At the last stop on a 16-day tour Prince Harry told a group of mountain bikers their backyard was special and beautiful.

Mountain bikers, dog walkers and Halloween-costumed children greeted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their final Rotorua stop at the Redwoods Treewalk.

After a welcome from staff, the couple admired a 2000-year-old trunk section of Californian redwood, which is there as a comparison with the much-younger, slimmer, 117-year-old ones in this forest.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex start the climb to the Treewalk in the Redwoods. Photo/Stephen Parker
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex start the climb to the Treewalk in the Redwoods. Photo/Stephen Parker

The royals were then escorted up a wooden track that spiralled to a platform 9m above the ground, where they admired hanging wooden lanterns.

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Meghan, in a black puffer jacket, black pants and flat shoes, smiled enthusiastically throughout. Harry wore a black long-sleeved shirt and beige chinos.

From there, the couple were escorted across a wobbly bridge to tread part of the 700m elevated path, pausing briefly on a "living deck" which provided a bird's-eye view of the crowd and contained a sign about how the redwoods' thick bark protects against insects and fire, aiding its longevity.

Anton Mutu, 2, presents the royal couple with a map of Rotorua's mountain bike trails. Photo/Stephen Parker
Anton Mutu, 2, presents the royal couple with a map of Rotorua's mountain bike trails. Photo/Stephen Parker

After the treewalk, Harry and Meghan held hands as they walked through the redwood forest at ground level, stopping to admire a spectacularly clear blue pool ringed by ponga ferns.

Shortly afterwards, a group of mountain bikers of all ages rode past to a table of waiting drinks, where they met the royals, Meghan greeting bikers with a "kia ora".

Harry asked the riders, "Do you know how lucky you are to have a place like this?" Meghan added, "This place is your backyard. It's great. It's really special. Beautiful."

Harry also joked to biker Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, 17, our national downhill champ, about the black leather shoes he was wearing with his riding gear, quipping, "Someone said smart casual?"

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The Maketu biker later recounted his conversation with the Prince. "He said, 'You look like a professional!' I said, 'You caught me out this time.' I raced in the weekend so my gear wasn't clean."

The royals expressed their regret that they didn't have a chance to ride themselves but hoped to be back.

Meghan was gifted a soft-toy tuatara, which she squeezed.

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As they left, Harry said, "Bye, guys, enjoy this heaven." They walked away holding hands through the redwoods.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods. Photo/Gettys
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods. Photo/Gettys

Afterwards, Sam Osborne, 26, of Rotorua, an off-road triathlete who came third on Sunday's world champs, said, "They congratulated me and we spoke about the forest. They wanted to know how many hours I spend here. I don't think they understood how huge the park is. They were very respectful, average people. They're humble and nice-natured."

Local mountain bikers Tak Mutu, his brother Tu Mutu and Ariki Tibble also met the couple and gifted them a greenstone carved by Lewis Gardiner of Rakai Jade.

Tak Mutu said the pounamu had been finished at 2pm that day and was for "bub".

"This beautiful little greenstone, it's for bub. The idea is that mum wears it and gathers a bit of love, mana, feeling. Then when baby is born mum keeps wearing it till it's appropriate to give it to bub.

"It's traditionally used for teething ... baby can gnaw on it."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods. Photo/Gettys
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods. Photo/Gettys

Among the crowd was Paul Charteris, who had gone to the redwoods with his partner, son and dogs.

"I think it's just nice to represent Rotorua. We're proud of our home city. We've got a history of welcoming people to our part of the world. This is a natural place to welcome them.

"This is where we go running, mountain biking, playing with the dog. It's nice to have them in our playground "

Gillian Todd was also at the redwoods with her children Isobel, 11, and Jessie, 7.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take a stroll through the Redwoods. Photo/ Stephen Parker
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take a stroll through the Redwoods. Photo/ Stephen Parker

"I work at Scion so thought we would come here. I thought it would be less crowded."

She said she had seen William and Kate with Isobel in Cambridge a few years ago and they had watched the royal wedding on television.

"It's been an exciting day at work. Everybody was talking about it. There's a lot of hype," she said.

"It would rude not to come down here and make the most of the opportunity."