You can visit Puketi to walk in the forest, enjoy its breathtaking scenery, watch birds and see the magnificent kauri trees.

Waipapa River walk, Puketi Forest

Puketi Forest, along with Omahuta Forest, forms one of the largest contiguous tracts of native forest in New Zealand’s Northland. Puketi is easily accessible from the Bay of Islands and Hokianga Harbour. Access to the recreation facilities can be reached from State Highway 1 or the network of secondary roads that skirt the forest.


There is a camping ground at the Puketi Recreation Area off Waiare Road, an ideal base from which to explore the attractions in the forest. A 24-bunk trampers hut and cabins at the Puketi Recreation Area are available for public use. Bookings are essential through the Department of Conservation Bay of Islands Office in Kerikeri.

Mountain Biking

The old logging roads within the forest are suitable for adventurous mountain biking. Biking is permitted on Pirau Ridge and Mokau Roads only.

Please check for up to date track information at the Department of Conservation Bay of Islands Area Office, Landing Road, Kerikeri.


Puketi and Omahuta Forests are home to magnificent stands of kauri, which are threatened by the recently discovered kauri dieback disease. There are infected trees near the old Omahuta Forest headquarters site at the intersection of Omahuta Forest Road and Takeketiti Road, but Puketi Forest is believed to be free of the disease. Please help to keep it that way. The dieback organism is spread in soil and the risk of introducing it on boots and equipment is high. For that reason the Department of Conservation has closed several walking tracks in the forest. Other tracks with higher visitor numbers have been upgraded to reduce the risk and remain open.

The tracks that are open as of 10 July 2019 are described below and shown on the map.

You should contact the Department’s Bay of Islands Area Office in Landing Road, Kerikeri (phone 09 407 0300) to confirm that tracks are open and to get up to date information on track conditions before visiting the forest.

Please comply with signs and notices, ensure that all boots and equipment are clean of soil before entering the forest, use the hygiene stations when entering and leaving, and stay on the track.

Topographical maps (scale 1:50,000) are recommended for the more challenging tracks and routes. Puketi Forest is covered by Topographical Map 260-P05 “Kaikohe”, published by Land Information New Zealand and available from many booksellers, tourist information sites and Department of Conservation offices, or online from

Map of hiking tracks in Puketi-Omahuta Forest
Name Length/Time Description & Level of Difficulty
Manginangina Kauri Walk Length: 350 m

Time: 15 minute loop track

Description: Interpretive panels assist with the understanding and enjoyment of a mature stand of kauri, swamp forest and associated vegetation.

Access: via Pungaere Road from SH 10, Waipapa.

Grade: Easy and well formed path suitable for wheelchairs (boardwalk).

Puketi Nature Trail Length: 1.6km loop track

Time: 1 hr return

Description: This easy wander begins at the Puketi Recreation Area. Many of the plants are named.

Access: Puketi Recreation Area.

Grade: Easy and well formed walking track.

Pirau Ridge Road Length: 11 km

Time: 4 hrs one way

Description: An old logging road providing walking or mountain biking opportunities between the Puketi Recreation Area and the start of the Pukatea Ridge Track.

Grade: Easy and well formed walking track (mountain biking available as well).

Watch out for DoC rangers’ and contractors’ vehicles using this road while working in the forest.

Pukatea Ridge Route Length: 3.8 km

Time: 2 hrs one way

Description: This route follows down Pukatea Ridge to connect with the Waipapa River Track.

Access: From Pirau Ridge Road.

Grade: Requires a high degree of skill and experience and route-finding ability. Suitable for well equipped trampers with topographical maps.

Lower Waipapa River Track Length: 8 km

Time: 4 hrs one way

Description: The Waipapa River Track follows the left bank of the river upstream from Forest Pools picnic area to the foot of Pukatea Ridge. The upstream section of this track, Pukatea Ridge and Pirau Road form part of the Te Araroa Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

The lower section of this track follows an old road formation that was intended to be a road from Hokianga to Kaeo but was abandoned in a partly constructed state in the 1930s. There are remains of wooden bridges on some of the side streams.

A long day-walk can be made from the Puketi Recreation Area to Forest Pools on Pirau Road, Pukatea Ridge and the Lower Waipapa River Track. In good weather during summer when the river is low, parts of the route can be walked in the river.

Do not attempt the Waipapa River Track during heavy rain or if rain is forecast.

Do not leave cars at Forest Pools over night due to the risk of theft.

Access: Forest Pools Picnic Area.

Grade: Requires a high degree of skill and experience and route-finding ability. Suitable for well equipped trampers with topographical maps.

Omahuta Forest:
Please drive carefully on the Omahuta Sanctuary Road – it is very narrow in places.
Kauri Stump Walk Description: A two minute easy path to the stump and head of one of the largest kauri ever felled in the forest.

Grade: Easy and well formed walking track.