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
  • Stop kauri dieback and protect kauri
    • Kauri dieback disease is spread through soil.
    • Scrub soil off shoes and gear and check it's all removed before you go.
    • Use a cleaning station when you enter and leave.
    • Always stay on the track.

    How you can help save kauri


About this track


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

From the Puketi Recreation Area take the Pirau Road for approximately 9 km. Carry on along the Puketea Ridge Track.

There is a three-way intersection of the Puketea Ridge Track, the Lower Waipapa River Track and the Te Araroa Trail. Taking the Lower Waipapa River Track leads to the southern side of Puketi Forest and exits the forest at Forest Pools. Taking the Te Araroa Trail will exit the Omahuta Forest near the Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary.

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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