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Whirinaki Forest

Deep in the central North Island lies an ancient forest, waiting for you to discover it. It is home to mighty trees, rare native birds and 155 kilometres of superb walking, tramping and mountain biking tracks to suit all levels.

Ancient skyscrapers
Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park is one of the world’s last prehistoric rainforests. It’s amazing rimu, tōtara, kahikatea, matai and miro trees tower into the sky, some as high as 215 metres into the air. This podocarp (cone bearing) forest hosts 1,000-year-old trees, meaning they were seedlings about the time that Ghengis Khan was raiding Mongolia.

Cross the border into another world
Spectacular conservation efforts have ensured abundant wildlife in the Whirinaki. DoC Rangers urge careful driving on the metal road, requesting that you watch for wildlife and wandering horses and as you “cross the border into another world.” ­­

The Whirinaki is “chocka” with rare and endangered birdlife. When visiting, watch and listen for North Island brown kiwi, red and yellow-crowned kākāriki, North Island kākā, whio (blue duck – also the bird on New Zealand’s $10 note) and the endangered kārearea (New Zealand falcon).

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship of an ecological wonder
Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park has a long history. It was once logged for its precious native timber, until logging ceased in the 1980’s. Now local iwi, Ngāti Whare, work in partnership with the Department of Conservation to protect and care for the park. Ngāti Whare has established a native nursery and their Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the forest is officially recognised.

Savour this mighty forest on foot or bike
There are plenty of adventures waiting for you in the Whirinaki - here are just a few:

- H-Tree Track is a 2.2 kilometre track that is wheelchair accessible with assistance and includes a Treasure Map for kids and adults to help discover the Whirinaki’s treasures.
- The Whirinaki Waterfall Loop Track is a popular, easy walk with a stunning waterfall at the end.
- Stay overnight on the Whirinaki Track walk and hear the forest come to life.
- Test your skills on the Grade 3 Moerangi Mountain Bike for an adventurous Whirinaki experience.

Visit the Department of Conservation website for information on Whirinaki walking and biking trails.

Getting there
Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park is about a 2.15hr drive from Tauranga or 1.45hrs from Whakatāne. We recommend you visit the DoC office in Murupara before going on your walk.

- Drive time from Tauranga to Murupara DOC office: 1hr 40 mins
- Drive time from Murupara DoC hut to River Road carpark: 35 mins
- Total drive time from Tauranga: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Total drive time from Whakatāne: 1 hour 45 minutes

Visit the DoC website to check for any weather alerts.

Read about more walking tracks in the Bay of Plenty.