Pirongia Mountain was formed by volcanic eruptions about 2.5 million years ago, and before European settlement, its surrounding forests were a source of food for Maori.
Today, the mountain and forest provides a natural escape from city living - a place where you can walk among native bush, trees and beside streams.
The forest has a number of marked walks.
The hour-long Mangakara Nature Walk meanders through the forest to the Mangakara Stream, showing off giant rimu, tawa, kohekohe, pukatea and kahikatea trees. People of most ages and abilities can enjoy the walk but it is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
The Nikau Walk takes about two and a half hours, starting from the Kaniwhaniwha car park. You can swim in the stream or use a picnic/campsite near the track. The walk is also used by cyclists.
Add half an hour to this walk and you can check out the Kaniwhaniwha Caves. These two limestone caves are near the start of the Bell Track. The 20-metre main cave can be walked through, except for a short distance that requires you to crawl. The second cave is narrow and more difficult to explore.