Discovering New Zealand’s Lord of the Forest

New Zealand has a justifiable reputation for being a land of great beauty.  One of the reasons why New Zealand is relatively unspoilt is that it was free from intervention until relatively recently.

The first humans to set foot on new Zealand were the Polynesian predecessors of the Maori, who arrived in New Zealand sometime around 1000AD; and they named the land Aetearoa.

Remnants of the original forests still exits and New Zealand tour operator Fullers GreatSights has a tour departing Auckland which allows you to experience those ancient forests for yourself, and to see a part of the North Island that is pretty much like it was just after white settlement.

The Discover Hokianga and Tane Mahuta Tour is a full day event during which you journey back to an era of horse ‘n’ cart, a time when kauri logging and gum digging were the main industries, and the region was being settled by missionaries and the first Europeans. From Paihia to Hokianga you travel the path of many before you, along the original stagecoach route. A trail marked out by early Maori and then frequented by traders and merchants who transported supplies, kauri, gum and timber between the coasts during the 19th and 20th centuries.

You also have the opportunity to uncover 2.8 million year old geological rock formations as you wind along the walkways of the unique Wairere Boulder Valley. View thousands of massive basalt boulders, some over 30m high.  This is a one off being the only valley in the entire world which is formed by basalt boulders sitting on a clay base.  The fluting, which looks much like piped icing on a cake, is the result of chemical leaching by acids generated by the Kauri forests that used to exist in the area.

Then, from the stories and culture of your local Maori guide, you are taken back to the days of Kupe, who is believed to be the first voyager and Maori to discover New Zealand over 1,000 years ago.  Your Maori guide will leave you with a unique and in-depth understanding of the many myths and legends of the local hapu (sub-tribe).    

Finally, visit the Waipoua Kauri Forest which provides a natural stage for an unforgettable encounter with some of the largest remaining kauri trees in the world. 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.

Meet a national icon, the mighty Tane Mahuta, which is considered to be the Lord of the Forest, the largest known kauri tree in the world. Estimated to be 2,000 years old his mighty girth is over 13 metres and he stands an impressive 51 metres tall.  The forests of Waipoua are vitally important refuges for threatened wildlife. The endangered North Island kokako is found in the high, wet plateau country, but the small population is vulnerable to predation, and competition with possums and rats. Seen in abundance, though, is the NZ pigeon (or kukupa) which plays a vital role spreading the seeds of many plants.

This full day tour introduces you to remnants of New Zealand as it used to be, and will give you a great appreciation for both the land and the people who settled it.

1 comment to Discovering New Zealand’s Lord of the Forest

  • Hey there Grumpy! I did like your article about the Waipoua Forest.
    You could encourage readers to take this less traveled route. Check out our website for information about this extraordinary ‘hidden gem’ of NZ:

    Batten down your hatches and have a great day.
    Ka kite ano,
    Candy and Rawiri

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