Finest Forest Walks In New Zealand

Mount Otanewainuku

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Otanewainuku is 1200 hectares of unlogged forest that has been left alone to become a stunningly beautiful place. Visitors are treated to some of the most splendid examples of native flora, including giant Rimu trees. Otanewainuku Forest is home to a variety of native birds, which have been carefully nurtured under the watchful eye of the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust since 2002.

The main focus though, is of course the glorious mountain, Mt Otanewainuku. The views from the summit are absolutely serene. There is a wooden lookout tower on the summit (640 metres) that offers panoramic views right from the East Cape through to Mount Tarawera and Rotorua. You can then cast your eyes across the Mamaku Plateau to Mount Ruapehu.

It is through the volunteer trust where  care is taken to conserve the wonderful, lively wildlife. Some of the wildlife found throughout this forest are Kiwi, Whiteheads and the Forest Gecko.

Otanewainuku Forest as a whole consists of three different walking tracks.

Reaching Otanewainuku can be made from either side of the city. From Tauranga or from Te Puke on the No 2 Rd which meets Mountain Road.

Otanewainuku Summit Track

Mt Otanewainuku has a summit of 640m. This loop track has a trig station at the summit that is used as a viewing platform. The views from the summit are both stunning and panoramic. You are able to see right from the East Cape through to Mount Tarawera and Rotorua, as well as being able to cast your eyes across the Mamaku Plateau to Mount Ruapehu.

This track provides a wondrous journey through an age old unlogged forest. The flora and fauna is absolutely breath-taking. If you’re one to love nature, this walk is a must for you. The track is quite steep in places and requires a somewhat reasonable level of fitness.

Along this walk you will find yourself marveling at the size of some of the Rimu as well as other trees. You also have the possibility of seeing/hearing some of the New Zealand native bird life. The bird life you will have a chance of seeing would most likely consist of North Island Bush Robin, Fantails, Tui’s and the like.

Time: 2 Hours Return

Rimu Loop Track

The Rimu loop track begins on the car park edge, on the opposite side of the road from the shelter. This track is gently graded and allows for relatively easy walking. Many features along this walk include seeing some massively large Rimu trees. You may also hear or even see some of the native birds that live in this beautiful forest.

The Rimu loop track finishes back at the road, a hundred or so meters North West of the starting point.

Time: 45 Minutes

Whataroa Falls

Whataroa Falls track roughly takes 40 minutes to reach from Tauranga. The track splits off from the Rimu Loop track about 15 minutes in. This well-marked track leads you through the forest until you are met with the sound of running water. When you hear the stream, you know you are close to Whataroa Falls.

Upon reaching Whataroa Falls, pick a spot to relax after the walk. Have a picnic and perhaps if you’re keen, go for a swim in the refreshingly beautiful swimming hole. Enjoy exploring the stream, cascades and pools in a purely natural setting. Return is back the same way.

Beyond the Whataroa Falls, extends a track that carries on north through to the main ridge track which leads to Otawa Scenic Reserve. The length of this track is around 18.5 km or 9 hours to Upper Papamoa Road.

Time: 2 Hours Return

Where is Otanewainuku?

Otanewainuku is 15 km south from Tauranga. First you begin by heading up Oropi Rd and then onto Mountain Road, or from Te Puke, head to Otanwainuku via No 2 Road then onto Mountain Road. Along Mountain Rd you will come across a parking area to the side. This is the parking space for Otanewainuku.

A small shelter, an information board and toilets are found next to the car park on Mountain Rd.

Map and Directions for Mount Otanewainuku

Otanewainuku Image Gallery

If you love the bush, you’ll love this untouched, unlogged forest. Mount Otanewainuku has a few tracks as seen above and all are just as great as each other. Take a look at the image gallery below.

Other Bush Walks In Tauranga