Where to See Kauri in Northland
New Zealand is famous for its wealth of lush native forest which covers about 26% of New Zealand. However, some of the most mesmerising forests can be found in the Northland region of the North Island thanks to its remaining stands of kauri. Kauri are New Zealand’s largest and oldest trees, where some trees are even believed to have been a sapling during the bronze-age, some 3,000 years ago! While kauri are a breathtaking sight to see themselves, the diverse and wild vegetation around the kauri are another thing to be awed by. With all that in mind, if you want to see these tremendous living entities, visit the kauri forests in Northland listed below.
Still don’t get what all the fuss is about? Check out Why is New Zealand so Fascinated with Kauri?
1. Waipoua Forest
Let’s start with some of 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 in New Zealand. There are walks leading to each of these forest giants, taking only 5 to 20 minutes to complete one-way. There are a lot more walks to explore this stunning forest and its kauri, such as the Four Sisters (10 minutes one-way), The Yakas (1h20min return), and The Lookout Track (1-hour return).
Location: The Waipoua Forest and its walks are accessed off State Highway 12 just south of the Hokianga Harbour on the Kauri Coast. Cultural guided tours are available with transport to the forest.
2. Trounson Kauri Park
Further down the 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 North Island brown kiwi population which are heard at night when camping in the Trounson Kauri Park campground. Go on the loop walk at night and you will also see glowworms!
Location: Trounson Park Road off State Highway 12 between the Waipoua Forest and Dargaville.
3. 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, a popular walk being the 10-minute Manginangina Loop Walk. 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 just off State Highway 10, about 600m north of Waipapa.
4. Tane Moana Walkway
See the largest kauri on the east coast of New Zealand, Tane Moana. 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. Find out more things to do on the Tutukaka Coast here.
Location: End of Clements Road just outside of Matapouri, Tutukaka Coast.
5. AH Reed Kauri Park
Just a walk or quick drive from the city centre of Whangarei, the AH Reed Kauri Park holds 500-year-old kauri trees. Take the treetop canopy loop walk for a different perspective of these forest giants. Find out how you can link this walk with others in Whangarei in our 12 Whangarei Walks You Can’t Miss.
Location: Whareora Road, Tikipunga, Whangarei.
6. Buried Kauri Forest
Kauri can not only be found growing on the ground, but also under the ground. Just north of Kaitaia is a buried kauri forest that was buried over thousands of years. The kauri found here are 40,000-150,000 years old. See them for yourself at the Gumdiggers Park and learn about how people used to dig for kauri gum from these buried forests more than 100 years ago. Also taken from the buried kauri forests are kauri used to carve furniture and sculptures at the Awanui Kauri Kingdom. See what else you can do in the area in 5 Kick-Ass Things to Do in Kaitaia.
Location: Awanui, 8.4km (5 miles) north of Kaitai on State Highway 1.
[CLOSED] Herekino Forest
[Update: Herekino Forest walking trails are closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.]
This forest close to Kaitaia is scattered with kauri stands making for some amazing bushwalks. 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, which is the easiest option. There’s the slightly more demanding 15-minute return track option taking you to a lookout. Alternatively, there is the 1h30min return tramping route taking you high onto a saddle for more amazing views as you hike across Diggers Valley.
Location: 3km (2 miles) south of Kaitaia. Start the hike from the car park at the end of Larmer Road.
8. The Kauri Museum
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a kauri forest, but if you are interesting the kauri logging history that shaped almost the entire Northland region, then don’t miss the Kauri Museum. This museum is huge (just like a kauri) so don’t underestimate the number of things to see here! For more places to see kauri, check out the 10 Best Kauri Forests in New Zealand.
Location: 45km (28 miles) south of Dargaville just off State Highway 12. On Church Road.