There was so much on offer to do in Rotorua, it was really difficult to try and choose how to fill our days. We decided to try and find things to do that were on the way to/from or near other things so that we could get as much done as possible without having to drive around for miles. One of the things that took our fancy was the Redwoods Treewalk which was only a few minutes out of town.

It is a 700-metre long walk through the giant redwoods. It involved trekking across 28 bridges suspended 20-metres above the forest floor between the trees, some of which were nearly 120 years old! There were no restrictions on the walk, no guides, no safety harnesses or anything, just a leisurely walk at your own pace through the trees.

Each tree had a viewing platform with benches and informative story boards that gave you information on the local area, the forestry, and the country itself so it was a great way to learn about various different areas whilst taking in the amazing views.

Being at such a high vantage point, you got a view of the forest which was completely different from the ground.

The views from up there were amazing. 20-metres doesn’t actually sound like a lot, but once you’re up there you soon see that it does provide you with a great vantage point, and you see the forest in a completely different way.

The shapes and patterns that were made by some of the plants that lay on the forest floor were amazing. So beautiful to look down on, something that isn’t usually possible if you were walking along the forest floor.

When the sun set and the forest went dark it was a completely different scene.

The other attraction, besides the trees themselves, was the nightlight installation. This was an art installation designed by David Trubridge that consists of a number of lanterns all suspended alongside the bridges high in the trees. They ranged in size, the largest being 2.5 metres tall and they are all best viewed at night. So, we finished the walk we were currently on, then came back a few hours later when it was nice and dark.

The forest looked completely different. It was pitch black for a start, but high up, you could just make out the glow of the lanterns.

The forest looked completely different. It was pitch black for a start, but high up, you could just make out the glow of the lanterns.

We started the walk again and it was like being in a completely different place. The ability to see deep into the forest was long gone. The darkness brought with it a sense of closeness, broken only by the glow from the lights. The lanterns were all different shapes and sizes, and constructed using many different patterns in the wood so each one looked unique. Beautiful in its own way.

The lanterns were lighting the surrounding trees high above the floor, casting all sorts of shadows that danced on the bark of the trunk as they swayed in the wind.

It was difficult to try and photograph the lanterns clearly without creating just a blurry scene. I thought it would be best to try and slow down the shutter speed to capture the light from the lanterns and the shadow patterns on the trees surrounding it. This was obviously going to be difficult, because a slower shutter speed means that the camera needs to be completely steady.

Luckily, I had a tripod with me so I hoped that would solve the problem.

What I didn’t plan for however, was the fact that the bridges and viewing platforms were all supported by suspension, so they weren’t exactly solid. 

Any movement caused by, oh I don’t know, an exhausted child having a tantrum for example, was enough to move and sway the wood under the tripod feet, causing the image to blur.

I tried to wait until the human traffic had gone, and there was a break in the tourists to get my shots, which seemed to work quite well, though it obviously took much longer.

Towards the back of the walk, there were a number of lights that shone up from the forest floor, high into the trees. The lights were all coloured, and there was a beautiful show of different light sequences being played, creating a multicoloured light show on the majestic redwoods.

It was so relaxing to just sit there in the dark and watch the beautiful light show. I must have seen it repeat at least 3 or 4 times. Each time, I tried to photograph a different part of it, so the colours being shone onto the trees was slightly different from the last time. Some of the colour combinations were clearly visible in the photos, whilst others didn’t come out so well.

We must have been up in the redwoods for at least an hour or so before we finally made it to the end. It was definitely worth a visit and I’m really pleased with how some of the photos turned out. I feel they do the beauty of the place at least a little bit of justice.

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