Explore Pirongia Forest Park
The Pirongia Forest Park is located in the Waikato region of New Zealand. The area is small and densely forested and has interesting plant life. The tracks in this forest park are ideal for short walks and one to two day hikes.
Weather conditions at Pirongia Forest Park can change rapidly, especially at higher altitudes. Always ensure you are carrying a change of clothing, wet weather gear and sufficient food and water to cater for any emergency.
Pirongia Forest Park Attractions
There are three extinct volcanos in the Pirongia Forest Park: Mount Pirongia (959 metres), The Cone (945 metres) and Mount Karioi (756 metres). Further attractions include the Kaniwhaniwha Caves.
On a clear day, Mt Pirongia's summit provides fine views of Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu.
If you want to spend the night on Mount Pirongia you can stay in the Pukatea Hut which is about 30 minutes walk away from the summit.
Podocarps, such as rimu and totara are found at lower altitudes, along with tawa and tree-ferns.
As you go higher, the forest changes - hardy plants like kamahi and horopito are found on exposed ridges and, near the summit, thick mats of mountain flax, hardy coprosmas and ferns are common.
Expect to see grey warblers, fantails, tomtits and, around the park margins, harriers, kingfishers and pipits. New Zealand falcon, kereru (native wood pigeon), tui and bellbirds might also be heard.
Mount Karioi is an ancient volcano, rising sharply from the sea to 756 metres. Climb to the top of Mt Karioi and on a fine day you can enjoy spectacular views of Mt Taranaki, Mt Pureora, Mt Maungamangero, Mt Te Aroha and Mt Pirongia and Mt Maungatautari from its summit.
Walk along the Nikau track to Kaniwhaniwha Caves, two limestone caves. You can walk through the 20 metre long main cave, except for a short hands-and-knees crawl. The cave is wet underfoot and torches are required.
The second smaller cave is tight and narrow.
Follow the Bell track from the Kaniwhaniwha Caves to the tallest recorded kahikatea tree, a mighty 66.5 metres high.
Pirongia Forest Park Activities
Activities in Pirongia Forest Park include:
- Bushwalking, tramping
- Mountain biking, cycling
- Hunting (with permit)
- Bird watching
- Camping, picknicking
Pirongia Forest Park Conservation
The Pirongia Forest Park is managed by the Department of Conservation. Some things to remember include:
- Do not take dogs or other animals into any of the reserves
- Do not light fires
- Take your rubbish away with you
- Do not remove or disturb any artifacts or other historic remains
- Camp only in designated camping areas