The Whakarewarewa Forest (AKA the Redwoods) is a 5600 hectare treasure trove of places to explore, filled with good quality walking, cycling & horse riding tracks to suit everyone. The entire place is dog friendly, most of it is on-lead only with an awesome off lead section near the main car park. You can spend anywhere from an hour to all day here depending on the trails you choose, and it’s the type of place where you can keep coming back as there’s always more places to explore.
We chose to park at the main car park off Longmile Road, near the visitors center. It’s a busy area, filled with people of all ages and nationalities with plenty of tourists. There is plenty of parking available in this area and we’ve never had a problem finding a spot. There’s toilets and a visitors center here, and plenty of trails heading off into the forest.
The trails vary from wide forestry type roads through to narrower single track. Once you get away from the main touristy area surrounding the car park it is generally pretty quiet, sharing the area with the locals. It’s a stunning place to walk through, and you can go for as long or as little as you like.
Being such a busy area, it’s always a bit of a challenge having nervous dogs such as Brooke and my foster, Alice. I love our yellow “Nervous” dog coat for places like this – when we were stopped by a family group wanting to say hello, they saw the coat and gave my dogs plenty of room which was great. Highly recommend if you’ve got a similar type of dog.
While we didn’t head into the off lead section this time, I have been there a few times before. It’s across the road from the visitors center area, with plenty of parking right near the access points. While there isn’t really any clear tracks in this spot, you can walk through the trees for as long as you want and the dogs love having a good sniff around. There is always plenty of other dogs there, but heaps of space if you want to find a quiet spot to yourselves. Being such a touristy spot, it is awesome that this area has been made available for dog owners to enjoy.
On Lead, with a dedicated Off Lead area
Parking – Plenty, proper car park though can be busy. Can park pretty much anywhere on the side of the driveway near dog area too.
Toilets/Water – Yes, at car park
Bins – Yes
Notes – Beware that the main car park is busy and filled with kids & tourists. Control your dogs accordingly. For more info about this walk, check out their website here.