Lord of the Forest

Sometimes island flora and fauna has outstanding feature – gigantism. Unfortunately, we can’t met New Zealand 2 meter height ostriches, Moa and we can’t observe Haasta eagles nowadays but gigantic coniferous kauri trees in Waipoua forest near Dargaville are still available! Waipoua forest is located in three hours driving from Auckland which is just nothing comparing to the overall distance from New Zealand to rest of the world. The road through the forest passes by some splendid huge kauri trees. Turn off the road to Forest Lookout just after you enter the forest. It used to be a fire lookout and gives you spectacular views. But honestly, if you don’t have enough time I do recommend drive further, park a car on a carpark and go onto the track to meet gigants of the forest! Don’t forget to clean your shoes with a spray before and after entering the forest! Admittance is free, security donations are welcome to the car park ambassador.

Waipoua kauri sanctuary is not only kauri trees but feather-like ferns, sub-tropical rainforest and nocturnal kiwi bird! Several huge trees are easily accessible from the main track:


Named after a native Dalmation bushman and gum digger Nick Yakas. The Yakas Tree is the eighth largest kauri tree in New Zealand. Girth 12.29m, trunk volume 134.2m3, total height 43.9m, trunk height 12.04m. Track duration – 30minutes one way.

Have a look at these kauri scales and gum:

You can always see other plants and even trees on top of kauri branches:

There are very interesting on the ground level too:

Looks like this small one is infected. Kauri dieback disease have devastating effect on giants of the forest. Once kauri tree is infected it will die. There is no known treatment:

The Four Sisters

Close by Yakas there are Four Sisters, a collection of 4 tall kauri trees standing in close proximity:

Te Matua Ngahere

Or Father of the Forest, has a trunk over five metres in diameter, said to be the widest kauri tree in New Zealand. This massive tree is located in a short 10-minute walk from the main track. It is estimated to be between 1200 and 2000 years old or between 2000 and 3000 years old or even 4000 years old. It is claimed that Te Matua Ngahere may be the oldest tree in New Zealand, whilst there is a suggestion that it’s the oldest rainforest tree on earth.

As I said, Fater of the Forest has massive trunk but it’s not very tall – it suffered severe damage due to storm in July 2007 when the rata which was growing on top of it was fallen and took with it the central leader of Te Matua Ngahere plus several of its branches:

Tane Mahuta

If you go back to the car park and then follow the road one minute, you can see Tane Mahuta, or “Lord of the Forest”, the largest kauri in New Zealand. It located near to the road and is estimated to be over 2000 yo. Along with Te Matua Ngahere, Tāne Mahuta is the most famous tree in New Zealand. It was already known to Maori but was “discovered” and identified by Westerners in the 1920s when contractors surveyed the present State Highway 12 route through the forest.

There was remarkable atmosphere there – everyone who entered lookout was saying: Wow!..

52 metres Tane Mahuta tree is much higher than Te Matua Ngahere – but does not have the same impressive trunc despite its cubic volume is even greater:

It seems to me, last time when we were visiting Waipoua forest we saw a sign to Phantom Tree located in the depths of the forest, which is believed to be the second largest kauri of New Zealand, but we failed to find it this time! May be that’s why they call it Phantom tree? I think we should go back here during the summer and do some walks – there is so much to explore! Anyone keen to join?

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
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