Ancient Living Forests

Walk among the giants

In Māori mythology Tane Mahuta was the god of the forest; the eldest and strongest son of Ranginui ‘Sky Father’ and Papatuanuku ‘Earth Mother’. Legend has it that Tane Mahuta, desperate to let daylight into the universe, pushed his father and mother apart with his powerful legs, forcing Ranginui to the heavens and flooding the world with bright light. Whenever it rains, a heartbroken Ranginui is crying for his beloved, Papatuanuku.

When you stand before the ancient Kauri trees you are in the presence of living entities that were mature trees before any human came to these shores. Explore these ancient living forests...

★ Recommended

Waipoua Forest

Unforgettable guided night tours / Explore by day

On the Kauri Coast, this forest is home to the best preserved and largest of the remaining kauri forests in New Zealand.

Waipoua is the domain of Tane Mahuta (‘Lord of the Forest’), who at 51.5 metres in height is the largest of these ancient trees. Native bush tracks lead to three unique kauri walks - ‘The Yakas’, the ‘Four Sisters’ and ‘Te Matua Ngahere’.

Department of Conservation Guided Walks
More on Puketi Forest
Puketi Forest

Puketi contains magnificent stands of kauri and a rich ecological diversity. Forest huts, cabins and camping facilities available. Guided day/night walks recommended (AdventurePuketi©) Read more

More on AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park
AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park

Just minutes from the centre of Whangārei, a tree-top canopy walk offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of 500 year old kauri and other native trees. Read more

More on Trounson Kauri Park
Trounson Kauri Park

A mainland ‘island’ of kauri forest and native wildlife, well worth the 40-minute forest walk. Guided night walks offer a chance to encounter kiwi in their habitat. Read more

More on Tane Moana Walkway
Tane Moana Walkway

From Matapouri, near Tutukaka, this walkway takes you to Tane Moana, the largest kauri tree on the east coast, which measures over 11 metres in circumference. (SteveShattuck©) Read more

★ Family Fun

Kauri Museum & Gumdiggers Park

→ The award winning Kauri museum in Matakohe (pictured) offers a fascinating insight into the history of the kauri tree, its timber, gum, and the early pioneers to the region.

→ Just north of Kaitaia is an authentic kauri gum digging site, where 40,000 to 150,000 year-old buried kauri forests have been uncovered. At Gumdiggers Park, the site includes an authentic preserved 100-year-old gum field and re-created gumdiggers’ village with huts made in the traditional way.

The Kauri Museum Gumdiggers Park

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