Explore the land of the giants. Northland is famous for its giant Kauri trees, notably Tane Mahuta, New Zealands largest Kauri tree.
Surrounded by towering giants, the Puketi Forest is home to some of the largest Kauri trees in the Bay of Islands. Tane Mahuta on the West Coast is bigger but these Kauri’s are large and impressive all the same. The park offers a great selection of walks with The Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk one of the nicer ones. There’s a dense area of kauri on the loop track section of this walk, which definitely gives you the feeling of being in the land of the giants. The walk is easy; suitable for walkers of most abilities and ideal for those that have young children.
It’s a short drive from Kerikeri.
Puketi Road to Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk and return 1.5-2 hours
The first stage of this walk is across private farmland. Climb the stile and follow the marked poles across the paddocks to the footbridge, 5-10 minutes. The track crosses the Waihoanga River and winds through lush and dense forest. The first 30 minutes is on a well-formed graded track, with views of the Waihoanga gorge and waterfall. There’s a formidable looking kauri in the middle of the track. Go round the tree and from here the track climbs gently to a fork in the track. This is the start of the 35 minute loop track and the area of the densely populated kauri. Take the track to the right which climbs through tall kauri to reach the highest point of the loop track and a signposted junction. Take the track to the left which heads towards the Waihoanga River. This section is undulating and becomes more of a tramping track, which can be muddy and is rooty in places. The kauris are impressive and notably bigger in this area. The track eventually loops back to the main track, and then returns to the car. Other species of trees in this area include: Puriri, Taraire and Nikau.
Puketi Forest is easily accessible from the Bay of Islands. The Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk lies southwest of the Puketi Recreation Area, and is accessed from Puketi Road. From Kerikeri it’s a 20 minute drive, roughly 20 kilometres. Head southwest on Kerikeri Road for 3.2 kilometres. At the roundabout continue straight onto Wiroa Road, passing the Bay of Islands Airport for 10.7 kilometres. Turn right onto Waiare Road and follow for 5.6 kilometres, turn left onto Puketi Road and follow the road until you see the signs on right. It’s well signposted. Park on the grass verge on the side of the road.
From Okaihau, travel north along State Highway 1 for 6 km, turn right onto Puketi East Road. After 6 km look out on the left for the Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk sign.
What to Take
This is quite a short walk and most people would only need a drink bottle. However this is what I recommend you take:
- Food and drink
- Waterproof raincoat
- Sturdy footwear
- First Aid Kit
For more information on what to bring, check-out my blog on what to take hiking.
Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. In the summer tracks are dryer providing much firmer footing than wet muddy winter conditions. A fit walker will be able to walk this much quicker, please provide feed back if this time needs to be extended. I’ve graded this an easy walk with an average level of fitness required, great for families and kids. This track is well defined and well-marked, there are no stream or river crossings and the duration of this walk is less than 2 hours.
Have a great walk ?