Want views? Rainbow Mountain's got 'em. If you're travelling between Rotorua and Taupo on State Highway 5, the Rainbow Mountain Summit Track is well placed for stretching your legs. From the top on a fine day, you'll be able to see for miles in whichever direction you choose.
On a rare date tramp, Jack and I visited Rainbow Mountain in overcast conditions with the smell of rain in the air. From the summit, Mount Tarawerea was easy to spot. We had to look carefully between the clouds to see Mount Ruapehu in the distance. Even SH 5 looked beautiful as it wound between the glowing green hills of rural Rotorua. When you're date tramping, it is mandatory to take lots of hand heart photos and indulge in post-tramp deliciousness (see Freakshake photo).
I'd classify Rainbow Mountain Summit Track as an easy tramp or a moderate walk, similar in technical difficulty and required fitness to walking up Mount Maunganui twice. It's jog-able, too, if you're into that. There are no roots, steps, or slippery sections, but it is an unwavering uphill. It's an out and back, shared with mountain bikers who are allowed travel uphill only so keep a look out for them. Watch the signs and don't enter the downhill mountain biking track.
If the Summit Trail is too intense for you for a leg stretching stop, there is a short walk from the carpark to Crater Lake. It'll take you less than 30 minutes return and is a very photogenic view.
Maungakakaramea, aka Rainbow Mountain
Distance: 5km round trip
Time: 2-3 hours
Buggies: There aren't any steps, but it's pretty rugged terrain. A full suspension buggy would do it with difficulty, but I'd opt for a backpack child carrier.
Barefoot: Yes on the trail. There is a small section of gravel road towards that top where shoes might be required for those less experienced in barefooting.
Geocaches: 2. We couldn't find either. Must've been distracted by all the flirting.