Located in the Waikato region
The Hakarimata Scenic Reserve is located 17 km north-west of Hamilton, near Ngaruawahia. It is a great place to enjoy a walk or tramp through native bush, including kauri, in close proximity to Hamilton.
There are three access points to the reserve: off Waingaro Road to the south, from Brownlee Avenue at Ngaruawahia, and from Parker Road at the northern end.
The Hakarimata Range is one of a succession of ranges running north to south and forming the western rampart of the Waikato Basin. Sandstone, siltstone and greywacke which have been stongly folded, faulted and overlain by sedimenatry rocks form the Hakarimata Range and adjacent land.
These rocks have productive coal measures at their base and the land to the north and west of the range is one of New Zealand's major coal producing areas.
Hakarimata is a special place in the Waikato. It is dominated by lowland forest types (broadleaf-podocarp species) and also lies in a transition zone between northern kauri forest and southern beech forest. It has plants and animals of all three forest types, making it highly diverse.
It is also the largest remaining example of lowland forest that once dominated the Waikato Basin. Most lowland forest was converted to pasture for agriculture and now only exists in small fragments.
Large rata and rimu can occasionally be seen along the crest and ridges of the Hakarimata Range, towering over the canopy of tawa, kohekohe, hinau, rewarewa, mangeao and pukatea. There are also pockets of miro, Hall’s totara and tanekaha.
The large kauri seen on the Kauri Loop Track is of special interest as kauri of this size (7 metre girth) are rare in the Waikato area.
The reserve also contains a number of threatened plants including the strongly scente daphne Alseuosmia hakarimata or topara.
As well as the more common forest birds such as tui, kereru, fantail and shining cuckoo, there are nationally threatened New Zealand falcon/karearea, long-tailed bat/pekapeka, skinks and geckos.
The reserve also contains over 122 different species of native land snail and the ancient peripatus.
Many streams flow off the ranges and provide important habitat for at least 16 species of native fish including short and longfinned eels and whitebait
Since the land was reserved (1,850 hectares) the fringe areas and lower slopes have slowly regenerated after a history of light logging and fires.
Introduced possums, goats and pigs cause significant damage to the reserve's vegetation. Birds suffer too, through the loss of food plants and predation by rats and mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets).
Due to the presence of kauri in this reserve, kauri dieback disease is a potential and serious threat.