Rotorua Walking Festival

14th - 15 March 2020

Welcome to the Rotorua Walking Festival

Rotorua Walking Festival 14/15 March 2020

We look forward to seeing you all in 2020.

The 2020 Rotorua Walking Festival is the 27th event.

In terms of the details of the Rotorua Walking Festival these can be found on our website -

We have great walks, spot prizes and entertainment planned for our 27th Anniversary. Day One involves walks in the majestic Whakarewarewa Forest with distances of 10, 21 and 42km. On Day Two you will see Rotorua’s unique parks and urban environment displayed. Walking past café’s, through the lakefront and around the Government Gardens with distances of 10, 20 and 30km. You can enter through the brochure or online. Now is a great time to set goals for 2020 such as walking a marathon, half marathon or 10 kms! Don’t wait until New Years’ eve!

This year we are having smaller 5km walks to Saturday and Sunday these smaller walks will be Parents Centre family walk and S.P.C.A dog walk all proceeds will go to them. On Saturday we have a 5km dog walk entry for this walk is a gold coin donation processed for this will go towards the Rotorua S.P.C.A on Sunday we have a 5km Family walk entry for this walk is $5 donation processed for this will go towards the Rotorua Parents Centre both these walks start at 11am from Neal Hunt park

Unique geothermal areas, lakes and majestic Redwoods are just some of the sights that walkers will be treated to on the 2020 Rotorua Walking Festival. These walks will take in amazing geothermal features alongside special walkways, areas adjacent to Whakarewarewa (a Maori village and an area of hot thermal springs and bubbling mud pools), Te Puia (NZ Maori Arts and Crafts institute) and then into unique stream, forest and bush areas. While Day One has walks of 10, 21 and 42 kms, Day Two has walks of 10, 20 and 30 kms through Rotorua’s lakefront, parks and reserves and geothermal areas. You can walk on either day or both days and choose any distance that suits you.

Outside of the Rotorua Marathon and the Kurungaituku Netball Tournament there are not too many annual sports/recreational events that have been around in Rotorua for nearly 26 years! Why has the Rotorua Walking Festival endured? Firstly there were visionary people in the Rotary Club of Rotorua West such as Evan Jordan, Henk Bussink, Roger McElroy, Neil Goodwin, Sue Marsh and Rod Davenhill that got involved in establishing and operating the event for 18 of its 27 years.

Secondly key organisations such as Rotorua Lakes Council and the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust support it on an ongoing basis.

Thirdly the walking festival (formerly NZ International Two day Walk) established partnerships with many groups and organisations that provided facilities such as the Rotorua Netherlands Society and Lakes City Athletic Club that assisted the organisers through the use of facilities and volunteers. On a similar basis CNI Iwi Holdings Ltd and Timberlands have allowed our walkers access to our wonderful forest areas.

Significantly after just three years the Walking Festival established international credentials around the event becoming a member of the IML Walking Association and IVV, which make the event part of an international calendar of walking events around the world. The most significant factor in its success are the thousands of walkers that have participated in the event over its history. These people have come from Rotorua and other parts of NZ, but also from the far reaches of the world (eg, Finland, Russia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, UK, France and Australia). While the festival has ebbed and flowed over its 26 years, the walks in the forest on Saturday and street walks through the parks and reserves and geothermal areas on Sunday have been independently rated as some of the best of their type in the world. Many locals are great supporters of the event, but most people in Rotorua have not undertaken the event.

Why should locals do it? People are motivated for different reasons. The walks are recreational and some believe that they are not enough of a challenge! To walk 42 kms in the forest on Saturday and 30 kms on Sunday is a challenge for everyone. But the appeal is that you could be aged between 8 and 80 and you can equally find a walk that is a test, whether you walk 10 kms on one day or if you wish to walk for both days. Some locals also say they can do these walks every day without paying a fee. That is correct, but you cannot find live entertainment by our local artists (at the start/finish area), walk with people from all over the world and challenge yourself with others in a very social setting and receive a medal for doing it. This year we are challenging local organisations to form a team and come and walk the event and challenge yourself for a fun time! Over many years we have found families that have grown up around the event and come back each year. This makes the festival a very personal thing. To our local people, put a walk in the Rotorua Walking Festival on your bucket list! Go to

We look forward to seeing you all in 2020 on 14/15 March (note registrations, opening short walk and Mayoral reception are on Friday 13th March with a nocturnal walk also on 13th March.

Kind regards

Deryck Shaw
Rotorua Walking Festival

The event celebrates walking in the beautiful Rotorua landscape which includes forest, native bush, lakes, parks and our distinctive geothermal features.

The walks are conducted over two days and walkers can participate in one or both days.

Details to walks are as follows. Please show up at least 30 mins before your start time to


  • 42km Whakarewarewa Forest Walk starts at 8am
  • 21km Whakarewarewa Forest Walk starts at 9am
  • 10km Whakarewarewa Forest Walk starts at 10am


  • 30km Challenge Town Walk starts at 8am
  • 21km Town Walk starts at 9am
  • 10km Fun Walk starts at 10am

    Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you over the weekend!

    Rotorua Walking Festival Committee

    Register today. Cheque payable to: NZ Walking Association Inc.

    Post to:
    NZ Walking Association
    PO Box 1715
    New Zealand
    Direct credit to Bank a/c 03 1552 0446953 000

    Link to online registration