Located in Tongariro Forest Conservation Area in the Central North Island region
IntroductionA natural network of limestone caves carved by the Okupata stream eroding the rock formations. The caves house delicate habitats of NZ cave weta and glow worms and these ecosystems can be impacted by visitation.
The caves are unmarked and are not recommended for inexperienced cavers. There is significant risk of slips, encountering confined spaces and flash flooding.
From National Park village, travel on SH47 towards the volcanoes for approximately 20 km. Turn into John McDonald Road. Veer left at the Pukehinau Road intersection toward Pokaka Mill Campsite. The caves are approximately 7.5 km from the SH47 turnoff. The road is unsealed. A 4WD is strongly recommended.
Be aware of the hazards before entering the caves
Heavy rainfall may risk rising water levels in the caves. The route is a flooding risk during periods of high rain and has ongoing flash flood risk.
This environment features rock formations and running steams, and as such there is a constant risk of slick rock and slipping hazards.
The caves are unmarked, it is recommended you only access the caves with an experienced person to reduce risk of getting lost.
Leave your intentions with a trusted person
There is no cell phone reception within the caves, plan ahead before accessing this underground track and ensure people know where to find you should you encounter difficulty.
Access by 4WD
4WD is recommended for access, however Pukehinau Road is not recommended for recreational 4WD activities. Recreational 4WD activities are only permitted in Tongariro Forest Conservation Area on the 42 Traverse Track during the 4WD season – 1 December to 30 April.
Glow worms and cave weta live within the cave system.
The forest today is regenerating podocarp hardwood forest, still recovering from heavy milling in the twenty years between 1942 and 1961 where the kahikatea was used to make butter boxes and the matai and rimu for construction material.
Stay safe in the outdoors
- Take the right gear for your trip: Walking and tramping gear lists.
- Tell a trusted person your plans and when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Send them the information directly, or use the Outdoor Intentions form or Plan My Walk.
- Follow the five essential steps of the Land Safety Code.
|Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 7 892 3729|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
State Highway 48
PO Box 71029
Mount Ruapehu 3951
|Full office details|