Northland

Northland

The Northland Forests - OPEN

Note: Possum control is often undertaken in these forests and can involve cyanide bait laid directly onto trees. Avoid touching this and if you do accidentally, clean your hands thoroughly before preparing food.
Northern Start
Boat ramp, Kaka St, Ahipara
Southern End
Puketi Recreation Centre, Waiare Rd
Distance
98km
Time
4-5 days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Potential Hazards
  • Vehicles on road or track Take care walking on roads, particularly SH1
  • Poisons & traps
  • Forestry operations Take care between Diggers Valley Rd and Waiotehue Rd
  • River canyons - flash floods. Use bypass in times of heavy rain
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Small stream crossings
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources - carry plenty of water, refill whenever you can.
  • Bush track can get muddy and slippery - take care.
Description
(North to South)

From the boat ramp on Ninety Mile Beach, head up Kaka St, turn right into Takahe Rd, right into Foreshore Rd, left into Roma Rd, right onto Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd then walk approx. 4.5km (past Pukeko Pa) to the start of the Herekino Forest Track on the left/east side of Herekino Saddle.


Herekino Forest Track - 15km / 8hr
 
Walkers should aim to get through Herekino Forest in one day, and to achieve that (in good conditions) look to set out from Ahipara no later than 10am. This would see you exiting herekino Forest approx. 6pm - note, in good conditions.
 
Adjacent to the road, there is a cleaning station - please give your boots a thorough clean, removing all mud - this helps prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
The track climbs steeply for the first kilometre through mixed bush with views to Te Oneroa O Tohe - Ninety Mile Beach. At 300 metres the track opens on to low scrub, bracken and orchids. Listen here for the distinctive u-tick calls of fernbirds.

A high ridge allows glimpses northward across the Aupouri Peninsula before a descent to the first large kauri. The track picks up an easy ridgeline then turns at right-angles down to the Rangiheke Stream and its rock pools. The stream is splash-through, but the cable strung side to side will help if the water is high.
Water: It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies to get you through to Takahue, as supplies en route may not always be clean.

The kauri grove, one of the largest groups of big kauri in the north, is about two hours in. The track emerges soon after on to an old forestry road then enters again into forest, passing disused logger huts and ascending Taumatamahoe.

A viewpoint on the way up gives a glimpse of Kaitaia, and the 558 metre summit of Taumatamahoe is the highest point en route. Cellphones work at the top, and are useful to time any pickup. The track’s steep, root-crossed descent, joins a farm track - Veza Road - and 100m from the end of the forest track is where you'll find the "Tramp'Inn" accommodation - look out for the sign.
Veza Rd leads to an exit on to Diggers Valley Road. This exit is distant from any settlement, and day walkers will need to have arranged transport back to town.
At the end of the track, there is another cleaning station - please give your boots a thorough clean, removing all mud, and a squirt of disinfectant - this helps prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
 
 
Takahue Route - 11.5km / 3-4hr
 
From the Herekino Forest Track exit on Diggers Valley Rd, follow the windy metal road south for approx. 1.2km to where a gated forestry road leaves Diggers Valley Rd east into forestry land. Follow the forestry tracks (with sporadic orange markers) 3.5km east to Waiotehue Rd. 
 
Take extreme care on the forestry tracks as some forestry activity is still taking place. As there is some heavy truck traffic on Diggers Valley Rd and in the forestry land, do not wear earphones through this section and wear a hi-viz vest or pack cover. Just before the final hill up to Waiotehue Rd, the track crosses a forded stream - this can rise quickly after rain and tends to pool around the ford. When the ford is flooded, it can be a little easier to cross 50-100m upstream. The track uphill can be muddy and slippery after logging traffic - do take care.
This stream is an ideal spot - for walkers heading in both directions - to give your footwear a clean between the Herekino and Raetea Forests - please take a couple of minutes to do this to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
 
Please do not camp or light fires through this short forestry section.
 
When at Waiotehue Rd, turn left/NE and follow the road into the small settlement of Takahue.
** Note that there can be a lot of logging traffic on Waiotehue Rd, which can be narrow in parts. We advise EXTREME CARE here, wear a hi-viz vest or pack cover and dont listen to headphones while walking this road. 
Turn SE on Takahue Saddle Rd for 2.5km alongside the Takahue River until the junction with Warner Rd.
 
 
Raetea Forest Track - 18km / 9.5hr
 
**This track has little or no water sources - the stream adjacent to Takahue Saddle Rd is the last reliable water source.
 
From the junction with Warner Rd, follow the old Takahue Saddle Rd (just a track now) as it turns away from the River ( **last chance to fill your water bottles until Mangamuka) and climbs steeply through farmland for 2km. At the saddle, turn off left/East into the Raetea Forest. It's a rough climb up to the ridge and on to a 580m peak. 
 
