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Whirinaki Forest Walk, Tramp

Home  »  North Island Walks  »  Rotorua  »  Whirinaki Forest Walk, Tramp – Walk detail

The Whirinaki Forest Walk is an easy 11km walk that will take you around 3 hours 30mins to complete. Whirinaki Forest is located between Rotorua and Taupo. The terrain varies from gentle river flats to narrow gorges, waterfalls, and heavily dissected uplands with a forest cover of dense podocarps and high altitude beech. The most striking feature of the forest is the density and size of the podocarp trees.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Central North island
        • Distance: 11.00 kms
        • Time needed: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Round Trip
        • Elevation: 440m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    Terrain varies from gentle river flats to narrow gorges, waterfalls, and heavily dissected uplands with a forest cover of dense podocarps and high altitude beech. The most striking feature of the forest is the density and size of the podocarp trees; kahikatea, totara, matai, rimu and miro. Bird life is abundant, especially the rare kaka and red and yellow crowned kakariki. The Whirinaki, Rangitaiki and Whaeo rivers have excellent trout fishing and deerstalking is popular

  • Track Quality


  • Hazards

    Steep cliff around the water fall

  • Transport


  • Water

    Creek water

  • Driving Instructions

    Drive south on high way 30, to Taupo. Fenton St is the main road south out of Rotorua. You will know it from all the motels and hotels along is full length. Plus it is one of the main shopping streets in town. You cannot miss Rainbow Mountain as you drive past. At 26 km there is a turn off to the left on to Highway 38. This highway goes to a forestry town called Murupara, then on to Lake Waikaremona then on to the east coast of NZ, to a town on called Wairoa. Turn to the left. Murupara is a 37 km drive through the Kaingaroa Forest, the largest pin tree plantation in NZ and in the southern hemisphere. At 41 km the road becomes narrow and very windy. Drive with care, logging trucks uses this road also. At 57.5 km you will arrive at Te Whaiti, Minginui turnoff, Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. If you drive straight ahead you will arrive at Ruatahuna and then at Lake Waikaremona 75k km. Turn hard right. At 8.4 km you would have driven past what is left of the settlement of Minginui. Don’t Blink. And now stop at the next turnoff. If you are lucky the sign post might be sill there on your right. If not, turn hard right, and drive down to the river 600m. Cross the bridge 100 m. When you drive over the second bridge, look out for the turn off to the left. There is a sign post for the Whirinaki Forest Park. See first photo. Turn to the left. At 14.8 km you can pull over and park the car in the car park. The start to the track is over to the left.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

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  • Area & Track History

    Whirinaki Forest Park forms a boundary between the exotic Kaingaroa pine plantations to the west and Te Urewera National Park to the east. It stretches over 55,000 ha from near Murupara in the north to the Napier-Taupo highway in the south. New Zealand’s only native mammals, the long and short-tailed bat, are both present but rarely seen. In addition many introduced mammals have made Whirinaki home. These include red deer, pigs and possums. The park has some outstanding short bush walks The Arahaki Lagoon is a picturesque lake deep in the forest where stately kahikateas stand rooted in the water and the Te Whaiti-Nui-a-Toi Canyon is a spectacular rock-bound cascade. A very popular 4-5 day tramp is the Whirinaki Circuit

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Whirinaki Forest Walk, Tramp

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

Look for this turn off, keep to the left. If you miss this turn off, you will end up well past the black stump, and truly lost.  There is plenty of room to park your car.  The track starts from the shelter.  Inside the shelter there are lots of photos and maps for you to read.  If you are looking for the toilet, it is over to the left hand side of the shelter.

Point 2: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

Cross the bridge 20 min. The track on your right is the way out from the falls. If you are running out of time, take this track it is about 1 h 30 min) The track is very easy to follow. Wide and well walked. Just follow the signs.

Point 3: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

It is quite easy to let your imagination drift while walking through the Whirinaki frost. The giant podocarp trees; kahikatea, totara, matai, rimu and miro untouched buy chainsaw.  30 years ago the Whirinaki was my favourite forest for hunting deer (well we didn’t have to hunt for them, we just walked on them.) The bush over to the east is so clear and open you could ride a bike along the ridge tops for miles.  Then you could drop down in to the creeks and catch a trout for tea, just to have a break from venison stew.

Point 4: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

35 min.  The turn off to the Mangamate Hut. 2 h 30 min.  A new bridge. No more wet feet.

Point 5: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

1 h 45 min.  On this horse shoe bend, turn to the right 5 min to go to the falls

Point 6: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

The track crosses over at the top of the falls before you cross the bridge, walk over to the edge and turn to the right and walk up the hill. At the top, you will be able to look down the Whirinaki river for a few hundred metres.  Once across the bridge, it is a 2 min walk up hill to the toilet and a picnic table.

Point 7: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

20 min.  From the falls you walk on to a 4X4 track.  Follow this track for 5 min as it starts to climb up hill, the track turn off is to the right.  There is a sign post on the bank to your left.  Keep an eye out for rainbow trout along the way, we spotted 7.  It’s a good climb down to the river

Point 8: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

54 min from the falls.  You are still following the river out to Minginui. No problems with drinking water around here.

Point 9: Whirinaki Forest Tramp

1 h walk from the falls.  The track opens out from here on, making for fast walking back to the car park.  You will meet up with the main track just metres from the first bridge

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Contact info

Whirinaki Forest Park 3079, New Zealand

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