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Kauri Museum
Kauri Museum

Kauri Museum

5 Church Road, RD 1, Matakohe, Northland, New Zealand

The Basics

Located in the sleepy Northland settlement of Matakohe, the Kauri Museum is dedicated to the history of Northland’s 19th-century settlers and the native goliaths that they used to make a new life here. The museum’s 10 galleries host a wide variety of exhibits, from life-sized model displays showing what life would have been like for settlers in the 1800s to large and rare collections of fossilised kauri and polished kauri gum.

Outside the galleries are several heritage buildings and hands-on experiences. Explore the post office and school, and walk around the well-preserved Totara House villa, each a portal to the past. You can also visit the site’s steam-powered sawmill and see how settlers logged kauri. The museum is also home to the world’s largest slab of kauri, measuring a whopping 74 feet (22.5 meters) in length!

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Kauri Museum is ideal for heritage buffs, nature lovers, and tree huggers.

  • There are two guided museum tours daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Alternatively, download the museum’s mobile app, which comes with an audio guide.

  • Pick up all sorts of souvenirs, including Maori art and rare kauri gum, at the gift shop.

  • There is no café on the museum premises, but the Gumdigger Café across the road is usually open during museum hours.

  • Much of the museum is accessible to wheelchair users, and the museum has loaner wheelchairs available.

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How to Get There

The Kauri Museum is in Matakohe, about a 2-hour drive north of Auckland on State Highways 1 and 12; turn off at Brynderwyn. If you’re coming from Whangarei in the north, follow State Highway 1 or 14. These drives can take anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes.

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When to Get There

The Kauri Museum is open from 9am to 5pm daily and is busiest on weekends; visit on a weekday or early on a weekend morning to avoid the crowds. The museum runs various events each year, including school holiday programs and a Settlers Day with activities and live on-site demonstrations. Matakohe is ideal in summer, when the conditions are perfect for exploring the Northland beaches and forests.

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Stay a Little Longer in Matakohe

Matakohe might be a small town, but there’s plenty to do in and around town. The historic Coates Memorial Church, a memorial to New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Gordon Joseph Coates, is a short walk from the museum. Matakohe also has a range of other heritage buildings, and around the town there are nature walks, beaches, and more.

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