Otanewainuku Forest


Part of Virtually on Track - Discover, Explore, Connect

Otanewainuku is covered in virgin unlogged forest and is home to a variety of native birds and animals. Large emergent rimu trees are common. Tawa, kamahi and rewarewa form a high canopy and bird species such as robin and bell bird are readily seen and heard. 

Podocarps and ferns as on Mount Otanewainuku. Photo: Les Molloy.
Podocarps and ferns as on Mount

Since 2002 a volunteer trust has been helping to conserve the precious wildlife of Otanewainuku. Kiwi, whiteheads and forest gecko are all found here. Recent releases of kiwi and kokako have proved succesful.

Otanewainuku is suitable for short walks or a day trip and provides an excellent example of orginal forest with giant trees and healthy bird life. 


A small shelter and information board are found next to the car park on Mountain Rd. Toilets are also available here.

At 640m, Mount Otanewainuku's geology is a rhyolitic dome rising above the ignimbrite Mamaku plateau. The summit gives panoramic views from East Cape to Mt Tarawera and across the Mamaku Plateau.

Maori legend says Tutanekai, lover of Hinemoa, leapt off Mount Otanewainuku to escape his Rotorua enemies.


Otanewainuku is 15 km south from Tauranga, near Oropi in the Bay of Plenty. The summit is 640 m above sea level, and the reserve area is about 1200 hectares.

Getting there

Otanewainuku Forest is accessible by car. Tracks through the forest lead from the car park on Mountain Rd in the Bay of Plenty. East of SH 36 (Pyes Pa Rd) near Oropi, take Oropi Rd south and turn onto Mountain Rd just past Oropi.

Alternatively, access Mountain Rd from No 2 Rd near Te Puke.


Bird and wildlife watching Bird and wildlife watching
Child/family friendly activities Child/family friendly activities
Hunting Hunting

Bird and wildlife watching

Good populations of robin, kereru and common native birds such as tui and fantail are readily seen and heard at Otanewainuku.

Child/family friendly activities

The short rimu loop walk is an excellent nature trail and an introduction to New Zealand native bush for children, with an easy grade and some trees labelled with information about their natural history. The track is suitable for sturdy pushchairs but these must be carried through some short sections of steep/narrow track.


Recreational hunting is allowed in the forest. However, dogs are strongly discouraged as they pose a threat to kiwi, which are being actively protected by DOC and by volunteers.

Find out about hunting in the Tauranga area 

What to hunt

Fallow deer are found in reasonable numbers in the forest area and the neighbouring Otawa Scenic Reserve.


Permits are required for all hunters and are free of charge. You can apply for a permit online.

If you wish to apply in person please email or phone the Tauranga DOC office with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Contact phone number
  • Dog registration details if hunting with dogs (check with DOC staff for information on where dogs are allowed)
  • Whether bow or firearm
  • Whether you are also hunting in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, or other reserves aswell

All permits include a hunting return which should be completed and sent to DOC in Tauranga. A renewal can be issued along with this return. Simply fax, email or post your hunting return to DOC in Tauranga.

Hunting permits are issued for quarterly periods and then must be renewed.

Pesticide summary

Always check where pesticides have been laid. See the Central North Island pesticide summary.

Tracks and walks

Walks in the area range from a 30-minute stroll, to demanding and lengthy tramping, including the steep Otanewainuku Summit track.

Plan and prepare

Otanewainuku is relatively remote, with little or no cellphone coverage. Walkers should be well prepared for changes in weather. Please note that dogs are not permitted.

Safety is your responsibility

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Related link

Help conserve the forest with the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust


Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Bay of Plenty places


Tauranga Office
Phone:      +64 7 578 7677
Email:   taurangainfo@doc.govt.nz
Full office details