Kaimanawa Forest Park

Mountain Biking & Walking Trails

The Kaimanawa Forest Park features dense North Island podocarp forest, spectacular river gorges and some great views to the west toward the Tongariro National Park. There are a range of trails which can be mixed and matched to suit your needs.

The Pillars of Hercules can be reached by a short walk from a car park, make sure to stop at the Tree Trunk Gorge road. bridge to admire the strange rock sculptures below.The Mt Urchin track is a recommended half day walk offering wide views of the Tongariro National Park.

Access is from from one of 4 locations; SH1 south of Turangi at either Kaimanawa Road (15km), Tree Trunk Gorge Road (23km), Waipakihi Rd (38km) or from SH1 north of Turangi at Kiko Road (10km).

Urchin Campground to Pillars of Hercules

Distance: 1.5km
Walking Time: 30min (one way)
Begins: Urchin camp site Kaimanawa Road (SH1 15km south of Turangi)

This is a beautiful walk through kamahi forest with occasional views of the Tongariro River  and the spectacular ravine and the sculpted rock formations from the suspension bridge. You can either return via the same track or along Kaimanawa Rd. There is also a car park 2 km along Kaimanawa Road on the way to the camp site which offers a more direct access to the Pillars of Hercules.

Kaimanawa Forest Loop

Distance: 1.1km
Walking Time: 20min (loop track)
Begins: Urchin camp site Kaimanawa Road (SH1 15km south of Turangi)

A gently sloping, easy walk through beautiful native bush with a variety of forest environments.

Mt Urchin Track Riverstone Recommendation

Distance: 6.6km
Walking Time: 3.5hrs
Begins: Car park at end of Kaimanawa Road (SH1 15km south of Turangi)

This is a highly recommended but demanding climb to the summit of Mt Urchin (1391m). The effort is rewarded with uninterrupted views of the Tongariro National Park and fields of strange sub alpine plants.

This track can also be combined with the Waipakihi River tracks and the Umukarikari tracks for a longer day walk or utilize the huts in the area for an overnight stay.

Tree Trunk Gorge SH1 Loop Ride Riverstone Recommendation

Distance: 17km
Walking 3hrs  (loop track)
Cycling  3hrs (Grade 3)
Begins: End of Tree Trunk Gorge Road (SH1 23km south of Turangi)

From the road end the track goes to the Urchin Campsite and then to the Pillars of Hercules. Cross the suspension bridge and follow an old survey track along the upper Tongariro River and out to SH1 – a mixture of some sealed road, some gravel road and single track. (30 min). From here it is 2.5km along SH1 and 4.5km down Tree Trunk Gorge Rd. to the car park.

Kiko Road Loop & Tauranga Taupo River Waterfall

Distance: 4km
Walking Time: 1hr 30 min loop track
Cycling Time: 45min loop track (Grade 2)
Begins: Kiko Road (10km north of Turangi), 17 km to a car park where there is a picnic area and toilet

A feature of this track is the variety of forest in a relatively small area. There is also access for walkers with sound navigation skills to navigate to the Tauranga-Taupo waterfall using the ‘pink flag’ marked hunting route! Avoid this area during the ‘roar’ in May-June as hunters will be in this area.

Learn more…

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