The Waipapa River Track is a scenic two-day tramp that follows the Waipapa River through the heart of Puketi Forest. The tramp is only recommended for experienced and well-equipped trampers.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

2 days Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

Dogs with a DOC permit for recreational hunting or management purposes only
  • Help stop kauri dieback
    • Stay away from kauri tree roots.
    • Clean your footwear and gear before and after visiting kauri forest.

    How you can help save kauri

About this track


This is a scenic tramp from Puketi Recreation Area to Forest Pools. It follows the Waipapa River through the heart of Puketi Forest and passes through regenerating shrub land, podacarp hardwood forest, and mature kauri stands.

From the Puketi Recreation Area the track descends down to the river for several kilometres. There are three river crossings before you reach Camp Creek. This is a small camp under bush canopy. Note, no fires are permitted. Do not attempt to cross the rivers when in flood.

From there, return upstream 500 metres to pick up the Walnut Track and carry on up Pirau Road to take the Puketea Ridge Track, which eventually runs back down to the Waipapa River Track emerging at Forest Pools.

Note: Due to changes in the depth and course of the river in 2006, the middle section of the Waipapa River Track has been diverted away from the Waipapa River (via the Walnut and Puketea Ridge Tracks).

10,000 Steps Northland: This track equates to about 26,666 steps.

Getting there

The Waipapa River Track is in Puketi Kauri Forest. If travelling south on State Highway 10, the forest is signposted 2.4 km south of Kaeo. If driving north on State Highway 10, 1 km north of Waipapa, turn left onto Pungaere Road and follow it for 16 km.

At the T-intersection, turn left, follow the road for about 2 km. Turn right into the Puketi Recreational Area. The Waipapa River Track starts from the Puketi Forest Headquarters near the information sign. It can also be accessed from the Forest Pools Picnic Area, as well as from the link tracks leading from the Pirau and Mokau Ridge Roads.

Know before you go

  • Do not attempt the Waipapa River Track during heavy rain.
  • There are numerous river crossings in the upper sections of the track. You will need a good standard of fitness and you should be prepared to get wet.
  • The track is best walked in summer.
  • It is advisable to carry a topographical map.
  • Be aware that you are at risk of becoming hypothermic in winter.
  • Do not leave cars at Forest Pools overnight, as there is a risk of theft.
  • You may wish to boil streamwater before drinking.
  • Take care driving on the area's unsealed roads.
  • No fires due to the risks to wildlife


Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands Office
Phone:   +64 9 407 0300
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   34 Landing Road
Kerikeri 0230
Postal Address:   PO Box 128
Kerikeri 0245
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