The Raetea Forest has some of the highest peaks in Northland, so expect cloud and rain. The bush track follows the ridge line on a largely west-east basis past:
  • The 744m Raetea summit 
  • An unnamed highpoint of 727m (past a junction with a track leading north on a route out to SH1)
  • The 638m Kumetewhiwhia summit
  • The 445m Umaumakaroro summit

The track then descends through bush and private farmland to Makene Rd, Mangamuka. The exit is into the yard of a house - they are used to walkers and happy to have you pass through - a hello and/or thank-you always goes down well. There are a number of working dogs here whose bark is literally worse than their bite. Walk steadily down the driveway and you'll be fine.

Walk NE to the junction with SH1. From the junction with SH1 & Makene Rd, keep following SH1 for 6.5km. This takes you through Mangamuka settlement and then south to Mangamuka Bridge. Turn east onto Omahuta Road and walk 5km to the junction with Jacksons Road & Omahuta Forest Roads. (This connection 13km / 3hr)


Omahuta Puketi Forest Track - 31km / 2 days
Omahuta Puketi Forest Track is a challenging, wet route using river canyons - subject to flash floods. You need good equipment and navigation skills. Only go in dry weather. 
 
Warning: Some beehives en route, poison and trapping for possums, rats and mustelids occurs within this forest. Goat control operations using contract hunters also occur within this forest.
 
For forest hygiene and visitor safety reasons it is requested that in Omahuta and Puketi Forests camping is restricted to the sites recommended by DOC - those being Apple Dam and Puketi Forest HQ (eastern edge of Puketi Forest). These sites have been identified for camping as they are away from kauri therefore reducing the risk of spreading kauri dieback disease and will be poison exclusion zones for possum control operations. Therefore please plan around using only these two sites.
 
From the junction, head east on well-formed single track forestry roads (vehicles are rare). 700m up Omahuta Forest Rd, continue straight ahead onto Kauri Sanctuary Rd. 
Keep travelling uphill for approx. another 6km past an airstrip on your left and occasional beehives tucked into the forest (just button up and walk gently past). The next major junction is where Kauri Pa Road runs off left. That’s the one to follow.
 
Detour to Apple Dam campsite: to camp, turn right into Kauri Sanctuary Road for 500m. A grassy 4WD track runs downhill on the left to a modest but pretty campsite with water tank/stream/dam and a long drop toilet. The kauri sanctuary is further down this same road. To avoid the spread of kauri dieback please do not camp around kauri. 

Back on route, continue along Kauri Pa Road a further 1km, then fork right onto Blackbridge Road (more 4WD track).

Follow along to cross a concrete ford over a stream (NB: if water is flowing over the top of it, do not proceed as this means water levels in the Mangapukahukahu gorge will be too dangerous). Then climb a further 1.5km until at the top of the climb, a 4WD track leads left along a soft  ridge leading down to Mangapukahukahu Stream. The track is easy to follow down, past two old forestry skid sites. At the second/lower one, a track goes through the pampas grass on the right-hand side. It leads to a rough track (with orange markers) down through trees to the Mangapukahukahu Stream.  

The stream is through a gorge and is subject to flash floods in heavy rain. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO FURTHER IF THERE IS HEAVY RAIN IN THE REGION.

As long as the weather is clear, walk SE criss-crossing between shoal banks in the stream for 2.5km until meeting up with the Waipapa River. Just before the junction between Mangapukahukahu and the Waipapa, keep a sharp eye out for a small track that will take you down to a shallower crossing point - immediately south (right) of the junction a track leads up the bank, and descends to a shoal where it is better to cross. It will be deep if you try and cross at the junction! 

Take a lot of care and allow plenty of time when walking between the intersection of the Mangapukahukahu Stream and the bottom of the Pukatea Ridge Track, as it can be very slippery particularly after rain.

A short but very muddy climb up the bank meets up with the Lower Waipapa River Track. While parts are very rough, it is well-marked. Walk 2.5km NE to the streamside junction with the Pukatea Ridge Track. (The alternative is to try wading between shoal banks in/out of the Waipapa River but there are some deep sections).  

The Pukatea Ridge Track climbs steeply and then on up the ridge through young kauri for 3.5km to meet the Takapau Track.

From the junction of Pukatea Ridge & Takapau Tracks, head NE for 300m to the junction with Walnut Track & Pirau Ridge Road (a well-formed 4WD road). Follow Pirau Ridge Road east for 9 km to the Puketi Forest Headquarters, Waiare Rd. There's a serviced DOC campsite here with toilets and shower, camping fees apply $8 per person per night. There is also a DOC hut with electricity, a fire and full cooking facilities $18 per person per night. Take care on Pirau Ridge Rd as vehicles and cyclists also use this road.

Wet Weather bypass option: Continue south (from Omahuta Rd turnoff) on SH1 for 22km, turn left into Puketi Rd and walk 9km to Waiare Rd, turn left and walk a further 2.5km to rejoin the Te Araroa route onto the Mangakaretu Track (Puketotara Farm).

Note:  The Mangakaretu Track has seasonal closures for lambing - if that affects you, continue straight along Puketotara Rd from the Puketi/Waiare Rd intersection.

