Waipoua Forest, Giant Kauri Trees, Waimamaku Village
This trip starts at Opononi or Omapere.
Travel west on SH 12, through Omapere and over Pakia Hill. Continue on through Waimamaku and then over the hill and into the Waipoua Forest.
Soon you will see the signs to Tane Mahuta, parking spaces on the side of the road and the pie cart. This kauri, which is the tallest of the kauri trees and arguably the most spectacular (you be the judge), is only 3 minutes from the road.
Drive on another kilometre until you see a sign “Kauri Walks”. Park off the road here. Note that there is usually a DoC (Department of Conservation) employee in a car who keeps an eye on the parked cars and who will accept a $2 coin for the service.
The walk to the Four Sisters takes about 10 minutes each way. This is a group of four kauri trees that have grown close together, although they are of different ages. A further 10 minutes walk will take you to Te Matua Ngahere, the grandfather of them all.
Branching off that track is a track to the Yakas tree. If you have the time (40mins – 1 hr) this is an excellent walk.
The whole walk is through mostly original forest. Many of the kauri trees could be over 1000 years old. The well maintained tracks are suitable for wheel chairs.
Back at the car park, head north and back to Waimamaku, which was originally a timber mill town. Later it had a thriving butter factory. The factory building is next to the Resource Centre and is now the home of Morrell’s Café. If you have developed an appetite with all that walking, they can fix it for you.
Back up the road about 100 metres is the Waimamaku Garage, a reminder of how things used to be, including some venerable vehicles.
Return to Opononi by SH12, or if you want more turn up Waiotemarama Gorge Road (see Itinerary S1) and return via Pakanae.