Visiting the Wairere Boulders is like stepping into a prehistoric world. Hundreds of fluted basalt blocks cluster together in a formation that stretches 1.8 km.
Around 2.8 million years ago, a volcano that once stood near Kaikohe poured a layer of basalt rock over the land. This rock was gradually eroded by rainfall, forming the Wairere Valley. As the water washed the soft clay under the basalt away, the layer broke up into huge boulders, up to 30 metres in diameter.
The unique fluting of the boulders was most likely caused by water running off and around the giant kauri trees in the area. As the rain poured down the branches of the trees and over the soil, it collected organic acids which, when they flowed onto the boulders, eroded ridges or 'runnels' in the rock - some 750 mm deep.
An easy, sheltered path leads over, around and under the boulders, offering dramatic views of the Wairere Valley. Walks range from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on which tracks you choose along the way.
To visit the Wairere Boulders, head to the end of McDonnell Road, 3km south of Horeke in the Hokianga.
The park is open during daylight hours year round, and entry fees apply.
For more information visit www.wairereboulders.co.nz (opens in new window)