Trounson Kauri Park
The 473 hectare Trounson Kauri Park in Northland was gifted to the public of NZ by James Trounson, an early settler, and opened in 1921. The intention was to protect one of the few remaining significant ancient kauri forests in the region. It became the first “mainland island” with a strict focus on pest control to reestablish native birds, although it is not fenced.
To get to Trounson Kauri Park, head north from Dargaville on State Highway 12 for 32 km to turn off at Trounson Park Road. Follow the road to the park entrance and campground. From the car park, follow the footbridge into a grassed area with an excellent information centre. From there, the walk is an easy 40-minute loop, much of it boardwalk, through big mature kauri. These include the Four Sisters, a pair of twin trees close together. The oldest tree is marked as being about 1,200 years old, a relative youngster compared with Tāne Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere further along State Highway 12 in Waipoua Forest. But they are still spectacular!
A particular feature of the walk is the presence of big fallen kauri. This creates a gap in the otherwise dense canopy, with younger trees competing for dominance of the freed up space! You will also notice a (thankfully) small number of large trees affected by kauri dieback disease. The good news is that the impact is well understood and the risks to the wider forest well managed by Kauri Ora.
From Trounson Kauri Park, it is a short drive northwest to Waipoua Forest and State Highway 12, via Donnellys Crossing.