Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park

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Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park , Tauranga Overview

The Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park was established in the year 1975. The magnificent Kaimai Range is located in North Island and forms the prominent eastern skyline of the Hauraki Plains. The Kaimai mountain covers over 45,000 hectares. Locally known as ‘The Kaimais’, it started to grow about a million years ago and stopped growing about 40,000 years ago. The mountain range stretches 70 km from Karangahake Gorge in the north to nearly Rotorua in the south. Kaimai Mamaku Park was established in 1975 and covers an area of 37,000 hectares. Its highest point is Mount Te Aroha at 952 metres, located at the foot of the town Te Aroha.

The name Te Aroha translates from Maori as Te - The & Aroha - Love. The name comes from a Maori legend which says that the sun god and the moon goddess loved each other but couldn’t meet because of the planet positions. One day when the moon goddess came to the earth to see the sun god, she was turned into stone when the sun rose. That is why on the Kaimai range, there is a high skyline silhouetted rock which looks like a woman. This rock is locally known as the rock of Hinemoa.

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Walking Tracks

The Kaimai Forest Park consists of 300 kilometres of walking tracks to explore and learn. The track maps of these tracks are available at the visitor centres of the town.  Out of the many walking tracks, the two best walks are the Waitewheta Track and the walk from Te Aroha Domain.

The Waitewheta track follows a kauri log tramline, passes through rocky bluffs, deep gorges and waterfalls; and the walk from Te Aroha Domain takes you to the highest summit of Mount Kaimai, Mt Te Aroha (952m). There are huts, shelters and picnic areas throughout the 300-kilometre track network.

Flora and Fauna

The park contains a wide range of unique flora and fauna. In the northern part of the park, there exist plants such as kamahi, red beech and silver beech, and the southern limit of kauri. A lot of these unique plants were used by Maoris for food and medicines.

There are many exclusive, yet rare birds such as the fantail, North Island robin, kererü, silvereye, tüï and tomtit. Kiwi and käkä have been recorded, although are rarely seen. The park is also home to small populations of the rare Hochstetter’s frog and the threatened Te Aroha stag beetle, a large black beetle with antler-shaped mandibles.

Wairere Falls

Wairere falls are located in the Wairere Falls Track in Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. It is the tallest falls in North Island with water dropping from a height of 153 metres. The short but steep climb to the Wairere Falls offers you stunning views of the white water gliding down, surrounded by native bushes.

Kaimai Mamaku Forest Activities

Kaimai also includes some of the fun activities such as- 
  • Tramping
  • Hunting (with permit)
  • Dog walking
  • Mountain biking and cycling
  • Fishing
  • Guided activities
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Abseiling

Tips

  • Do not take animals into the park Animals are not allowed inside the park, except dogs. Dogs must always be walked on their leashes in the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway and it is the owner’s responsibility to clean if the dog messes the area.
  • If you want to conduct a campfire in the area, you must take permission in advance. Also, remember that the entire mountain is covered with trees and a little irresponsibility can cause a lot of damage.
  • Do not litter the forest park. Take your rubbish away with you.
  • Do not remove or disturb any artefacts or other historic remains
  • Camp only in designated areas (if allowed) 

How To Reach Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park

The nearest city to the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is Tauranga. The distance from Tauranga to the forest park is about 36 kilometres. The park can be accessed from various points; via SH2, SH26 and SH29.

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