The remote and magical wilderness region of Te Urewera is one of the few places in New Zealand where you can still enjoy nature as it was meant to be. The region has huge tracts of native rainforest and a wide variety of native birds, including rare and endangered species like the whio (blue duck), kaka and kiwi. The beautiful Lake Waikaremoana is home to one of New Zealand's great walks and there are numerous smaller and equally pretty lakes and rivers to explore. In addition to trekking, on foot and on horseback, mountain biking, fishing and hunting are popular activities among locals and visitors alike.
There are a number of small, mainly Maori communities throughout Te Urewera. This is a place where you can experience the Maori way of life as it is today and you will often hear Maori being spoken - a rarity in other parts. Tuhoe - the children of the mist - are the tangata whenua (people of the land) in Te Urewera and are well known for their generous hospitality.
The magic of Te Urewera won the heart of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield early last century:
"It's all so gigantic and tragic - even in the bright sunlight it is so passionately secret."
Te Urewera National Park is the largest single block of native forest in New Zealand's north island. Established in 1954 the park covers 212,600 hectares and contains more than 650 different native plant species. It also has an abundance of native birdlife with many rare species still present including kokako, kiwi, kaka (parrot), whio (blue duck), kakariki (parakeet), toutouwai (robin) and kereru (wood pigeon). Commonly seen native birds include korimako (bellbirds), tui, tirairaka (fantails), ruru (morepork owls), and kaka (parrots).
The North Island green gecko and brown skink can also be found in the park along with long and short-tailed bats.
The park is also home to the beautiful lakes of Waikaremoana and Waikareiti, as well as many rivers and waterfalls.
Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Forest
Famous English botanist and environmentalist David Bellamy, described the Whirinaki as 'one of the great forests of the world'. It is one of the best places in the world to see original stands of indigenous Podocarp trees including rimu, miro, matai, kahikatea, and many more. It is also home to a wide variety of native birdlife as well as wild deer, pigs, and of course, possums.
In addition to the fabulous network of tramping tracks, huts and campsites, the Whirinaki Forest Park has special trails for mountain biking, lovely rivers and streams for fishing, and good hunting for red deer and pigs. Hunters are welcomed because of the service they provide in controlling wild animal numbers, particularly deer, pigs, and possums.