Located in the Bay of Plenty region
Good populations of robin, kererū and common native birds such as Tūī and fantail are readily seen and heard at Otanewainuku.
Otanewainuku Forest is accessible by car. Tracks through the forest lead from the car park on Mountain Rd in the Bay of Plenty.
East of SH 36 (Pyes Pa Rd) near Oropi, take Oropi Rd south and turn onto Mountain Rd just past Oropi. Alternatively, access Mountain Rd from No 2 Rd near Te Puke.
Otanewainuku is relatively remote, with little or no cellphone coverage.
Walkers should be well prepared for changes in weather.
Dogs are not permitted.
At 640 m, Mount Otanewainuku's geology is a rhyolitic dome rising above the ignimbrite Mamaku plateau.
Otanewainuku is covered in virgin unlogged forest and is home to a variety of native birds and animals. Large emergent rimu trees are common. Tawa, kamahi and rewarewa form a high canopy and bird species such as robin and bell bird are readily seen and heard.
Since 2002 a volunteer trust has been helping to conserve the precious wildlife of Otanewainuku. kiwi, whiteheads and forest gecko are all found here. Recent releases of kiwi and kokako have proved succesful.
You can help the long term survival of kiwi in Otanewainuku Forest by joining the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust.
According to local Māori legend Ōtanewainuku is a chiefly mountain.
There was once a hill with no name who lived on the edge of the Hautere forest. This nameless was a pononga (slave) to the great chiefly mountain, Ōtanewainuku. To the southwest was the shapely form of Pūwhenua, a beautiful hill, clothed in all the fine greens of the ferns and shrubs and trees of the forest of Tāne. The nameless one was desperately in love with Puwhenua, however her heart already belonged to Ōtanewainuku.
There seemed to be no hope for the lowly slave. In despair the nameless one decided to end it all by drowning himself in the ocean, Te Moananui a Kiwa. Calling on the patupaiarehe (creatures of the mist), the pononga asked them to plait the ropes with their magic and then haul him down towards the ocean.
Chanting their song they began to haul the nameless one slowly towards the water, gouging out the valley where the river Waimapu now flows. They followed the channel past Hairini, past Maungatapu and Matapihi and finally past Te Papa to the water's edge.
By this time, it was very close to day break. The sun rose fixing the nameless one to that place. Being people of the night the patupaiarehe fled back to the shady depths of the Hautere forests, before the light of the sun descended upon them.
The patupaiarehe gave the name Mauao to this mountain which marks the entrance of Tauranga Moana. Mauao means caught by the morning sun. Mauao is also known as Mt Maunganui.