Bay of Islands nature walks
Nature and Walking
Giant kauri tree forests, gentle rambles alongside waterfalls, spectacular day walks along clifftop overlooking the Islands and Pacific Ocean. For lovers of nature and a good walk, Bay of Islands and surrounds have conservation areas and walking tracks to suit all ages and levels of fitness. Kerikeri town itself boasts 5 waterfalls within a short distance of the historic Kororipo Heritage Park! Here’s a selection of our favourites. For a comprehensive list and information and maps for the more challenging tracks, head on over to the Department of Recreation’s Tracks and Walks site.
Image below: Waiwere Waterfall; Wairoa Stream walking track.
Forest & Nature Walks
Whilst there are guided tours (and the especially popular dusk and night tours) the famous Puketi Forest are less than 20 minutes from our villa and can be enjoyed at any time. For lovers of flora and fauna, the forest present a wonderful array of native plant species, as well as being home to many rare species of native birds. The one hour round trip Nature Trail is highly recommended or equally outstanding is the 15 minute boardwalk at Manginangina Kauri Walk, which has easy access for all ages.
Only a short drive further are the amazing Wairere Boulders; huge outcrops of basalt avaflow boulders carved into astonishing shapes over millions of years, and now covered in sub tropical palm ansd fern forest. There are walks from 1 to several hours with track and bridges carefully created to experience the best of this nature park.
Up until recently, the 2 waterfalls that are best known in Kerikeri are Rainbow Falls (Waianiwaniwa) and Wharepuke falls. Both are located along a gentle track leading from the historic Kororipo Heritage Park, and take about 1 hour to walk. The beautiful track passes an historic pump station that powered an early hydro-electric station, under a canopy of native trees and passing along the Kerikeri River.
More recently a second track leading from the other side of the park was opened after several years of hard work from one of our local environmental groups. The ‘Secret’ and ‘Te Wairere’ falls had been hidden in the forests and remembered only to locals until town developed locked access.
Along with ‘Charlie’s Rock’ – a local swimming hole very popular with kids -they make up our 5 waterfalls, all easily access through walking track leading from the town’s historic past. Visit the Kerikeri Five Waterfalls web site for interactive maps and further information.
Walks further afield
A little further north of Kerikeri lies Opito Bay. From here, Ake Ake walking track takes in an historic Pa (Maori fortification), and the stunning lookout across the Bay of Islands towards Russell at Tareha Point lookout.
The drive out to Opito Bay passes many hidden homes clinging to the clifftops overlooking the Kerikeri and Te Puna inlets. Among the undulating hills, you’ll find Doves Bay where locals moor their boats at the marina, and the modest beach at the end is popular with boaties and jetski enthusists.
Further to the north around Whangaroa Harbour there are more challenging clifftop walking tracks such as the well known Dukes Nose. For more details visit the Department of Conservation.
Moon Gate Villa is perfectly located to access inland Kauri forest walks, Hokianga Harbour, coastal walks and natural attractions.