Straddling the Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto Ranges west of Lake Taupo, the forest was made a reserve in 1978 and takes its name from nearby Mount Pureora (1165 metres). At 78,000 hectares, Pureora Forest Park is 25 per cent larger than Lake Taupo and a treasure trove of tall trees, clear rivers and rare wildlife.
One of largest remnants of the podocarp forests that once blanketed most of the central North Island, the forest has a fiery history. During the last major Taupo eruption, 1800 years ago, the area was almost completely buried with ash and pumice.
Today, much of the forest has its roots in volcanic soils, and you can still see preserved logs from the eruption on the short Buried Forest Walk near the Pureora Field Base and campsite.
The forest also covers a wide altitudinal range – from 400 to 1165 metres above sea level. As a result, visitors can admire a spectacular array of native trees such as mighty tötara, rimu, kahikatea, as well as verdant undergrowth featuring ferns and vibrant mosses.