Hiker, in Kaweka Forest Park, near Kuripapango 
PHOTO: Brian Dobbie ©

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Introduction

Kaweka Forest Park has alpine shrublands, tussock valleys and beech forests. It offers rafting, canoeing, hunting and fishing, hot springs and tramping for both experienced trampers and day walkers.

Highlights

  • Picnic and camping spots are located at roadends. 
  • Mangatainoka Hot Springs is just 45 mins walk beyond Te Puia Hut.

Place overview

Activities

  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Rafting
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping

Facilities

  • Picnic tables

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Kaweka Forest Park

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Fishing

The Mohaka, Makino and Ngaruroro Rivers are popular fishing rivers for rainbow and brown trout. The areas are remote, unspoiled and scenic, yet access is not difficult. There is a variety of fishing water available including rapids and bouldery runs of clear water to deep, calm pools. There is scope for both the novice and experienced; using wet flys, nymphs or spinners.

Trout here breed naturally in the rivers as opposed to being introduced from hatcheries and they are known for their size and fighting ability.

Heritage sightseeing

Visit these heritage sites in the park and experience history right where it happened:

  • Iron Whare Hut - a small hut constructed from vertical slab totara.
  • Manson Hut - built in the 1940's as a musterer's hut.

Rafting

The Mohaka and Ngaruroro Rivers are two remaining ‘wild and scenic’ rivers in the North Island offering multi-day trips and are not affected by hydro development.

Commercial rafting companies operate trips on the upper Mohaka, starting from the boundary of Kaimanawa Forest Park and Poronui Station, or from the confluence of the Mohaka and Taharua Rivers. These trips pass through the Te Puia and Mangatutu areas and end where the Mohaka is crossed by the Napier-Taupo highway.

Because of difficulty of access through private land, however, few individual groups raft the upper Mohaka.

A feasible option is the 22 km stretch from Pakaututu Road to the Napier - Taupo highway. This section contains mainly grade 2 rapids (based on the N.Z. Canoeing association’s grading scale of 1 to 6) and takes 3 - 4 hours to complete. Entry point is by the bridge over the Mohaka River, about 5 km along Pakaututu Road from the Makahu Road turnoff. A track leads to the left from the Puketitiri side of the bridge down to an entry point to the river.

A second option for a short rafting trip is from the end of Makahu Road to the bridge on Pakaututu road. This section has Grade 2 rapids and takes 2 - 3 hours to complete. Access to the river from the Mangatutu Hot springs is difficult but feasible.

With the wealth of tramping, fishing, swimming and rafting opportunities that are within the vicinity, Robson's lodge is ideally located for groups who wish to partake in a range of outdoor activities.

Rafting the Ngaruroro River is a popular wilderness experience. Commercial and private groups use Kuripapango as an exit or entrance point to the river, which is usually rafted in two sections.

The upper river, from Boyd Hut in the Kaimanawa Forest Park to Kuripapango, is a 3 - 4 day trip through the remote country of the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forest Parks. The rapids are not technically difficult (generally Grade 2 on the NZ Canoeing Association’s grading scale of 1 to 6).

A popular short rafting excursion at Kuripapango itself is to travel the Ngaruroro River’s “Oxbow”, putting in at the Cameron Carpark and pulling out at Kuripapango. There are Grade 2 rapids along this scenic stretch of the river.

From Kuripapango downriver is a 1 - 2 day trip, initially through remote gorge country (Grade 2 and 3 rapids), then through farmland (Grade 1 and 2 rapids) to Whanawhana Road.

Swimming

There are lots of opportunities to enjoy a swim in glorious surroundings throughouot the park. The popular swimming areas are Kuripapango campsite and along Mohaka, Makino, and Ngaruroro Rivers. This is back country swimming at its best, but be aware of river flows and currents.

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    About this place

    Getting there

    Kaweka Forest Park is north-west of Napier.

    Know before you go

    Seasonal logging occurs on Kashmir Rd

    Be aware of logging traffic.

    Safety

    This is a mountainous area. Visitors should be prepared for sudden weather changes, whiteouts, high winds on the ranges and rapidly rising water levels in rivers and streams. The Puketitiri area is in the rain shadow of the Kaweka Ranges.

    Maps

    The Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) topographical maps that cover the Kaweka Forest Park are:

    Topo50 map BH36 - Motutere
    Topo50 map BH37 - Rangitaiki
    Topo50 map BH38 - Te Haroto
    Topo50 map BJ36 - Tawake Tohunga
    Topo50 map BJ37 - Kuripapango 
    Topo50 map BJ38 - Te Pohue
    Topo50 map BK37 - Tikokino

    Contacts

    Ahuriri / Napier Office
    Phone:   +64 6 834 3111
    Address:   59 Marine Parade
    Napier 4110
    Email:   napier@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
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