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info
The Northland Forests 
 
Background Information
Local Maori know the forest as Orowhana, and the saddle as Te Arai, the door, where spirits pause before fleeing north to Cape Reinga. Poupou totems mark the sacred site and the central pou is carved in honour of Taunaha, an ancestor.

The Herekino (Orowhana) Track was a joint project between Te Araroa Trust and the Department of Conservation. Two other DOC tracks diverge from the Herekino Forest track - a tramp from Herekino Saddle through to the Kaitaia-Awaroa Road via Pukepoto Access Road takes 6.5hrs, and the tramp through to Larmer Road end, via the Kaitaia Walkway takes 11 hours. Te Araroa Trust acknowledges the assistance given by the people of Whakamaharatanga Marae, also Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, and the Herekino Landcare Group in establishing the main track.

Water: It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies if required. 

The Northland Forests

General information
Far North I-SITE Visitor Information Centre - Te Ahu, Corner Matthews Avenue and South Road, Kaitaia - P: 09 408 9450 - E: kaitaia@visitnorthland.co.nz  
 
Local transport/support
Some local accommodation places will provide transfers. Ask when you book.
Peter Griffiths of Takahue - Can provide a drop-off and pick up service for a small fee and some backpacker accommodation is available. Contact him in advance on P: 09 408 3685.
 
Local guide
Roger Gale - P: 09 409 3807 - E: roger@treeskills.co.nz - is available for guiding through Herekino and Raetea Forests
 
Acccommodation
 
Tramp'Inn (Alan and Hayley Tubbs) - 1479 Diggers Valley Rd (eastern exit of Herekino Forest) - P: 09 4088851 - E: bullandchicken@xtra.co.nz
Rustic 13-bunk hut and tentsites (by koha - $10/night), (cold) shower, drinking water and cooking facilities.
Peter Griffiths of Takahue - P: 09 4083685 - Can provide limited backpacker accommodation. 
DOC Puketi Recreation Centre (Campsite and Hut) - Waiare Rd, Puketi Hut booked through DOC - Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands - E: bayofislandsbooking@doc.govt.nz 
 
Resupply
Mangamuka Bridge Dairy - SH 1 Mangamuka Bridge - P: 09 401 9184 - takeaways available. 
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 7am - 6pm / Sat: 8.30am - 5pm / Sun: 9am - 3pm (these hours may shorten in winter)
 
It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies if required.  
 
Puketi Recreation Area 
DOC Puketi Recreation Area - is located in Puketi Forest, near the Puketi Forest Hut
Turn off SH10 at Pungaere Rd, 600m north of Waipapa and follow signs to the camp. Access: 7km of gravel. Accessible to vehicles
and you can park next to your campsite. 
Location - NZTM2000 coordinates: E1672203, N6103217 / Latitude: -35.25809716, Longitude: 173.75371779  
Campsite Fees - Bookings are not required for the campground. Adult (18+ years): $8 per night, Child (5-17 years): $3 per night, Infant (0-4 years). FreePay at the self-registration stand at the campsite. Please ensure you have the correct funds to pay your camping fees, there is no change facility on site.
 
Campsite Facilities:
  • Approximately 20 campsites
  • Cold showers
  • Long drop toilets (there is usually toilet paper available, however it pays to take your own) 
  • Cold water tap
  • Fires are currently not allowed due to the increased fire risks during summer 
Puketi Forest Hut 
Puketi Forest Hut - There are several places that you can access the recreational area from. The recommended entry point is from SH10 approximately 600m north of the Waipapa Township. 
Turn left along Pungaere Road past the sign directing you to the Puketi Forest Park. Follow Pungaere Road for approximately 15 km. Take care as part of the road is gravelled. At a T-intersection, turn left, follow the road for about 2 km. The entrance of the recreational area will be on your right. 
Puketi Forest Hut Fees - Adult (18+ years): $18 per night, Youth (11-17 years): $9 per night, Child/Infant: (0-10 years): free
Bookings are essential. Book Puketi Forest Hut online 
 
If using alternative routes, refer to local maps as there is no DOC signage at other possible entry points to the Puketi Forest.
 
Puketi Forest Hut Facilities:
  • 18 beds (two-tier platform bunks)
  • Cold tap water - The water is not treated, you may wish to boil it before drinking
  • Electricity
  • Gas hob with wok burner
  • Underbench fridge (small)
  • Indoor fireplace (wood is sometimes available – check the wood store, otherwise take your own)
  • 1 cold shower
  • 2 non-flush toilets
  • Indoor tables
  • Mattresses
 

 

