Tōtara Reserve Regional Park

Nestled in the Pohangina Valley, just a 40-minute drive from Palmerston North, Tōtara Reserve Regional Park is one of the best and most accessible examples of the diverse lowland forest that was once widespread in the Horizons Region. The Reserve covers 340ha of native forest and offers a wide range of attractions, including camping grounds, walking tracks, swimming holes, an adventure playground, and an abundance of native plants and wildlife.

Walking Tracks

A network of tracks takes you on a journey through the mixed podocarp forest with its tall canopy trees, shrub and forest floor communities, wide variety of birds and animals, and wonderful views of the Ruahine Ranges and Pohangina Valley.

There are several tracks which can be accessed from Pohangina Valley East Road (Manawatū Scenic Route), on route to the Tōtara Reserve camping grounds, while the nature trails can be accessed from different locations around the camping ground. 

Click here for the most up to date information on our tracks including warnings and closures.

Please note, no dogs are allowed within the reserve or camping grounds.


Camping at Totara Reserve

There are two camping grounds in Tōtara Reserve, one large site (Kererū) adjacent to Camp Rangi Woods and one smaller site (Kahikatea) across the road. If you're coming from Palmerston North, once you reach the Tōtara Reserve turn-off (Pohangina Valley East Road), keep travelling north until you get to the Highland Christian Camp and veer off to the left.

Amenities on site include toilets, showers, BBQs, a 'back to roots' adventure playground, powered and unpowered camp sites, and river access. The camping grounds are open during the summer months, opening on Labour Weekend every year through until the end of March. Sites can be booked here.

There are toilet and shower facilities with wheelchair access at both camp sites. The larger and easier to use of these, is at the newer ablution block at the southern and larger camp area (Kererū). Both setups have been used by campers with wheel chairs and are considered satisfactory.


  • Powered sites $37.00 for two people per night - $6 extra per person per night
  • Unpowered sites $16.00 for two people per night - $6 extra per person per night
  • Children under 5 stay free

Bookings are necessary to avoid missing out and can be made here. Please note, no dogs are allowed at the grounds. 

Tōtara Reserve DL Brochure (PDF, 812KB)