Extensive native podocarp forests once covered most of the central North Island but native forest logging saw huge swathes of that disappear. In 1946, Pureora Forest was one of the last native forests to be opened up for logging. Protests in 1978 led to a government-imposed logging moratorium and eventually, the end of native forest logging in the park.
Today, the slopes of Mt Pureora are still covered in ancient podocarps and the well maintained Link Road track to the summit makes for a stunning forest walk. As you climb higher, the forest canopy height gradually decreases until on the summit, you’re left with just low shrubs and amazing panoramic views in all directions.
The view above is looking towards Lake Taupo, with Mt Tauhara the highest point in the far distance on the left, and the summits of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu on the right. Below is the the summit of nearby Mt Titiraupenga.
At just under 6km return from the car park on Link Road, this is the shortest and most easily accessible route to the summit. It’s a steady climb with many, many stairs but overall, it’s an easy, family friendly walk. The sign at the start of the track says 1.5 hours to the summit but at a steady pace, we did it in just under an hour.
The parking at the start of the track on Link Road can be reached from either Pureora in the west (the northern end of the Timber Trail) or from the east via the Kakaho Campsite access road. Both of these routes are gravel, and while we haven’t personally driven in from Pureora, we can say that from the the Kakaho end, while the road is fairly corrugated and rutted in places, a 4×4 is not required.
As always, before heading out on this track, always check the DOC website for the latest track conditions and alerts.
While you’re in the area, you might also want to pop in to see the official geographic Centre of the North Island.