Requirements
  • Wear hi-viz clothing/pack cover and don't use headphones
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Kiwis - no dogs allowed
  • Conservation Area - No domestic animals allowed (i.e. includes dogs, cats or birds)
  • Kauri tree disease risk - Clean boots between tracks; avoid standing on root systems
Amenities
(Start)
  • Car park
  • Toilets
  • Shop
  • Accommodation YHA Ahipara
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Shop Mangamuka
  • Basic camp site Apple Dam
Amenities
(End)
  • Carpark
  • Picnic area
  • Toilets
  • Accommodation Book cabins & Puketi Hut with DoC Tel:+9 407-0300
Closest Town(s)
Ahipara & Kaitaia
Managed by
Dept of Conservation, Kaitaia
Thanks to
Whakamaharatanga Marae
Northern Start
Boat ramp, Kaka St, Ahipara
Southern End
Puketi Recreation Centre, Waiare Rd
Distance
98km
Time
4-5 days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Description
(North to South)

From the boat ramp on Ninety Mile Beach, head up Kaka St, turn right into Takahe Rd, right into Foreshore Rd, left into Roma Rd, right onto Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd then walk approx. 4.5km (past Pukeko Pa) to the start of the Herekino Forest Track on the left/east side of Herekino Saddle.


Herekino Forest Track - 15km / 8hr
 
Walkers should aim to get through Herekino Forest in one day, and to achieve that (in good conditions) look to set out from Ahipara no later than 10am. This would see you exiting herekino Forest approx. 6pm - note, in good conditions.
 
Adjacent to the road, there is a cleaning station - please give your boots a thorough clean, removing all mud - this helps prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
The track climbs steeply for the first kilometre through mixed bush with views to Te Oneroa O Tohe - Ninety Mile Beach. At 300 metres the track opens on to low scrub, bracken and orchids. Listen here for the distinctive u-tick calls of fernbirds.

A high ridge allows glimpses northward across the Aupouri Peninsula before a descent to the first large kauri. The track picks up an easy ridgeline then turns at right-angles down to the Rangiheke Stream and its rock pools. The stream is splash-through, but the cable strung side to side will help if the water is high.
Water: It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies to get you through to Takahue, as supplies en route may not always be clean.

The kauri grove, one of the largest groups of big kauri in the north, is about two hours in. The track emerges soon after on to an old forestry road then enters again into forest, passing disused logger huts and ascending Taumatamahoe.

A viewpoint on the way up gives a glimpse of Kaitaia, and the 558 metre summit of Taumatamahoe is the highest point en route. Cellphones work at the top, and are useful to time any pickup. The track’s steep, root-crossed descent, joins a farm track - Veza Road - and 100m from the end of the forest track is where you'll find the "Tramp'Inn" accommodation - look out for the sign.
Veza Rd leads to an exit on to Diggers Valley Road. This exit is distant from any settlement, and day walkers will need to have arranged transport back to town.
At the end of the track, there is another cleaning station - please give your boots a thorough clean, removing all mud, and a squirt of disinfectant - this helps prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
 
 
Takahue Route - 11.5km / 3-4hr
 
From the Herekino Forest Track exit on Diggers Valley Rd, follow the windy metal road south for approx. 1.2km to where a gated forestry road leaves Diggers Valley Rd east into forestry land. Follow the forestry tracks (with sporadic orange markers) 3.5km east to Waiotehue Rd. 
 
Take extreme care on the forestry tracks as some forestry activity is still taking place. As there is some heavy truck traffic on Diggers Valley Rd and in the forestry land, do not wear earphones through this section and wear a hi-viz vest or pack cover. Just before the final hill up to Waiotehue Rd, the track crosses a forded stream - this can rise quickly after rain and tends to pool around the ford. When the ford is flooded, it can be a little easier to cross 50-100m upstream. The track uphill can be muddy and slippery after logging traffic - do take care.
This stream is an ideal spot - for walkers heading in both directions - to give your footwear a clean between the Herekino and Raetea Forests - please take a couple of minutes to do this to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
 
Please do not camp or light fires through this short forestry section.
 
When at Waiotehue Rd, turn left/NE and follow the road into the small settlement of Takahue.
** Note that there can be a lot of logging traffic on Waiotehue Rd, which can be narrow in parts. We advise EXTREME CARE here, wear a hi-viz vest or pack cover and dont listen to headphones while walking this road. 
Turn SE on Takahue Saddle Rd for 2.5km alongside the Takahue River until the junction with Warner Rd.
 
 
Raetea Forest Track - 18km / 9.5hr
 
**This track has little or no water sources - the stream adjacent to Takahue Saddle Rd is the last reliable water source.
 
From the junction with Warner Rd, follow the old Takahue Saddle Rd (just a track now) as it turns away from the River ( **last chance to fill your water bottles until Mangamuka) and climbs steeply through farmland for 2km. At the saddle, turn off left/East into the Raetea Forest. It's a rough climb up to the ridge and on to a 580m peak. 
 
