Pureora Forest Park
Located in the Waikato region
IntroductionPureora Forest Park straddles the Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto ranges west of Lake Taupō and east of Te Kuiti.
In 1946 Pureora Forest was one of the last native forests to be opened up for logging. Choose one of the walking and mountain biking tracks within the park and discover historic relics while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Find things to do and places to stay Pureora Forest Park
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.
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.
Due to their size and speed, bats are difficult to see - a bat detector is handy.
The northern block of the Pureora Forest Park has areas available for four wheel driving.
The King Country 4WD group works in partnership with DOC to open and maintain 4WD tracks for public access and enjoyment.
Access into the north block is along Waitaramoa Rd, off SH30 (the Te Kuiti – Mangakino Highway) almost opposite the Pureora Field Base.
Horse riding is a limited activity within the Pureora Forest Park. You'll need a horse permit for each rider. Get a horse permit from the local DOC office.
Horses are only allowed to be ridden along formed roads and forestry tracks.
Horses are not allowed to be taken on:
- formed or marked walking tracks
- picnics areas
- campgrounds, or
- other sites developed for visitor use.
Horses are not allowed to be tethered where they’re able to browse native vegetation. Horses are also not allowed to remain overnight.
Be safe and courteous in any area where other park visitors may be encountered – especially where vehicles may be traveling.
Pureora Forest Park contains many kilometres of roads and tracks suitable for quad bike riding. Quad bikers may explore all the formed roads and tracks within Pureora Forest Park, wherever old cut earth of "bladed" lines are found. A range of easy and technical rides are ready to be discovered.
Select Loop Road and Okahukura Loop provide beginner or easy tracks for people to try quad biking. The tracks around Piropiro Flats (excluding the Timber Trail) are also suitable for quad biking.
Pureora Forest Park lies between Te Kuiti, Taumaranui and Lake Taupo and is easily accessed by SH 30 and SH 32.
The main access points to the park are from:
- SH30 via Maraeroa or Barryville Roads to Pureora Village or Waitaramoa Rd to the northern block
- SH32 via Arataki, Kakaho and Waihora Roads to the eastern side of the park
- SH4 via Ongarue and Waimiha on the south-western side.
Note: there is no petrol outlet at Pureora. The nearest facilities are at Benneydale, 15 min west along SH30, or at Mangakino 20 min east.
There is no fuel in Pureora, so ensure you have enough before you visit.
A small range of retail products are available at Pa Harakeke. It is open 7 days during the summer season, and Monday to Friday during winter.
The nearest facilities are at Benneydale, 15 minutes west along SH30.
- All timings are approximate.
- Vary in difficulty and require experience.
- Carry enough food, water and warm clothing for a safe and enjoyable time.
- Weather conditions can change quickly so always carry warm clothing and a raincoat.
Fletchers Road in the park has suffered a large creek wash-out that is impassable to vehicles.
Okauaka Ford restricted to light vehicle use only
The Okauaka Ford, located near the end of Piropiro Road, is seriously undermined and a section is sagging. Restricted to light vehicle use only (up to 3,000 kg).
Keep vehicle well clear of the damaged upstream side of ford. The carpark and amenity area near the ford are still open and available for use. Construction to replace the ford will begin soon.
The Timber Trail and access to Piropiro Campsite do not cross this ford.
Because of the terrain and heavily forested nature of the park trampers and hunters are advised to obtain the relevant topographical maps available from the local DOC office:
- Rangitoto range: NZTopo50 Bennydale BF34 1:50 000
- Hauhungaroa range: NZTopo50 Piropiro BG34 1:50 000
- Panirau and Waitewhenua: NZTopo50 Ohura BG32 1:50 000
- Pureroa Forest Park: BF34; BF35; BG34; BG35; BH 34; BH35; BE34; BE35
Pureora Forest Park straddles the Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto Ranges between Lake Taupō and Te Kuiti. It is a hidden wonderland of tall trees, clear rivers and rare wildlife.
This 12 m high tower is a 10 minute walk from Bismarck Rd car park. It gives you an entirely different perspective of life up in the forest canopy. It is a good spot for observing native birds such as kuku (kereru/native pigeon), kakariki (parakeets), and kaka (forest parrot).
The Drama of Conservation
This book offers a sweeping history of Pureora Forest Park, one of the most significant sites of natural and cultural history interest in New Zealand. Read about the geological history of the volcanic zone, the flora and fauna, and the history of Māori and European use of the forest. Contact the Te Kuiti Office to purchase a copy.
In 1946, Pureora Forest Park was the last native forest to be opened up for logging. It has several historic features, including Ongarue Tramway and Spiral.