NOTE – THIS WALK IS BY PERMIT ONLY. Before entering the forest, you must contact the Rayonier, Matariki Forest Bay of Plenty office to request permission to access. They’re really helpful people and make it a quick and stress free process. There are regular events in the forest that the company alerts permit holders about, and some of these may present a safety issue if you are not aware of them. Contact info can be found here. It’s so special to have access to such a great network of trails, so please respect the privilege of using the forest so that it can continue to be enjoyed recreationally.
Maramarua Forest has been on my list of places to check out for a long time now, and I finally got over there with a couple of friends and some of our dogs. We had no real idea what to expect, but armed with a map & our permit we headed out and ended up doing a 10km loop in approx 2 hours at an easy pace. With a huge range of tracks, you could walk for as little or as long as you choose.
The tracks are easy walking, with the main roads being logging roads – nice and wide with good footing. There are some hills and a reasonable level of fitness is recommended. While there are no official leash policies in place, dogs have been known to get lost in the forest while chasing hares so we would only recommend letting dogs off lead if you have 100% control over them even with distractions.
Dogs allowed off lead but must be under control at all times.
Car parking – side of the road
Toilets/Bins/Water – None, take everything you need and leave nothing behind.
Other – For specific directions to the access gate and a map of the tracks, contact Matariki Forests in the link at the top of this post. Access is not permitted without a permit. There are some gravel roads on the way to the forest, but nothing overly tricky and it is accessible in a regular car. Phone reception is patchy (or non-existent depending which phone network you’re with), so take everything you need and always let someone know where you are going.