start from the Paradise Valley road. According to the Maori tribes, the fairies provided Ihenga (grandson of the great Pacific explorer Tamatekapu) with a calabash of water to quench his thirst. Ihenga later combined the words ngongo (to drink) and taha (a calabash), giving rise to the name Ngongotaha.

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Walking tracks

Jubilee Track-
The Jubilee track is a 5-kilometre strenuous return walk to the summit of Mount Ngongotaha. This track takes about one hour one way, 2.4 kilometres in distance. This track was cut on the Jubilee Day, January 29 1890, marking 50 years since Captain Hobson arrived at Waitangi. You can spot various types of flora and fauna, some of them you wouldn’t have even heard about. The beginning of the track will be an easy walk, covered with native bush. But by the end of the track, the walk becomes steep and a little difficult to climb. There is no view of the city from the summit as the plants and trees as very tall and block the view from the summit. 

Nature walk-
The Nature walk is a 3.2-kilometre looped track that provides easy access to the forest for people who are average fit. This walk has a series of interpretation about the forest and the plants and animals that live there. You can also spot a very large and famous Rata tree while walking through this track

Rata Tree

Rata Tree

Like many of the northern Rata, this tree is the tallest in the surrounding forest. It is nearly 40 metres in height and the trunk has a diameter of about 1.8 metres. The flowers of this tree are dark red in colour that grows on the tips of the branches. Flowering usually takes place during December or January. This tree is considered very special as the people who used to live in old Rotorua remember when these red flowers of Rata provided a beautiful display on the lower slopes of the mountain. This is the only tree known which is surviving mature rata on Mount Ngongotaha.

How To Reach Mount Ngongotaha Scenic Reserve

Mount Ngongotaha is located on the outskirts of Rotorua. From the Rotorua Regional Airport, it is a 40-minute drive to the mountain. The track to the summit of Mount Ngongotaha begins from Violet Bonnington Reserve, located at the Rotorua end of Paradise Valley Road. Rotorua City Ride Eke-Taone bus route 7 (Mitchell Downs via Clayton Road) provides transport to and from Pukuatua Street in Rotorua to the corner of Clayton and Pukehangi Roads. The entrance to the track is about 10 minutes walk from Paradise Valley Road.

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