The Raetea Forest has some of the highest peaks in Northland, so expect cloud and rain. The bush track follows the ridge line on a largely west-east basis past:
  • The 744m Raetea summit 
  • An unnamed highpoint of 727m (past a junction with a track leading north on a route out to SH1)
  • The 638m Kumetewhiwhia summit
  • The 445m Umaumakaroro summit

The track then descends through bush and private farmland to Makene Rd, Mangamuka. The exit is into the yard of a house - they are used to walkers and happy to have you pass through - a hello and/or thank-you always goes down well. There are a number of working dogs here whose bark is literally worse than their bite. Walk steadily down the driveway and you'll be fine.

Walk NE to the junction with SH1. From the junction with SH1 & Makene Rd, keep following SH1 for 6.5km. This takes you through Mangamuka settlement and then south to Mangamuka Bridge. Turn east onto Omahuta Road and walk 5km to the junction with Jacksons Road & Omahuta Forest Roads. (This connection 13km / 3hr)


Omahuta Puketi Forest Track - 31km / 2 days
Omahuta Puketi Forest Track is a challenging, wet route using river canyons - subject to flash floods. You need good equipment and navigation skills. Only go in dry weather. 
 
Warning: Some beehives en route, poison and trapping for possums, rats and mustelids occurs within this forest. Goat control operations using contract hunters also occur within this forest.
 
For forest hygiene and visitor safety reasons it is requested that in Omahuta and Puketi Forests camping is restricted to the sites recommended by DOC - those being Apple Dam and Puketi Forest HQ (eastern edge of Puketi Forest). These sites have been identified for camping as they are away from kauri therefore reducing the risk of spreading kauri dieback disease and will be poison exclusion zones for possum control operations. Therefore please plan around using only these two sites.
 
From the junction, head east on well-formed single track forestry roads (vehicles are rare). 700m up Omahuta Forest Rd, continue straight ahead onto Kauri Sanctuary Rd. 
Keep travelling uphill for approx. another 6km past an airstrip on your left and occasional beehives tucked into the forest (just button up and walk gently past). The next major junction is where Kauri Pa Road runs off left. That’s the one to follow.
 
Detour to Apple Dam campsite: to camp, turn right into Kauri Sanctuary Road for 500m. A grassy 4WD track runs downhill on the left to a modest but pretty campsite with water tank/stream/dam and a long drop toilet. The kauri sanctuary is further down this same road. To avoid the spread of kauri dieback please do not camp around kauri. 

Back on route, continue along Kauri Pa Road a further 1km, then fork right onto Blackbridge Road (more 4WD track).

Follow along to cross a concrete ford over a stream (NB: if water is flowing over the top of it, do not proceed as this means water levels in the Mangapukahukahu gorge will be too dangerous). Then climb a further 1.5km until at the top of the climb, a 4WD track leads left along a soft  ridge leading down to Mangapukahukahu Stream. The track is easy to follow down, past two old forestry skid sites. At the second/lower one, a track goes through the pampas grass on the right-hand side. It leads to a rough track (with orange markers) down through trees to the Mangapukahukahu Stream.  

The stream is through a gorge and is subject to flash floods in heavy rain. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO FURTHER IF THERE IS HEAVY RAIN IN THE REGION.

As long as the weather is clear, walk SE criss-crossing between shoal banks in the stream for 2.5km until meeting up with the Waipapa River. Just before the junction between Mangapukahukahu and the Waipapa, keep a sharp eye out for a small track that will take you down to a shallower crossing point - immediately south (right) of the junction a track leads up the bank, and descends to a shoal where it is better to cross. It will be deep if you try and cross at the junction! 

Take a lot of care and allow plenty of time when walking between the intersection of the Mangapukahukahu Stream and the bottom of the Pukatea Ridge Track, as it can be very slippery particularly after rain.

A short but very muddy climb up the bank meets up with the Lower Waipapa River Track. While parts are very rough, it is well-marked. Walk 2.5km NE to the streamside junction with the Pukatea Ridge Track. (The alternative is to try wading between shoal banks in/out of the Waipapa River but there are some deep sections).  

The Pukatea Ridge Track climbs steeply and then on up the ridge through young kauri for 3.5km to meet the Takapau Track.

From the junction of Pukatea Ridge & Takapau Tracks, head NE for 300m to the junction with Walnut Track & Pirau Ridge Road (a well-formed 4WD road). Follow Pirau Ridge Road east for 9 km to the Puketi Forest Headquarters, Waiare Rd. There's a serviced DOC campsite here with toilets and shower, camping fees apply $8 per person per night. There is also a DOC hut with electricity, a fire and full cooking facilities $18 per person per night. Take care on Pirau Ridge Rd as vehicles and cyclists also use this road.

Wet Weather bypass option: Continue south (from Omahuta Rd turnoff) on SH1 for 22km, turn left into Puketi Rd and walk 9km to Waiare Rd, turn left and walk a further 2.5km to rejoin the Te Araroa route onto the Mangakaretu Track (Puketotara Farm).

Note:  The Mangakaretu Track has seasonal closures for lambing - if that affects you, continue straight along Puketotara Rd from the Puketi/Waiare Rd intersection.

