While visiting the Bay of Islands, you have two main home-base options. Choose the thriving tourist center of Paihia as a jumping-off point for most cruises and outdoor activities—or the quaint, quieter seaside village of Russell. Here’s how to make the most of a 3-day stay.
Puketi Forest (Puketi Kauri Forest)
Sprawling across 51,000 acres (20,640 hectares) west of Kerikeri, Puketi Forest (Puketi Kauri Forest) is one of New Zealand’s remaining kauri rain forests. Get close to these giant native trees on the forest’s elevated boardwalks, or try one of the forest’s longer walks and discover some of the more than 360 indigenous plant species that call Puketi home.
Puketi Forest, New Zealand, 0476
Puketi is well known in Northland for its protected kauri forest; less than one percent of original kauri forest remains in New Zealand, and the Puketi kauri forest is especially dense and well preserved. You can explore the kauri cover from the forest’s boardwalks, designed to protect the sensitive kauri roots. The rest of the forest is covered with other native tree species, and there are plenty of native birds and animals living in the forest, including geckos, bats, and wood pigeon (kereru).
The forest is full of nature walks, ranging from easy strolls that run under an hour to multi-day hikes. Guided tours of the rain forest are a great way to learn more about the forest ecosystem. Mountain bikers can ride the forest’s old logging roads, but check with the Department of Conservation first to confirm which roads are accessible.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Puketi Rain Forest is ideal for nature lovers.
Campers must book the Puketi campsite or Department of Conservation hut in advance.
Even if the weather is warm, prepare for the cold: wear sturdy walking shoes and pack food, water, and warm, waterproof clothing.
The Puketi Nature Trail, around remnants of kauri rain forest, is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
You can enter the rain forest from a number of points, most of which are not signposted. A number of the trails in the area, including the Puketi Nature Trail, start at the Puketi Campsite and Recreation Area, which is about a 30-minute drive from nearby Kerikeri; just follow the Department of Conservation signs.
When to Get There
Puketi is at its best during the summer—the native birdlife is most active then, and night walks are not so chilly. However, that’s not to say Puketi is worse during the winter: Northland is a subtropical region, so is warm and sunny for most of the year.
See Puketi Rain Forest by Flashlight
Local operators offer guided twilight and evening walks of the rain forest. On these tours, you can spot glowworm clusters on the boardwalks and rare brown kiwi on the forest floor. The forest tracks are not designed for nonguided night walks; if you plan on exploring the forest by yourself at night, make sure to prepare for the dark and for cold temperatures.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Puketi Forest (Puketi Kauri Forest)?
What else should I know about attractions in Bay of Islands?