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As well as 14 national parks in New Zealand, there are 19 forest parks with a lesser protected status, one maritime park, and nearly 4000 regional parks and reserves of various sizes.
To help you plan and enjoy your visit to New Zealand's parks the Department of Conservation provides:
Parks and protected areas are open all year. There is no charge to go into the parks, or to use basic facilities such as visitor centres, tracks, toilets or picnic places. A charge is made for some park information, brochures and to stay overnight in camping areas and in most back-country huts (hut tickets or passes must be bought before the trip; details from Department of Conservation offices). Many parks also offer commercial sightseeing, education tours and transport.
Permits or licences are needed for hunting and fishing. Dogs are not allowed in national parks, but may be allowed into other parks with a permit. Enquire at a Department of Conservation office near the park.
The Department manages a wide range of guest houses, cabins, backcountry huts and camping areas throughout the country. Most of the camping areas are operated on a first-come, first-served basis, although some of the more popular camping sites operate on a booking system. Contact the DOC for details and prices.
Natural beauty and historical significance are key features of this subtropical park of islands, bays, beaches, tidal inlets and mangroves. Activities for everyone - visits to historic/archaeological sites, forest and coastal walks, boating, swimming, diving, big game fishing and camping.
Tane Mahuta - Waipoua Kauri Forest
Subtropical rainforest dominated by giant kauri, including NZ's biggest tree, Tane Mahuta.The park has lots of short walks and several longer tracks. Forests may be viewed from the road. A must for botanists/birdwatchers. Camping Waipoua, Trounson and Puketi Kauri forests.
Easily accessible from Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga; a popular recreational park with luxuriant forest, old volcanic landforms, historic mining and milling sites. Enjoy easy walks, fishing, swimming, tramping. Fishing, sailing, swimming and diving around the coast.
Narrow, rugged, forested park. Easily reached from Rotorua, Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland - bush walks, tramping, picnicking, rock climbing, hunting, and exploring old mining and kauri-milling sites. Public transport to within 5km of park.
Small and densely forested, with interesting plant life, this park is centred around the slopes of three extinct volcanoes. Only 30km from Hamilton. Ideal for hunting, short walks and 1 or 2-day tramps.
Rugged forested ranges, featuring one of NZ's foremost wild and scenic rivers, the Motu. Access difficult, but great for those wanting to get off the beaten track. White-water rafting, tramping and hunting.
Pureora Forest Park
Magnificent, dense, podocarp forest with rich bird life. Western side of Lake Taupo. Home of the rare kokako. Forest viewing tower. Forest walks, camping, birdwatching, scenic drives, tramping, hunting.
Famous for its magnificent podocarp forests. Short and day walks, tramping, fishing and canoeing on the Whirinaki River. About 100km from Rotorua.
A back-country park offering good rafting, canoeing, hunting, fishing, and a range of tramping for experienced trampers and day walkers. Picnic/camping spots at road ends.
A remote, rugged mountain wilderness, accessible from Turangi. Wilderness tramping, hunting, fishing, rafting and canoeing.
Rugged ranges with a network of tramping tracks through forest, river systems and tussock. Hunting, riverside camping. Access from Palmerston North or Napier.
Popular recreational park only 45km from Wellington city, with walks and tracks to suit all, including the Rimutaka Incline Walk, following an historical rail link. Turakirae Head Scientific Reserve and seal colony are nearby on the coast. Camping and picnicking.
Remote forested and scrub-covered ranges suitable for hunters and experienced trampers with own transport. Spectacular coastline and seal colony near Cape Palliser. Coastal camping, fishing, and several short walks, including one to an unusual rock formation, the Putangirua Pinnacles.
Within easy reach of Wellington and Palmerston North. Rugged forested interior for a wide variety of overnight tramping. Picnic and camping spots. Note: Weather on the mountain tops can be severe. Be well prepared at all times of the year.
Rugged and forested, only minutes from Nelson. Over 250km of tracks. Hunting, fishing, riverside camping and picnicking.
Rugged and mountainous; some of NZ's finest beech forests and mining relics of Reefton quartz goldfields. Walks, tramping, climbing, hunting, fishing, gold panning, camping, 4WD and horse trekking.
Mountain peaks, hot springs, lakes, forest, snow tussock and alpine herb fields. Access from the scenic Lewis Pass Highway to a wide range of tramping and hunting. Easy walks, fishing, picnicking, roadside camping. Start of the St James Walkway.
Thermal holiday resort within easy reach of Christchurch. Easy walks through stands of native and exotic trees, tramping, rafting, jet boating, horse trekking and swimming in Hanmer Springs thermal pools.
Accessible from Christchurch or the Lewis Pass Highway - mountains, rivers, lakes, hot springs and beech forests. Tramping, hunting, fishing, birdwatching.
Small mountainous park in the scenic Arthur's Pass Highway best known for its winter ski areas. Excellent beech forest. Tramping, short walks, hunting and camping.
A glimpse of NZ's gold-mining heritage. Year-round historic walks along old mining trails, gold panning, horse trekking, mountain bike touring, scenic drives and white-water rafting.
Luxuriant coastal forest 100km from Invercargill, 130km from Dunedin. Variety of forest walks and tracks through to rugged coastline. Historic timber-milling sites and ancient petrified forests.