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The rugged hills, which include Table Mountain (846 metres) and the Pinnacles (759 metres), provide a spectacular backdrop. Clear streams run through the valleys and at Sleeping Gods Canyon there's a magnificent 300-metre waterfall.
The Kauaeranga River was once named Waiwhakauaeranga, which means "waters of the stacked-up jaw bones". Historians from the Ngati Maru Maori tribe claim the name originated from a famous battle - members of Ngati Maru stacked up the jaw bones of their defeated enemies in rows on the banks of the river.
In the early 1900s logging took place in the valley, but the forest has been regenerating for the last eighty years and there are fine specimens of kauri, rimu, totara, kahikatea and kowhai trees, as well as a wide range of ferns. Several native bird species are commonly seen and heard throughout the valley.
Remote camping and hut accommodation is available for overnight stays. The Pinnacles Walk, which requires an overnight stay in the Department of Conservation Hut, is particularly rewarding.
There is a Department of Conservation visitor centre at the entrance to the park. Call in for advice before you start hiking.