Potential Hazards
  • Vehicles on road or track Take care walking on roads, particularly SH1
  • Poisons & traps
  • Forestry operations Take care between Diggers Valley Rd and Waiotehue Rd
  • River canyons - flash floods. Use bypass in times of heavy rain
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Small stream crossings
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources - carry plenty of water, refill whenever you can.
  • Bush track can get muddy and slippery - take care.
Description
(North to South)

From the boat ramp on Ninety Mile Beach, head up Kaka St, turn right into Takahe Rd, right into Foreshore Rd, left into Roma Rd, right onto Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd then walk approx. 4.5km (past Pukeko Pa) to the start of the Herekino Forest Track on the left/east side of Herekino Saddle.


Herekino Forest Track - 15km / 8hr
 
Walkers should aim to get through Herekino Forest in one day, and to achieve that (in good conditions) look to set out from Ahipara no later than 10am. This would see you exiting herekino Forest approx. 6pm - note, in good conditions.
 
Adjacent to the road, there is a cleaning station - please give your boots a thorough clean, removing all mud - this helps prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
The track climbs steeply for the first kilometre through mixed bush with views to Te Oneroa O Tohe - Ninety Mile Beach. At 300 metres the track opens on to low scrub, bracken and orchids. Listen here for the distinctive u-tick calls of fernbirds.

A high ridge allows glimpses northward across the Aupouri Peninsula before a descent to the first large kauri. The track picks up an easy ridgeline then turns at right-angles down to the Rangiheke Stream and its rock pools. The stream is splash-through, but the cable strung side to side will help if the water is high.
Water: It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies to get you through to Takahue, as supplies en route may not always be clean.

The kauri grove, one of the largest groups of big kauri in the north, is about two hours in. The track emerges soon after on to an old forestry road then enters again into forest, passing disused logger huts and ascending Taumatamahoe.

A viewpoint on the way up gives a glimpse of Kaitaia, and the 558 metre summit of Taumatamahoe is the highest point en route. Cellphones work at the top, and are useful to time any pickup. The track’s steep, root-crossed descent, joins a farm track - Veza Road - and 100m from the end of the forest track is where you'll find the "Tramp'Inn" accommodation - look out for the sign.
Veza Rd leads to an exit on to Diggers Valley Road. This exit is distant from any settlement, and day walkers will need to have arranged transport back to town.
At the end of the track, there is another cleaning station - please give your boots a thorough clean, removing all mud, and a squirt of disinfectant - this helps prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
 
 
Takahue Route - 11.5km / 3-4hr
 
From the Herekino Forest Track exit on Diggers Valley Rd, follow the windy metal road south for approx. 1.2km to where a gated forestry road leaves Diggers Valley Rd east into forestry land. Follow the forestry tracks (with sporadic orange markers) 3.5km east to Waiotehue Rd. 
 
Take extreme care on the forestry tracks as some forestry activity is still taking place. As there is some heavy truck traffic on Diggers Valley Rd and in the forestry land, do not wear earphones through this section and wear a hi-viz vest or pack cover. Just before the final hill up to Waiotehue Rd, the track crosses a forded stream - this can rise quickly after rain and tends to pool around the ford. When the ford is flooded, it can be a little easier to cross 50-100m upstream. The track uphill can be muddy and slippery after logging traffic - do take care.
This stream is an ideal spot - for walkers heading in both directions - to give your footwear a clean between the Herekino and Raetea Forests - please take a couple of minutes to do this to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
 
Please do not camp or light fires through this short forestry section.
 
When at Waiotehue Rd, turn left/NE and follow the road into the small settlement of Takahue.
** Note that there can be a lot of logging traffic on Waiotehue Rd, which can be narrow in parts. We advise EXTREME CARE here, wear a hi-viz vest or pack cover and dont listen to headphones while walking this road. 
Turn SE on Takahue Saddle Rd for 2.5km alongside the Takahue River until the junction with Warner Rd.
 
 
Raetea Forest Track - 18km / 9.5hr
 
**This track has little or no water sources - the stream adjacent to Takahue Saddle Rd is the last reliable water source.
 
From the junction with Warner Rd, follow the old Takahue Saddle Rd (just a track now) as it turns away from the River ( **last chance to fill your water bottles until Mangamuka) and climbs steeply through farmland for 2km. At the saddle, turn off left/East into the Raetea Forest. It's a rough climb up to the ridge and on to a 580m peak. 
 
The Raetea Forest has some of the highest peaks in Northland, so expect cloud and rain. The bush track follows the ridge line on a largely west-east basis past:
  • The 744m Raetea summit 
  • An unnamed highpoint of 727m (past a junction with a track leading north on a route out to SH1)
  • The 638m Kumetewhiwhia summit
  • The 445m Umaumakaroro summit

The track then descends through bush and private farmland to Makene Rd, Mangamuka. The exit is into the yard of a house - they are used to walkers and happy to have you pass through - a hello and/or thank-you always goes down well. There are a number of working dogs here whose bark is literally worse than their bite. Walk steadily down the driveway and you'll be fine.

