2000 year-old sentinels of the forest
For a relatively young country such as New Zealand, a stark reminder of its ancient history is the Kauri tree – a ‘not to be missed’ icon of the north. Growing to massive proportions, a lifetime can span 20 centuries or more.
Waipoua Kauri Forest is the home of Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest (with a trunk diameter of 4.4 metres and height of 18 metres to the first branch, second only in size to the biggest Californian redwoods) and the even older but shorter Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest).
All roads on Northland’s Twin Coast Discovery Highway lead to the homes of this iconic giant of the forest including the AH Reed Kauri Park in Whangarei and Puketi Forest (inland from Kerikeri), but for awe-inspiring grandeur, the Waipoua Kauri Forest and nearby Trounson Kauri Park on the Kauri Coast are essential stops.
The whole region was once covered in spectacular and grand forests. Further insights into the human relationship – the intense hardship of the early gum diggers and forest workers, can be found at the fascinating Kauri Museum at Matakohe, (1 ½ hours drive north of Auckland, website: www.kau.nz ).
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