Tane Mahuta Track

Easy access track Easy access track


5 min one way


200 m

Getting there

The Tane Mahuta Track is sign posted from State Highway 12, which runs through the Waipoua Forest Conservation Estate.  The southern township of Dargaville is 65 km away and the northern township of Omapere is 18km.

The road widens at the Tane Mahuta car park to accommodate visitor vehicles. There is a nice picnic area, and toilets are located 5 metres back from the car park.  The walk begins from the highway car park, over a pedestrian bridge to a track intersection.  At this point, a track direction marker indicates a one-way system.

About the area

Looking up into the crown of Tane Mahuta. Photo: Juliette Pallies.

Waipoua Forest

Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland.

This includes links to other tracks in the area.


Kauri "Tane Mahuta", Waipoua Kauri Forest. Photo: Les Molloy.
Kauri "Tane Mahuta", Waipoua Kauri


Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) is New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree.  It is thought this tree was discovered and identified in the 1920’s when contracted surveyors surveyed the present road State Highway 12 through the forest.  In 1928 Nicholas Yakas and other Bushmen, which were building the road, also identified the big tree Tane Mahuta.

According to Maori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother.  Tane was the child that tore his parent’s parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have here today.  All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tane’s children.


Trunk Girth  13.77 m
Trunk Height  17.68 m
Total Height  51.2 m
Trunk Volume  244.5 m3

Track description

This short track leads you under cooling shade of the forest canopy to the majestic Tane Mahuta. Not far into your leisurely amble, a sweeping corner of the track suddenly brings you face to face with the ‘Lord of the Forest’. When you catch your first breath-taking view of this magnificent tree, you feel compelled to pause for a while. You can almost feel Tane Mahuta’s strength and ancient presence, and its overwhelming size makes visitors look like dwarfs. 

Kauri "Tane Mahuta", Waipoua Kauri Forest. Photo: DOC.
Kauri "Tane Mahuta", Waipoua Kauri

There is a wooden fence and a seat to view the tree.  To get a closer look at Tane Mahuta, you can move further along the track to a platform ramp, which then leads to the viewing platform. There is an interpretation sign located to the left of the platform giving information and the status of the tree.  A ramp leads off the viewing platform and the track continues back to the highway.  After a short walk, you reach the track intersection where a direction marker post takes you back out to the car park.

It is very important that you keep to the walking track at all times. The kauri tree has very sensitive surface roots, and foot traffic around the tree endangers their life span.


Flora and fauna Flora and fauna

Places to stay

The Waipoua campground is located close to the Waipoua River.

Waipoua Forest camping area

This is a serviced campground in the Kauri Coast area.

Waipoua cabins.

Waipoua Forest Cabins

These basic cabins are close to the heart of the magnificent Waipoua Forest.

Plan and prepare

  • Please note that there is no general store, fuel bowser or supermarket in Waipoua Forest.
  • Nearest petrol station south is Kaihu, 28 km, and Waimamaku north, 20 km.
  • Nearest toilets are located at the Waipoua Forest Visitor Centre.
  • In strong winds, please beware of falling branches.
  • Times shown are for a one way journey only, unless otherwise shown.  If the return journey is more than 1 hour, food, drink, warm clothes and wet weather gear should be carried.
  • On extended bush walks a compass and topographical map are recommended.  Topographical maps can be obtained from Land Information New Zealand www.linz.govt.nz and DOC Visitor Centres.
  • Access to some tracks is by courtesy of the owners, please respect the owner’s property and privacy.
  • Streams can be uncrossable after heavy rain and should not be attempted.
  • Some tracks require timings for tidal changes and weather conditions are changeable always keep to the side of caution.  A good website to check in preparation is Metservice weather  www.metservice.co.nz
  • Dogs are not allowed on conservation estates.

What to expect on an easy access track:

  • Easy walking for up to an hour
  • Even surface, well formed with no steps or steep sections
  • Suits people of all abilities, wheelchairs, buggies and strollers
  • Streams and rivers are bridged
  • Walking shoes required

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New Zealand topographic maps are available from DOC Visitor Centres

Information Trounson Kauri Park

Find out more about kauri

Waipoua Forest Trust www.waipoua.org.nz

Safety information

Always contact the nearest visitor centre for the latest information about facilities and conditions.

Tips for driving on unsealed roads

Kauri Coast Area Office
Phone:      +64 9 439 3011
Full office details

Waipoua Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 9 439 3011
Address:   Waipoua Forest
SH 12
RD 6
Dargaville 0376
Email:   waipouavc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details