The forest park stretches almost 100 km from the Taruarau River in the north to the Manawatu Gorge in the South.
Ruahine Forest Park can be accessed from its eastern side and its western side.
No vehicle access to Kawhatau Base
Previously there has been vehicle access to Kawhatau Base through private land but this access is no longer available. Alternative access is available by walking up the Kawhatau River from the Rangitane road bridge across the Kawhatau River.
Note: this route may not be accessible during times of high river flow
Know before you go
Trampers in snow, Ruahine Forest Park
Ruahine Forest Park is characterised by a cool, cloudy climate with heavy rain at times. The area is renown for strong winds especially in the southern ranges, and there can be snow at any time of the year.
- Get local advice on track and weather conditions before setting out.
- Weather can change quickly with heavy rain and strong winds common even in summer. Always take warm clothing and a waterproof outer layer.
- With heavy rain streams and rivers rise quickly. If there are no bridges, turn back and wait for the river levels to go down.
- It is recommended that you boil, chemically treat or filter water before drinking.
- Be aware that vehicles left at road ends have sometimes been broken into.
- Always tell someone reliable what your tramping intentions are.
- Topographical maps and a compass are essential. Many of the open tops are unmarked and should only be crossed in good visibility.
- Be aware of park boundaries to avoid trespassing onto private land.
Extreme fire conditions can exist during summer. The park is a restricted fire area, which means permits to light fires are required all year round.
Only registered, avian aversion certified hunting dogs, Guide dogs, companion dogs (certified by the Top Dog Companion Trust) and dogs used for special services (including conservation management activities) are permitted in the park. All other dogs are banned. Hunting with dogs
The Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) topographical maps that cover the Ruahine Forest Park are:
- Topo50 map BJ37 - Kuripapango
- Topo50 map BK36 - Taoroa Junction
- Topo50 map BK37 - Tikokino
- Topo50 map BL35 - Kimbolton
- Topo50 map BL36 - Norsewood
- Topo50 map BM35 - Woodville
- Topo50 map BM36 - Dannevirke