Activities in Western Ruahine Forest Park

Tracks and walks

Trampers on the track to Rangiwahia hut, Western Ruahine Forest Park. Photo: J. R Lythgoe.
Trampers on the track to Rangiwahia hut,
Western Ruahine Forest Park

A range of walks and tramps are available in this area from short nature walks, day trips to the open tops through to lengthy tramps throughout the ranges.

Although many of the tops are unmarked, an experienced tramper can traverse the "tops" to get access to other tracks and huts.

This is a backcountry area with steep, rugged terrain and weather patterns which can change quickly. Care must be taken at all times. Poled routes may be difficult to see in poor weather conditions.


Hunting is a major recreational use of the park. It is important to note that while dogs are permitted without a permit on the western side of the range, dogs entering the eastern side must have a permit and be trained in kiwi aversion. 

All hunters require a hunting permit. You can get permits from the Department of Conservation

Find out more about hunting in the Manawatū Rangitīkei Area.

Always check where pesticides have been laid: Lower North Island pesticide summary.

Snow skiing

Although attempts to develop snow skiing began in the 1930s there is now no formal skifield. Today the ranges are sometimes used for cross-country skiing, especially in the Rangiwahia area.


Trout fishing is a popular activity on several of the park’s rivers. Within the park rainbow trout predominate, although there are brown trout in some southern Ruahine river catchments. A Fish and Game fishing licence is required.

Rafting and canoeing

Some rafting and canoeing opportunities exist within the park, but the best stretches of water for these activities are found outside the park boundaries.

Mountain biking

View from Takapari Road looking north to the Central Plateau.
View from Takapari Road looking north
to the Central Plateau

Takapari Rd is an 11km climb up to A-Frame Hut, with a further 5kms to the road-end. Park at the bottom of Takapari Rd and ride up a moderate gravel-road climb through farmland before you reach a gate at the entry to Ruahine Forest Park. The road steepens and becomes rougher as you climb through shrubland and then begins to undulate. Be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Wind chill factor is high when riding the steep descent. This track is open to vehicles but the track is not maintained beyond A-Frame Hut.

Four wheel /trail bike driving

Takapari Rd takes an 11 km climb up to A-Frame Hut. Enjoy extensive views to east and west coasts from the tops. Be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Check beforehand that the road is open for vehicles.

Scenic and nature tours

On the southern end of the Ruahine Range is the Wharite television transmitter. The access road to the transmitter provides a scenic drive up to a picnic area where views of the surrounding countryside, wind turbines and Palmerston North are found. This road can become impassable at times due to snow and other extreme weather conditions.


Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Taranaki places



Te Papaioea / Palmerston North Office
Phone:      +64 6 350 9700
Full office details