77. A walk of wonders on Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights
In New Zealand’s indigenous language of te reo Māori, tiaki means ‘to care for people and place’, and the country’s invitation for travellers to take the ‘Tiaki Promise’ inspires visitors to ‘care for the land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace’: here is No. 77 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
Located in the city of Rotorua, Redwoods Treewalk is a 700-metre-long eco-walk suspended high above and weaving its way through the delicate and unique forest ecosystem. The endeavour takes its responsibility to preserving and protecting the landscape here very seriously, having been entrusted by the manu whenua (Māori tribes with historic and territorial rights over the land here) as ‘guardians’ of the land and forest it operates on, a concept known as kaitiakitanga.
As a result, the 28 innovative eco-suspended bridges high above the forest floor that make up the walk have been intricately designed as living decks that adapt to the surrounding trees’ rapid growth without restricting or causing harm to them, and honour and accentuate the stunning natural environment.
Redwoods Treewalk also pays attention to its social responsibilities, supporting local charities and organisations the likes of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rotorua, Special Olympics Rotorua and Make-A-Wish, among others. The walk takes about 40 minutes to complete, passing by 27 majestic California Redwood trees that are more than 118 years old, with the highest section, the 100-metre-long Highwalk Loop branching off from the High Viewing around the forest’s tallest tree, hovering 20 metres above the ground.
While the walk is an impressive undertaking at any time of the day, the wonder of it all is amped up after dark with Redwoods Nightlights. The ethereally lit wooden lanterns, that were designed by David Trubridge, a sustainability champion and avid environmentalist, use minimal materials and have been left raw and unfinished in order to blend with their natural surroundings as they illuminate and cast patterns on the trees and ferns of the forest in the inky darkness.