Rotorua's Essential 50: Day 25 - Mt Tarawera worth effort

By Mike Watson mike watson@dailypost co nz

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SPLIT IN TWO: Mount Tarawera has loomed large over Rotorua and its residents since a violent eruption in 1886. PHOTO/FILE
SPLIT IN TWO: Mount Tarawera has loomed large over Rotorua and its residents since a violent eruption in 1886. PHOTO/FILE

At just over 1100m Mt Tarawera is the highest mountain in the region and well worth a day trip to the top of the 17km long, narrow crater.

Access on the privately owned mountain has been restricted since 2009 and can only be completed with a commercial travel guide in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or by helicopter.

The restrictions have enhanced the area - there is now less vandalism and refuse - and made the track safer.

The mountain, steeped in Maori history, is famous for one of New Zealand's most spectacular volcanic eruptions, when tonnes of rock and mud was blasted into the air on June 10, 1886.

More than 100 people were killed in the violent eruption as several villages within a 5km radius were destroyed, and the Pink and White Terraces - reputed to be one of the Wonders of the World - disappeared beneath the surface of Lake Rotomahana.

One of the highlights of venturing up to Mt Tarawera is the long, scrambling descent on scoria into the middle of the crater which appears to have been split in two by the eruption.

Back on top there are spectacular views of a series of volcanic cones and lakes, including Lake Tarawera. Robust footwear and clothing is essential as well as adequate food and water. The Rotorua Daily Post Essential 50 lists the city's must-see, must-do and must-try activities and experiences thanks to reader nominations. We'll be highlighting one every day over summer.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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