Goblin forest, Tararua Forest Park. © New Zealand TransitionThe 

The Goblin Forest: lush and fantastical forest

There be goblins, apparently. Truly? Well, not exactly... but if you dare to enter the Goblin Forest, you’ll be so bewildered by the beauty that you may even begin to have visions. You’d certainly be forgiven for thinking you heard Gollum addressing you personally.

So, what’s it all about, then? There are a series of stunning tracks and trails around the sides of the wonderfully symmetrical Mount Taranaki. You can, of course, make your way to the very summit, but that’s a whole other story and a completely different bag to pack. But the Kamahi Loop track requires little more than stout boots and a sense of adventure. A mere 15km from Stratford, the walk, depending on your proclivities and meanderings, can take in Dawsons Falls Wilkies Pool and a #14 bus.

Lied about the bus.

goblin forest

The moody trees in the Goblin Forest. © Jamie Young / FOAP

But really, the feature here is the very peculiar permutations of the native kamahi tree. In the lush rainforest — yep, be prepared for rain around here, whatever the time of year — the kamahi have often begun life by simply growing on the stumps and logs of other trees. No recent occurrence, some of these felled trees fell victim to the last ash shower eruptions from Mount Taranaki. Don’t worry, it was weeks ago... kidding! Last erupted in 1855. Breathe again, and walk.

For the walk is the prize — gnarled barely describes it.

The trees twist up, ferns provide an eerie gossamer layer to the whole thing, and hanging moss and other greenery add to the captivating experience. Eerie for some, enchanting to most, using your legs and imagination, it’s an experience not to be missed.


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Things to do

Tararua: a glimpse of prehistoric New Zealand

The view took his breath away. The legendary Maori chef Whatonga had arrived from Hawaiki and looked east from the tops of the Tararua Ranges. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Mount Taranaki: picture-perfect peak

You want a nice, classically shaped volcano? Well, look no further. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Egmont National Park: the shining mountain

Seen from above, the Egmont National Park on the western coast of the North Island forms almost a perfect circle, surrounding the beautiful Mount Taranaki. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

North Egmont short walks

Take in stunning views of Mount Taranaki and the central North Island mountains and explore the Ambury Monument and the 'goblin forest' on these short walks in Egmont National Park. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Taranaki Region

10 /10
From $120
10 /10
Best Price Around
Abode on Rimu Bed & Breakfast

A warm welcome and magnificent views await you at our New Plymouth bed & breakfast. Stay with us and enjoy the comfort of having your own private floo . . . More . . . 

From $120

Book now

Book now

9 /10
From $95
9 /10
The Strand

NEWLY RENOVATED 1 bedroom units. ALL units have been fitted out with DOUBLE GLAZING! Adding to the comfort of staying in a 1 bedroom unit is a NEW 2 m . . . More . . . 

From $95

Book now

Book now

9 /10
From $104
9 /10
Best Price Around
ASURE Antonio Mews Motel

ASURE Antonio Mews Motel is a 14-unit motel complex which is comfortable and modern with ample off-street parking. It is an ideal accommodation option . . . More . . . 

From $104

Book now

Book now

Metrotel

Located in the city centre, you can walk to everything from Metrotel. There is a restaurant next door and the city shopping mall is adjacent.Metrotel  . . . More . . .