This is a reply to Irene Denton's RFI on Pureora. Forwarded her message to
my home email and lost her email address!
Getting to Pureora is much easier and faster from the northeast through (or
near) Mangakino (where I grew up, by the way! It's the fog capital of the
world.) The northeast approach is also close to State Highway 1, the main
north-south highway in NZ. Access is either from Atiamuri on Highway 1 (via
Highway 30) or Tokoroa further north on highway 1 (Whakamaru Rd), but either
way you will arrive at the Whakamaru Dam and village, which has a nice
lagoon beside the road for various waterbirds.
>From Whakamaru highway 30 takes you southwest towards Pureora. About 29 km
from Whakamaru there is a pretty scrubby-looking turnoff to the left
("Barryville Rd", gravel/metal) which is a loop road to Pureora. Pureora is
not on the highway, but about 3 km from it along Barryville Rd. Pretty soon
after leaving Highway 30 you will notice the remaining huge old podocarp
forest trees on your left (south) and then the park visitor center, a wooden
building to the left where the road goes to the village. The Pureora village
is just up the hill, but unless you want to, you don't actually go into the
village (although a NZ Falcon flies over it every now and then!).
Once at the visitor center, you can get maps and the latest info on the
specialties, especially Kokako. There are several old logging roads through
the bush, but the main one is, as you mentioned, Perham Rd (=Perham('s)
Ave), which connects with Link (Waimiha) Rd, which takes you southeast
through mostly exotic forest to the main highway around the west side of
Lake Taupo and eventually links with Highway 1 at the south end of Lake
Taupo. Link Rd is worthwhile if you are heading south from Pureora.
The most interesting road/track is Pikiariki Rd, which takes you to the best
birding areas. Pikiariki Rd is 1-2 km back along Barryville Rd (you passed
it coming in from Highway 30). Just after Pikiariki Rd leaves Barryville Rd
(about 0.5-1.0 km) , there is a track off to the left called Plains Rd.
About 1-2 km along this road, in the bush to the right, has been a good
place for Kokako, with a couple of territorial males in the general area.
Early morning is best (actually almost imperative) in November or so, when
the haunting Kokako song can be incredible. These birds are pretty secretive
the rest of the day. About 3 km along Pikiariki Rd on the left is Bismarck
Rd, which after a short distance dead-ends at a track to the forest tower,
situated in beautiful old forest. Kaka and Yellow-crowned Parakeet are good
here, with chances for Kokako (slim) and other endemics.
Near the visitor center is the fairly short Totara Walk, where Riflemen and
Whiteheads are likely, as they are in any of the previously-mentioned spots.
The entire area is good for Long-tailed Cuckoo (Koel).
Along Perham Rd (heading roughly east) there is a large clearing about 1-2
km from Barryville Rd. This clearing has been part of a NZ Falcon
territory, and a patient wait (or even a short stop) can yield a curious
falcon, especially during the breeding season. An idea is to eat lunch
Hope this helps!
New Zealand Land and Pelagic Trips
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