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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
35 min. The turn off to the Mangamate Hut. 2 h 30 min. A new bridge. No more wet feet.
1 h 45 min. On this horse shoe bend, turn to the right 5 min to go to the falls
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.
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
54 min from the falls. You are still following the river out to Minginui. No problems with drinking water around here.
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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