Of all New Zealand’s kauri forests, none is more famous than Waipoua Forest on the west coast, just north of Dargaville. As the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland, Waipoua is an ancient green world of towering 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 Tāne 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, Tāne 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.
For a truly unique experience, explore the kauri forest on a twilight tour with Footprints Waipoua. Your local Māori guide will take you on a journey to visit Tāne Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere. He'll teach you about the native flora and fauna, tell you spellbinding Māori legends of the forest, and sing enchanting Māori songs that convey the people's spiritual connection to nature.