Walk NE to the junction with SH1. From the junction with SH1 & Makene Rd, keep following SH1 for 6.5km. This takes you through Mangamuka settlement and then south to Mangamuka Bridge. Turn east onto Omahuta Road and walk 5km to the junction with Jacksons Road & Omahuta Forest Roads. (This connection 13km / 3hr)


Omahuta Puketi Forest Track - 31km / 2 days
Omahuta Puketi Forest Track is a challenging, wet route using river canyons - subject to flash floods. You need good equipment and navigation skills. Only go in dry weather. 
 
Warning: Some beehives en route, poison and trapping for possums, rats and mustelids occurs within this forest. Goat control operations using contract hunters also occur within this forest.
 
For forest hygiene and visitor safety reasons it is requested that in Omahuta and Puketi Forests camping is restricted to the sites recommended by DOC - those being Apple Dam and Puketi Forest HQ (eastern edge of Puketi Forest). These sites have been identified for camping as they are away from kauri therefore reducing the risk of spreading kauri dieback disease and will be poison exclusion zones for possum control operations. Therefore please plan around using only these two sites.
 
From the junction, head east on well-formed single track forestry roads (vehicles are rare). 700m up Omahuta Forest Rd, continue straight ahead onto Kauri Sanctuary Rd. 
Keep travelling uphill for approx. another 6km past an airstrip on your left and occasional beehives tucked into the forest (just button up and walk gently past). The next major junction is where Kauri Pa Road runs off left. That’s the one to follow.
 
Detour to Apple Dam campsite: to camp, turn right into Kauri Sanctuary Road for 500m. A grassy 4WD track runs downhill on the left to a modest but pretty campsite with water tank/stream/dam and a long drop toilet. The kauri sanctuary is further down this same road. To avoid the spread of kauri dieback please do not camp around kauri. 

Back on route, continue along Kauri Pa Road a further 1km, then fork right onto Blackbridge Road (more 4WD track).

Follow along to cross a concrete ford over a stream (NB: if water is flowing over the top of it, do not proceed as this means water levels in the Mangapukahukahu gorge will be too dangerous). Then climb a further 1.5km until at the top of the climb, a 4WD track leads left along a soft  ridge leading down to Mangapukahukahu Stream. The track is easy to follow down, past two old forestry skid sites. At the second/lower one, a track goes through the pampas grass on the right-hand side. It leads to a rough track (with orange markers) down through trees to the Mangapukahukahu Stream.  

The stream is through a gorge and is subject to flash floods in heavy rain. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO FURTHER IF THERE IS HEAVY RAIN IN THE REGION.

As long as the weather is clear, walk SE criss-crossing between shoal banks in the stream for 2.5km until meeting up with the Waipapa River. Just before the junction between Mangapukahukahu and the Waipapa, keep a sharp eye out for a small track that will take you down to a shallower crossing point - immediately south (right) of the junction a track leads up the bank, and descends to a shoal where it is better to cross. It will be deep if you try and cross at the junction! 

Take a lot of care and allow plenty of time when walking between the intersection of the Mangapukahukahu Stream and the bottom of the Pukatea Ridge Track, as it can be very slippery particularly after rain.

A short but very muddy climb up the bank meets up with the Lower Waipapa River Track. While parts are very rough, it is well-marked. Walk 2.5km NE to the streamside junction with the Pukatea Ridge Track. (The alternative is to try wading between shoal banks in/out of the Waipapa River but there are some deep sections).  

The Pukatea Ridge Track climbs steeply and then on up the ridge through young kauri for 3.5km to meet the Takapau Track.

From the junction of Pukatea Ridge & Takapau Tracks, head NE for 300m to the junction with Walnut Track & Pirau Ridge Road (a well-formed 4WD road). Follow Pirau Ridge Road east for 9 km to the Puketi Forest Headquarters, Waiare Rd. There's a serviced DOC campsite here with toilets and shower, camping fees apply $8 per person per night. There is also a DOC hut with electricity, a fire and full cooking facilities $18 per person per night. Take care on Pirau Ridge Rd as vehicles and cyclists also use this road.

Wet Weather bypass option: Continue south (from Omahuta Rd turnoff) on SH1 for 22km, turn left into Puketi Rd and walk 9km to Waiare Rd, turn left and walk a further 2.5km to rejoin the Te Araroa route onto the Mangakaretu Track (Puketotara Farm).

Note:  The Mangakaretu Track has seasonal closures for lambing - if that affects you, continue straight along Puketotara Rd from the Puketi/Waiare Rd intersection.

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info
The Northland Forests 
 
Background Information
Local Maori know the forest as Orowhana, and the saddle as Te Arai, the door, where spirits pause before fleeing north to Cape Reinga. Poupou totems mark the sacred site and the central pou is carved in honour of Taunaha, an ancestor.

