The forests of Waipoua are the garden of Tane Mahuta. Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland. Most of Northland’s ancient forest cover has been lost to saw and fire, plundered for the precious timber of the kauri tree or cleared for farmland. However the forests are now under the protection of the Department of Conservation.
The drive on SH12 winds through magnificent stands of tall kauri, rimu and northern rata, and offers extensive views in a few places.
Good walking tracks give easy access to the most spectacular attractions of the forest: the giant trees Tane Mahuta, Te Matua Ngahere and Yakas. A few tramping tracks and routes are also available for those who wish to venture deeper into the forest, especially in the high plateau and ranges.