Itinerary E11

Wairere Boulders, Mangungu Mission, Horeke Tavern, Omahuta Forest

This trip starts at Rawene turnoff from SH12.

Travel East on SH 12, past the settlement of Omanaia, through Waima, over the one-way bridge across the Taheke River, past the Taheke Tavern, then turn left into Horeke Road. (Note that the local Council has recently changed the name of the road to Taheke Road and changed the road signs, but most current travelling maps will still show it as Horeke Road. ) The first 9 km of the road is sealed, but the rest is still metal.

As the road descends watch out for your first glimpse of the waters of the Harbour. Then look for a road on your right, McDonnell Road. Turn into this road, cross the one-way bridge and continue to the end of the road, where you will find a car park next to an old cow shed. Park here.

In the cowshed you will find directions to the walkways and other information about the unique Wairere Boulders. There is an honesty box for the admission fee. The ‘Boulder Loop’ is an easy 1 hour stroll, suitable for all ages, but not wheel chairs. The ‘Platform Track’ is a 2 hour walk for fitter people. Read more at

Return to Horeke Road and at the end, turn left. Just over 1 km along, on your left, you will come to the Mangungu Mission House and Chapel. The headstones on the graves under the old oak tree below the mission house tell a sorry tale of early misfortunes and the realities of life in the Hokianga.

Returning and passing the Horeke Road on your right, travelling about 1 km, brings you to the settlement of Horeke. One of Hokianga’s earliest European settlements, site of the first ship building yards in New Zealand and site to a large flax growing and milling area, only a few original buildings still survive. It is worth visiting the Horeke Tavern, which was among the first hotels in New Zealand to be licensed, in 1840.

If you continue through the settlement of Horeke, keep left and follow Rangiahua Road to SH 1. Turn left here. The turn off to Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary is signposted a few kilometres south of Mangamuka Bridge. Please drive carefully on Omahuta Sanctuary Road – it is very narrow in places.

Puketi and Omahuta form together one of the largest areas of native forest in Northland. It contains kauri, podocarp and broadleaf species. Many of the kauri have been logged in the past, but the forest still has over 10 percent of the total mature kauri stands in New Zealand.  Read More at the Department of Conversation website.

In Omahuta the giant is Hokianga, the 8th largest kauri in New Zealand and possibly the tallest in Northland at 53.3 m (174.9′). Te Tangi o te Tui is Puketi’s giant, the fourth in the country with a height of 50.9 m (167′), a diameter of 3.94 m (12.9′) and a clean bole at more than 30 m (98.4′). The forest is an important breeding place for the endangered kokako and has good numbers of North Island brown kiwi and kaka.

There are a number of easy walking tracks available.

The Kauri Stump walk is a three-minute easy path to a stump and head of one of the largest kauri ever felled in the Omahuta forest .

Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary walk. The track is signposted from the car park at the end of Sanctuary Road.The track is a 550m Loop track, walking time 30 minutes. The giant kauri in this six hectare sanctuary were protected from logging in 1951. The track leads you through a stand of mature kauri, where you can admire their size and majesty.

To find out more about the Puketi Forest Trust, visit the Puketic Trust website

You have a choice of return trips:

  • Continue North on SH 1 and just before Mangamuka Bridge turn left and follow the signs to Kohukohu and the Ferry to Rawene, or
  • Return South on SH 1 to Ohaeawai where you turn right onto SH 12 and return to the Hokianga via Kaikohe.