Otanewainuku Forest covers 1220 hectares and is dominated by the rhyolite dome of Otanewainuku. This protrudes above the flat ignimbrite sheet surrounding it to form a prominent point of high relief.
To access Otanewainuku from Te Puke, follow Boucher Avenue until it turns into Number 2 Road. This becomes unsealed and continues to Mountain Road. Turn right and there is a small parking bay on the left after 200 metres.
From Greerton, follow Pyes Pa Road and turn left at Pyes Pa into Oropi Gorge Road. In Oropi, turn right into Oropi Road, then left into Mountain Road. The walks start from 200 metres before Number 2 Road.
There are toilets and a picnic shelter near the parking bays.
The track starts from behind the shelter opposite the parking area.
Shortly after the beginning of the walk the track forks. Both routes take approximately 45 minutes, although the left fork via the kahikatea may be a little shorter. The gradient on the right fork via the ridge is gentler but steadier.
Both tracks are well-formed, even and occasionally marked with orange rectangles and triangles. The kahikatea is 5 minutes from the start of the track, after which it bears sharp right.
Both tracks exit at an elevated lookout and trig, 640 metres above sea level. The carpark is at 450 metres above sea level.
A concealed fault reaches north towards Papamoa Beach from the base of the hill.
From the elevated summit you can see the Waimapu Valley, Tauranga Harbour and the entire sweep of the Bay of Plenty. White Island is at the hub and Cape Runaway is visible through the haze on a clear day. Orientation panels are posted on the lookout platform.
The flat forested expanse of the Mamaku Plateau dominates the scenery to the south-west. The even contoured flat sheet of ignimbrite is in stark contrast to the nearby Kaimai Range.
The forest is mainly composed of a high canopy of rimu and rata with a sub-canopy of tawari, tawa and kohekohe. With increased altitude the tawa/kohekohe sub-canopy blends to a miro/tawai association.
Otanewainuku was the favoured love of Puwhenua, a beautiful nearby hill. Her choice forced a nameless and rejected hill (later known as Mauao) to flee the area in despair, aided by the nocturnal patupaiarehe. Carving the Waimapu (Tauranga Harbour), Mauao was abandoned at dawn in his present resting place, Mount Maunganui.
According to one Maori legend, Tutanekai, the lover of Hinemoa jumped off the summit of Otanewainuku having fled from his pursuing Rotorua enemies.
North Island ▷ Bay of Plenty ▷ Tauranga
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