Trees in Waipoua Forest
© Northland Inc
Of all New Zealand’s kauri forests, none is more famous than the Waipoua Forest. As the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland, Waipoua is an ancient green world of huge trees and rare birds.
Driving the highway that runs right through the forest is a truly memorable experience, not only for the winding roads (a mecca for biking enthusiasts!) but also for the natural gateways created by huge kauri trees and the fringing of colourful ferns along the road’s edge.
A visitor centre and campsite along the river provides chalet-style accommodation, picnic areas and information on the well maintained walkways.
No visit to Waipoua Forest would be complete without paying respects to Tane Mahuta. This jaw-dropping giant is the largest living kauri in New Zealand. At over 2000 years old he is truly the ‘Lord of the Forest’. Not to be outdone the Father of the Forest, Te Matua Ngahere, is older and fatter but easily accessible along a 20 minute well-maintained walkway.
Other easy but equally stunning walks include The Four Sisters, showing their strength in numbers rather than girth, while the Yakkas Kauri, another giant of the forest has a boardwalk right up to its whale-skin trunk for serious tree huggers.
Local Maori guides also offer walks through the forest at night – a truly magical experience providing both a cultural and environmental understanding of this unique ecosystem.
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