A five minute walk from the roadside will bring you to the foot of Tane Mahuta, probably the largest tree you'll ever lay eyes upon.

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Of all New Zealand’s kauri forests, none is more famous than Waipoua Forest on the west coast north of Dargaville. As the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland, Waipoua is an ancient green world of huge trees and rare birds. The highway through the forest is memorable for the natural gateways created by huge kauri trees and the fringing of colourful ferns along the road's edge.

This forest is the home of Tane Mahuta, the country's largest kauri tree, which is approximately 2,000 years old and still growing. Nearly 18 metres to the first branch and 4.4 metres in diameter, Tane Mahuta is rightly called 'The Lord of the Forest'. Another significant tree in Waipoua Forest is Te Matua Ngahere – 'Father of the Forest' – which is estimated to be between 2,500 and 3,000 years old.

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Well-maintained short walking tracks provide easy access to the most spectacular attractions of Waipoua Forest, including Tane Mahuta, Te Matua Ngahere and the Yakas kauris. There are longer hiking tracks for those who want to venture deeper into the forest, especially into the high plateau and ranges.

For a truly unique experience, explore the kauri forest on a twilight tour with Footprints Waipoua. Your local Maori guide will take you on a journey to visit Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere. He'll teach you about the native flora and fauna, tell you spellbinding Maori legends of the forest, and sing enchanting Maori songs which convey the people's spiritual connection to nature.