Pureora Forest Park short walks

Track category

Short walk


Totara Walk

Time: 30 min return
Distance: 960 m

This easy loop walk winds its way among the awe-inspiring giant podocarps for which Pureora is famous - totara, rimu, matai, miro and kahikatea. Ferns grow in abundance and if you are really quiet you may hear or see native birds such as tui, fantail, tomtits or robins. The Totara Walk includes interpretative signs and plant identification signs.

Totara trunk, Pureora Forest Park. Photo: Les Molloy.
Totara trunk, Pureora Forest Park

Waihora Lagoon Walk

Time: 10 min one way
Distance: 730 m

From SH 32 turn onto Waihora Rd and travel approximately 3 km on a gravel road before turning left into the Waihora Lagoon carpark. The lagoon, 10 minutes walk from the carpark, is one of the most beautiful spots in the Park, surrounded by tall rimu and kahikatea. The lagoon can dry out in summer.

Centre of the North Island Walk

Time: 10 min one way
Distance: 250 m

A short, flat track off Waimonoa Rd leads to the geographical centre of the North Island (marked with a cairn and explanatory plaque). The track joins onto the Mt Titiraupenga tramping track.

Getting there

Pureora Forest Park is 81 km southwest of Rotorua along Highway 30 via Benneydale.


Bird and wildlife watching Bird and wildlife watching
Child/family friendly activities Child/family friendly activities
Historic sites Historic sites

Bird and wildlife watching

Each of the short walks offers bird watching opportunities. 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 allows views of forest birds above the canopy. It's possible to hear and see a range of birds from the Waipapa loop walk, particularly kokako in the early morning at late afternoon. Be sure to take a pair of binoculars and a camera with you.

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.

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.

Historic sites

The logging legacy throughout the Pureora Forest Park has left historical relics which are “in situ” (on site) where they broke down or were abandoned. The crawler tractor walk, the vintage steam hauler, and historic tractor are all examples of this. Each of these walks will take 5-10 minutes.

The buried forest was discovered in the 1980s, and has been linked to the Taupo eruption that created Lake Taupo. An interpretation panel on site outlines the geological story behind the site. It takes 5 minutes to reach the site.

Plan and prepare

  • All timings are approximate.
  • 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 (open 7 days during the summer season, and 5 days (Mon – Fri) during winter).
  • 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.

Find out more


DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map


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 Waikato places


Te Kuiti Office
Phone:      +64 7 878 1050
Email:   tekuiti@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Pureora Base
Phone:      +64 7 878 1080
Email:   pureora@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

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