Activities in Tararua Forest Park

Tracks and walks

Other activities

 Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre

The Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre is located beside SH 2, about three kilometres to the east of the Tararua Range and 30 km north of Masterton. The visitor centre, café, shop and aviaries are adjacent to the 942 ha Pukaha Mount Bruce Forest. There are several short walks through the forest and around the aviaries and waterfowl pond.


Trout fishing licenses are necessary and can be obtained from any Fish and Game Council office or sports equipment store. The fishing season is from 1 October to 30 April.

Most rivers and streams in the Tararua Range contain brown trout. The best fishing is considered to be on the eastern side of the range where anglers can have a very satisfying back-country fishing experience. The Waingawa River has a maximum size limit of 550 mm to protect large old trout that would otherwise be easily depleted.


Hunting is encouraged in Tararua Forest Park to help the Department of Conservation control deer, goats and pigs which harm native plants and the animal biodiversity which depends on them. Refer to hunting in Tararua Forest Park

Mountain biking

Mountain-biking is allowed on six routes within the park: Pylon Road from Abbots Creek, Ringawhati Track from Waitohu Valley Road, Mangahao Road, Waiotauru Road, Mount Dick Road and the Kiriwhakapapa – Mikimiki Track.

Mountain-biking is also popular in the adjoining Akatarawa Forest managed by Greater Wellington Regional Council, and the jointly managed Rimutaka Rail Trail in the Pakuratahi Forest and Rimutaka Forest Park.

River trips

Pack-floating is the traditional method of travel down the many gorged rivers in the park in summer during times of low flow. Several of the rivers are particularly suited to the use of flotation equipment such as ‘li-los’ and inner tubes. Popular full day trips are the lower Tauherenikau and Hutt gorges, the Ohau River below Blackwater Stream, the Waingawa River below Mitre Flats and the Waiohine River from Totara Flats to the end of Waiohine Gorge Road. However, the mid-Otaki Gorge, from Waitewaewae Hut to Otaki Forks, is a demanding river trip and usually requires an overnight camp.

Rafters and canoeists can run the easier waters of the lower Otaki and Waiohine gorges. The Mangahao Gorge is subject to alternating low flows and flooding due to power generation activities and should only be attempted by parties with knowledge of the weather and intended power generation actions.

The Hutt River Gorge between Pakuratahi Forks and Te Marua in Kaitoke Regional Park is suitable for whitewater rafting and kayaking during times of moderate flow. The gorge can be dangerous and extreme care is needed as grade 3+ rapids will be encountered. Experience is necessary since the trip can vary from 2 - 6 hours depending on the craft and water flow, so it is advisable to start no later than 10:00 am.

River levels are recorded at various points along the main Tararua Range rivers by Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils. You can also call their Freephone on 0800 496 734.

Te Araroa Trail (The long pathway)

Part of the lower Tararua Range is included in the Te Araroa Trail (The long pathway) -  a foot trail being developed along the length of the country.

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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 Wairarapa places


Whakaoriori / Masterton Office
Phone:      +64 6 377 0700
Full office details

Pōneke / Wellington Office
Phone:      +64 4 470 8412
Full office details