Lake Mangamahoe

This well sign-posted circuit walk takes you on a journey around Lake Mangamahoe through production forest, up to impressive lookouts and among mature ornamental tree plantings that are mixed with pockets of regenerated native bush.
Lake Mangamahoe

Walk Details

Grade: Medium/hard
Time: Two hours
Distance: 6km

The lake circuit walk is an enjoyable walk for people of all ages. However, there are some steep undulating sections on the walk that require a reasonable standard of fitness and the track can be slippery and muddy in areas after rain.


Lake Mangamahoe is 10 minutes drive south of New Plymouth city on SH3. You can enter from Junction Road and Plantation Road.

Opening hours

7am - 6pm outside of daylight savings. (approx April to September)
7am - 8.30pm during daylight savings. (approx October to March)

Facilities and Car parking

There is car parking along with toilet facilities and picnic areas. Lake Mangamahoe also includes a mountain biking area and horse riding trails.

Road user rules apply on our walkways so cyclists must wear helmets.

You ca go horse riding, cycling and walking at this walkway



The walk may be started at either end of Lake Rd.

As the forest is in commercial production, you will see areas on the circuit walk that have been harvested, however, it won’t be long until the newly planted seedlings begin emerging and a new forest develops.

On the eastern side of the lake the circuit walk gives the choice of two routes.

The lower lakeside route takes you on an ambling walk close to the lake edge. Lakeside vegetation and regenerating pockets of native bush provide a cooling atmosphere and a home to many birds. Keep an eye out for cheeky fantails.

The upper ridge route takes you over a forest access road used for logging operations. As this road is up high on a ridge above the lake it provides remarkable views of the surrounding farmland, Mt Taranaki and the lake itself.

Natural features

The predominant tree planted for commercial purposes is the radiata pine. This Californian tree has proved most adaptable to New Zealand conditions and is easy to establish, very fast growing and produces wood suitable for a wide range of uses. Due to its outstanding qualities radiata pine has become the most important commercial species in New Zealand.

Along the circuit walk you will meander through a small collection of redwood trees which were planted in 1931. In California, where they originate, they are known as the giants of the forest, reaching heights of up to 11m. Redwoods are known for their longevity.


In the early 1920s we purchased land for the construction of a dam and a lake. The purpose of the lake was to act as a water catchment area for the expanding city of New Plymouth. In 1931 the lake was created. This was achieved by forming a dam across the valley and submerging 79 acres. The lake was named after the Mangamahoe Stream which flows into the upper reaches of the lake. Water from both the stream and the nearby Waiwhakaiho River feeds the lake through a 548m pipe.

In order to protect the steep hillside from eroding, development planting was undertaken and shelterbelts were planted to protect the pine trees growing in what is now the Mangamahoe Forest.

The lake itself is also significant to the district in terms of power generation, Trustpower Ltd administers this from the Mangorei Power Station.

Public entry to the forest was once restricted. However, with the increasing demand for leisure use within the forest this restriction was lifted in 1990.

Since then leisure interest has increased considerably and Lake Mangamahoe and its forest now attracts many individual and organised group activities.

Today Lake Mangamahoe is a 262ha commercial production forest administered by us, combined with a scenic park and lake.

General safety messages

  • Be aware of forestry operations and tree felling within the forest.
  • Obey safety signs at all times.
  • Please be aware of debris hazards. While all care is taken you enter this forest at your own risk.
  • Lake Mangamahoe supplies drinking water for New Plymouth District. In the interest of public safety and health boating and swimming is prohibited in the lake.
  • Lake levels can fluctuate without warning.
  • Fly fishing only is permitted and a fishing licence is required. Contact Fish and Game New Zealand.
  • Dogs are prohibited within 200m of the lake edge. Please keep your dog on a lead in all other areas of the forest.
  • The forest is a closed game area. No shooting or interfering with the wildlife.
  • For your own safety please keep to the marked tracks.

We endorse smokefree parks, playgrounds, sport grounds and walkways.

Bridle Trail

Lake Mangamahoe’s dedicated bridle trail is about 5km long with a few variations to the route. It would take a maximum of one hour to cover all the routes at a walking pace.

The trail is wide enough for riders to walk two abreast, please share with care.

A large car park is situated at the entrance to the trail, capable of holding 20 horse vehicles/floats. Access to the car park and the trail's entrance is just before the one-way dam section of Lake Mangamahoe Dr.

Bridle trail code of conduct

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Keep to the designated trail.
  • Ride in the direction of the trail arrows.
  • Please ride at walking pace – refrain from trotting, cantering or galloping.
  • Be courteous to other forest users.
  • Be aware of forestry operation and vehicles using the roads.
  • Remove all rubbish.
  • Remove horse droppings from the car park area.
  • Report any damage to the trail to the Council.

Note: Horses are prohibited in the immediate vicinity of the lake and forest areas beyond the bridle trail.

Mountain bike trails

Lake Mangamahoe’s purpose-built downhill and cross-country mountain biking trails can be used by riders of all abilities. Access to the tracks is via a car park at the end of Plantation Rd (off SH3, just south of the lake's main entrance).


The tracks were developed by the Council and the New Plymouth Mountain Bike Club.

Mountain biking code of conduct

  • Standard road rules apply – keep left.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Stay on roads or designated mountain biking trails.
  • Ride in the direction of markers and do not take shortcuts.
  • Slow down and give way to other forest users.
  • Be aware of forestry operation and vehicles using the roads.
  • Remove all rubbish.
  • Forest management signs must be obeyed at all times.
  • Report any damage to the trails to the Council.