Where to See Kauri in New Zealand
As New Zealand’s largest species of tree, the largest one reaching 51.5m (169ft) with a circumference of 13.2m (45.3ft), kauri are pretty darn impressive to see. Only naturally growing in the northern regions of New Zealand and with an extensive history of logging, kauri forests are a little difficult to find. What’s more, the trees are now prone to a disease called kauri dieback, which is why you will see boardwalks and shoe cleaning stations at all kauri walks in New Zealand. With a bit of care, it’s well worth marvelling at these giants of the forest. Find out where you can do just that with this list of kauri forests in New Zealand.
1. Waipoua Forest
We can’t start anywhere other than the biggest and oldest kauri in the whole of New Zealand. Tane Mahuta (The Lord of the Forest) and Tane Matua Ngahere (The Father of the Forest) are the two largest kauri. There are walks leading to each, as well as more to explore this stunning forest, such as the Four Sisters (10 minutes one-way), The Yakas (1h20min return), and The Lookout Track (1-hour return).
Location: State Highway 12 just south of Omapere, Northland.
2. Puketi Forest and Omahuta Forest
Delve into the 6,070ha (15,000 acres) of the Puketi and Omahuta Forest in the heart of the Bay of Islands. You can choose between short walks, hikes and campsites in these forests, from the 10-minute Manginangina Loop Walk to the 2-day Waipapa River Track. The forests are rich in ecological diversity, dense in vegetation that will make you feel like you have stepped into the dinosaur era.
Location: Pungaere Road, Waipapa, Bay of Islands, Northland.
3. Coromandel Forest Park
Another area of New Zealand where you can marvel at the magnificent kauri is on the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel Forest Park, in particular, is home to a couple of fun walks, such as the Waiomu Kauri Grove (2h30mins return) and the Square Kauri Tree (20 minutes return). Just north of the forest park, Waiau Kauri Grove Lookout Walk (30 minutes return) is also worth checking out.
Location: Waiomu Kauri Grove – Waiomu Valley Road, Thames. Square Kauri – Tapu Coroglen Road, Tapu. Waiau Kauri – 309 Road, Coromandel Town, Waikato.
4. AH Reed Kauri Park
Just a walk or quick drive from Northland’s city hub, Whangarei, the AH Reed Kauri Park is one of the easiest places to get to see kauri. The park holds 500-year-old kauri trees, which you can see from the treetop canopy loop walk for a unique perspective. Find out how you can link this walk with others in the 12 Whangarei Walks You Can’t Miss.
Location: Whareora Road, Tikipunga, Whangarei, Northland.
5. Great Barrier Island
This off-shore island in the Auckland region was once a part of New Zealand’s kauri logging industry but still holds tracts of kauri forest to enjoy. For instance, walk the Bridle Track and Warren’s Creek Track (1 hour one way) to walk through a kauri plantation or over the boardwalk on the Bush’s Beach Track (30 minutes one way). Learn more about the walks in the 12 Best Hikes on Great Barrier Island.
Location: Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, Auckland. Find out how to get to Great Barrier Island.
6. Trounson Kauri Park
Along Northland’s Kauri Coast lies another spectacular kauri forest waiting to be discovered. The Trounson Kauri Park has a 40-minute loop walk taking in sights of towering kauri trees and much more. The forest is also home to the North Island brown kiwi which can be heard at night when camping in the Trounson Kauri Park campground.
Location: Trounson Park Road between the Waipoua Forest and Dargaville, Northland.
7. Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park
Getting as far south as you can go to see natural kauri trees in New Zealand, the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is home to another named kauri, Tuahu, the largest kauri tree in the Bay of Plenty. See it along the Tuahu Track (50mins return), which winds through native forest with younger kauri shoots (rickers) to be seen along the way.
Location: Hot Springs Road, Katikati, Bay of Plenty.
8. Tane Moana Walkway
See the largest kauri on the east coast of New Zealand, Tane Moana, again in the region of Northland. This giant tree can be found along the Te Moana Walkway on the Tutukaka Coast. The complete walk is 2 hours one-way or 4 hours return, taking you to Tane Moana which measures 11m (36ft) in circumference.
Location: Clements Road, Matapouri, Tutukaka Coast, Northland.
Seriously, on the South Island?! Well, this isn’t exactly a “kauri forest” but more like a random single kauri tree found in the city parks of Nelson. The kauri tree, planted in 1951, can be found on the Kauri Track from the Botanical Reserve on your way to the Centre of New Zealand, one of the 20 Best Short Walks on the South Island. Who knows, it might be a kauri forest one day, right?!
Location: Botanical Reserve, Nelson, Nelson Tasman.
[CLOSED] Herekino Forest
[Update: Herekino Forest walking trails are closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.]
This Northland forest close to Kaitaia is scattered with kauri stands making for some amazing bush walks. The forest can be accessed on walks from either Kaitaia or Ahipara, the most popular walk being the Kaitaia Walkway. The first part of the Kaitaia Walkway is a 20-minute return walk to a kauri grove or there’s the slightly more demanding 15-minute return track to a lookout. Alternatively, there is the 1h30min return tramping route taking you high onto a saddle for amazing views.
Location: Larmer Road, Kaitaia, Northland.