Bird and wildlife watching
There are a number of places throughout the park suitable for bird watching. Kaka, kakariki, kokako, and karearea are to be found in parts of the park, as well as kereru, tomtits, north island robins, tui, bellbirds, fantails, and wax-eyes. The forest tower is a good way to see birds in the tops of trees, and is easily accessed from the end of Bismark Rd. The Waipapa Loop Track is another easily accessed track on the edge of the Waipapa Ecological Area, where pest control has increased bird numbers. Be sure to take a pair of binoculars and a camera with you.
New Zealand has two species of bats – the long tail and short tail bat. Both bats may be viewed at dusk in some locations around the park.
The Ngaherenga campground offers views of short tail bats as they leave a roosting tree. Long tail bats may be seen and heard along Select Loop Road.
A bat detector is handy but not necessary to see the bats. A pair of binoculars may enhance your experience, but due to their size and speed, bats are difficult to see.
Child/family friendly activities
Within 10 minutes of Pureora Field Base there are several sites of special scientific, historic and ecological interest. These sites are all located along short walks, some of them are wheelchair/pushchair accessible, and all are family friendly.
The Totara Walk, buried forest, forest tower, vintage steam hauler and tractor and old crawler tractor are push-chair accessible and are short walks 5-30 minutes long. Enjoy bird watching along the trail.
Toilets and a picnic area are located opposite the Totara Walk. A fresh water tap is available on the wall of the building there. Take a frisbee or a ball to utilise the grassy area next to the picnic tables.
Dogs and owners are welcome to use the network of tramping and walking tracks throughout the park for exercise. You'll need a dog control permit, available from the local DOC office. Dogs must be under control at all times.
Dogs are not permitted along any of the short walks throughout the park.
The Timber Trail cycleway between Pureora and Ongarue follows historic bush tramways, old bulldozer and haul roads.
Other areas of historic significance throughout the park include the crawler tractor, the buried forest and the vintage steam hauler and tractor. Each of these walks will take 5-10 minutes.
Ongarue Tramway and Spiral - much of the Ongarue tram system survives unmodified.
Read more about the history of Pureora Forest Park.
Specialist activities: Star gazing
The Pureora Forest Park offers spectacular star gazing opportunities. The Piropiro campground is privately located at the end of Kokomiko Rd and is sheltered from neighbouring properties and lights for a full emersion experience.
The Pureora Cabins and the Ngaherenga campground in Pureora Village also offer good star gazing opportunities due to the limited amount of lighting within the village.
Freedom camping off main tracks is also permitted within the park, allowing users to pick their own spot for star gazing.