ZnO nanostructures have been heavily explored for a variety of sensing properties and of late a major emphasis by researchers has been to find applications for ZnO materials in the domain of photo-catalysis. ZnO nanoparticles have been found as a better alternative to other materials for removing organic dyes from polluted water and the abolition of several hazardous materials etc. In this work we have developed ultra-dense high aspect ratio ZnO nano-forest like structures and explored their potential as photo-catalysts. The films formulated are superhydrophobic (contact angle ∼ 154°) in nature and have been evaluated as containing a high density of oxygen defects in the crystalline state of the ZnO (as validated through photoluminescence measurements). The samples were found to possess enhanced photo-catalytic properties, as measured through a dye degradation process using an UV-Vis spectrophotometer. These photo-catalytic properties may be due to the high defect density and also the enhanced area of the interactive surface as one goes from nano-particles to nano-rod like structures. The paper gives an insight into highly unique carpeted nano-wire bundles of ZnO and offers immense utility to the realization of high efficiency remediation filters. © 2015 The Royal Society of Chemistry.