The Herekino (Orowhana) Track was a joint project between Te Araroa Trust and the Department of Conservation. Two other DOC tracks diverge from the Herekino Forest track - a tramp from Herekino Saddle through to the Kaitaia-Awaroa Road via Pukepoto Access Road takes 6.5hrs, and the tramp through to Larmer Road end, via the Kaitaia Walkway takes 11 hours. Te Araroa Trust acknowledges the assistance given by the people of Whakamaharatanga Marae, also Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, and the Herekino Landcare Group in establishing the main track.

Water: It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies if required. 

The Northland Forests

General information
Far North I-SITE Visitor Information Centre - Te Ahu, Corner Matthews Avenue and South Road, Kaitaia - P: 09 408 9450 - E: kaitaia@visitnorthland.co.nz  
 
Local transport/support
Some local accommodation places will provide transfers. Ask when you book.
Peter Griffiths of Takahue - Can provide a drop-off and pick up service for a small fee and some backpacker accommodation is available. Contact him in advance on P: 09 408 3685.
 
Local guide
Roger Gale - P: 09 409 3807 - E: roger@treeskills.co.nz - is available for guiding through Herekino and Raetea Forests
 
Acccommodation
 
Tramp'Inn (Alan and Hayley Tubbs) - 1479 Diggers Valley Rd (eastern exit of Herekino Forest) - P: 09 4088851 - E: bullandchicken@xtra.co.nz
Rustic 13-bunk hut and tentsites (by koha - $10/night), (cold) shower, drinking water and cooking facilities.
Peter Griffiths of Takahue - P: 09 4083685 - Can provide limited backpacker accommodation. 
DOC Puketi Recreation Centre (Campsite and Hut) - Waiare Rd, Puketi Hut booked through DOC - Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands - E: bayofislandsbooking@doc.govt.nz 
 
Resupply
Mangamuka Bridge Dairy - SH 1 Mangamuka Bridge - P: 09 401 9184 - takeaways available. 
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 7am - 6pm / Sat: 8.30am - 5pm / Sun: 9am - 3pm (these hours may shorten in winter)
 
It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies if required.  
 
Puketi Recreation Area 
DOC Puketi Recreation Area - is located in Puketi Forest, near the Puketi Forest Hut
Turn off SH10 at Pungaere Rd, 600m north of Waipapa and follow signs to the camp. Access: 7km of gravel. Accessible to vehicles
and you can park next to your campsite. 
Location - NZTM2000 coordinates: E1672203, N6103217 / Latitude: -35.25809716, Longitude: 173.75371779  
Campsite Fees - Bookings are not required for the campground. Adult (18+ years): $8 per night, Child (5-17 years): $3 per night, Infant (0-4 years). FreePay at the self-registration stand at the campsite. Please ensure you have the correct funds to pay your camping fees, there is no change facility on site.
 
Campsite Facilities:
  • Approximately 20 campsites
  • Cold showers
  • Long drop toilets (there is usually toilet paper available, however it pays to take your own) 
  • Cold water tap
  • Fires are currently not allowed due to the increased fire risks during summer 
Puketi Forest Hut 
Puketi Forest Hut - There are several places that you can access the recreational area from. The recommended entry point is from SH10 approximately 600m north of the Waipapa Township. 
Turn left along Pungaere Road past the sign directing you to the Puketi Forest Park. Follow Pungaere Road for approximately 15 km. Take care as part of the road is gravelled. At a T-intersection, turn left, follow the road for about 2 km. The entrance of the recreational area will be on your right. 
Puketi Forest Hut Fees - Adult (18+ years): $18 per night, Youth (11-17 years): $9 per night, Child/Infant: (0-10 years): free
Bookings are essential. Book Puketi Forest Hut online 
 
If using alternative routes, refer to local maps as there is no DOC signage at other possible entry points to the Puketi Forest.
 
Puketi Forest Hut Facilities:
  • 18 beds (two-tier platform bunks)
  • Cold tap water - The water is not treated, you may wish to boil it before drinking
  • Electricity
  • Gas hob with wok burner
  • Underbench fridge (small)
  • Indoor fireplace (wood is sometimes available – check the wood store, otherwise take your own)
  • 1 cold shower
  • 2 non-flush toilets
  • Indoor tables
  • Mattresses
 

 

Requirements
  • Wear hi-viz clothing/pack cover and don't use headphones
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Kiwis - no dogs allowed
  • Conservation Area - No domestic animals allowed (i.e. includes dogs, cats or birds)
  • Kauri tree disease risk - Clean boots between tracks; avoid standing on root systems
Amenities
(Start)
  • Car park
  • Toilets
  • Shop
  • Accommodation YHA Ahipara
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Shop Mangamuka
  • Basic camp site Apple Dam
Amenities
(End)
  • Carpark
  • Picnic area
  • Toilets
  • Accommodation Book cabins & Puketi Hut with DoC Tel:+9 407-0300
Closest Town(s)
Ahipara & Kaitaia
Managed by
Dept of Conservation, Kaitaia
Thanks to
Whakamaharatanga Marae