Totara Walk

Totara Walk

Pureora Forest Park



2 Rankers Reviews

1 Face-to-Face

328 Walking

8 Te Kuiti

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!




960 metres return | 30 minutes return

Some of the finest podocarp trees in the country. But it’s a mission to get here.


The Timber Trail carpark is signposted 5km from SH30 along Maraeroa Road.

The start of the track is signposted from the Timber Trail carpark 200 metres from the Pureora Field Base. The carpark has toilets and a campground nearby


Immediately after entering the forest, head right. The metalled loop explores this fine forest with numerous information panels.


There are a combination of factors contributing to Pureora’s uniqueness. The climate is superhumid, therefore there is low loss of moisture through evapotranspiration. The abundant rainfall nourishes a high species diversity in a localised area. Eight ash showers in the last 10,000 years have formed light, freely drained pumiceous loam soils, which can support high densities of vegetation. Volcanic activity has also levelled forests, creating new soil for vigorous recolonisation.


The podocarps are a family of trees, whose lineage stretches back over 200 million years. They evolved before the appearance of flowering plants and are distinguished by a succulent foot like appendage on the seed. The antiquity, complexity and grandeur of the Whirinaki Forest makes it virtually unique in the New Zealand and global contexts. Nowhere else is there such density of massive rimu, matai, miro, totara, northern rata and kahikatea. These species were flourishing on Gondwanaland, the supercontinent that existed as an amalgamation of today’s Southern hemisphere landmasses. Dinosaurs roamed through a forest with a very similar make up.

The primary canopy is complete, old and virtually closed. The foliage of the sub-canopy also shades the forest floor, so the interior is devoid of substantial seasonal fluctuations. Empires of epiphytes and twisted liana bejewel the branches and trunks of their hosts. The evergreen leaves and honey-green of the dominant tawa sub-canopy filter through a sublime light.

The altitudinal range of Pureora displays a textbook succession of forest types. Dense podocarp forest to gives way to medium density podocarp forest and hardwood species. At higher altitudes, mixed podocarp-beech then merges to beech forest at the tops of the hills.

European History

The government of the 1970s decided this priceless forest should be logged for the short-term economic gains of a small community. The plans for destruction came as part of a wholesale policy to exploit the native timber resources of the entire country. Colin Moyle, the then Minister of Forests, proposed an international tender for logging, chipping and pulping of South Island beech forests. These ludicrous ideas prompted the Native Forests Action Council to submit a petition with 341,160 signatures to the government in 1976 – the largest petition New Zealand has ever witnessed. In 1978 Pureora Forest was saved from loggers by activists sitting in the branch clefts of similarly massive podocarps.


Feature Value Info


North IslandWaikatoTe Kuiti


  • Walking
  • Free



Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

Very easy access of the state highway and you're into another world. The things I love most about this walk were the interpretation signs that explain the huge variety of trees that are in this forest. I also appreciated the bird life. Since 1995 DOC has been active in pest management and it really shows. So nice to wandering in some NZ bush with regular bird activity.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

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Tamlin Barton's avatar

Tamlin Barton

United Kingdom

Ranking: 7/10

Hearing one of the rarest birds in New Zealand, the Kokako. Near exposed remains of forest knocked over by Taupo eruption.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in February 2011

DOC Managed

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 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner