DANNY DE HEK Entrepreneur Decision Maker Connector Podcaster EducatorStep into a primeval world dominated by one thousand-year-old podocarp trees, which is recognised as one of the finest rainforests in the world.

The Pureora is a magnificent forest covering the Rangitoto and Hauhungaroa Ranges, west of Lake Taupo. The giant totara, rimu, matai, miro and kahikatea trees tower 40-60 metres, and belong to an ancient family of trees dating from the dinosaur era. There is rich native bird life in this forest including the rare kokako and the kaka, kakarihi and North Island robin.

The Pureora visitor centre gives access to an easy 30 minute trail called the Totara Walk, which makes an ideal introduction to the park. The centre will also direct you to an intriguing geological site where 7 metres of volcanic ash buried an ancient forest during the A.D.186 eruption of the Lake Taupo crater. Massive hot ash and pumice showers flattened the ancestors of today’s indigenous podocarp trees. Huge trunks lie in parallel rows beneath the ash, testament to the force of the blast that snapped them like twigs.

The park has a wealth of quality tramping experiences starting with good tracks and wonderful views from the summits of Mt Pureora (1165 metres) and Mt Titiraupenga (1,042 metres). The Waipapa Walk is a loop that commences by the Pureora Forest Lodge along the edge of the Waipapa Ecological Area. This walk offers the best chance of hearing an early dawn chorus of the kokako. Waihora Lagoon Walk reveals a beautiful reflective lake surrounded by towering forest. Bog Inn Track is approached from the Link Road and skirts around superb wetland while passing through dense kamahi/broadleaf forest. From the Western Lake Taupo Road (S.H.32), there is an excellent track leading from the bridge into Waihaha Hut via a spectacular rocky gorge. You can enjoy the evening chorus of birdsong while relaxing on the veranda.

Pureora is a precious national resource – a remnant of the ancient forests that once covered most of the country. It is a perfect place to visualise primeval New Zealand.