The 2019 Rotorua Walking Festival has drawn more than 500 people from 15 countries.

The three-day festival started with a nocturnal walk on Friday night, ahead of yesterday's marathon, half-marathon, 10km, and 5km events at Whakarewarewa Forest and wrapped up today with the final 30km, 20km, and 10km events.

A group of 35 Taiwanese entrants who walked with flags and uniforms was the largest international contingent.

The event also drew groups from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Canada, as well as European countries including Belgium, Luxembourg, Lithuania, France, Germany, Sweden and more.


Some of them had been making the annual trip for years.

Organiser Deryck Shaw said he'd discussed the Christchurch terrorist attack with walkers on Friday, and he was reassured all events should go ahead.

"After all, the whole basis of the festival is bringing people together."

He said Rotorua Lakes High School students had been helping run the event, as was as the Netherlands Society, and the Lakes City Athletics Club.

"We have had perfect weather. The light rain at the start was welcome because we were in the forest and it stopped it from being so dusty."

He said the walks were not races, they simply gave "a really good look around Rotorua's scenery".

Sandro Schmidt and Rilana Heinemeier travelled from Germany for the event.

"This is my 57th walking event around the world and this has been the most amazing," Schmidt said.