Exploring New Zealand Native Forest

New Zealand is well known for its scenic landscapes and magical New Zealand native forests. From the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island, New Zealand offers unique ways to experience the New Zealand native forest environment. Here are our our top picks…

North Island

Top of the North Island

Waipoua Native Forest
Hokianga, Northland.

How to experience it: On a twilight tour with Footprints Waipoua

The Waipoua Native Forest is the largest New Zealand native forest in the Northland region. What makes this forest so special is that it is home to the worlds largest and oldest Kauri trees!

Footprints Waipoua’s twilight encounter is a four hour experience lead by Maori guides. The tour is not only about the forest, but also about the stories and legends that connect the native people so strongly to the New Zealand whenua and native forests. The highlight of your tour will be meeting the ‘silent giant’ – Tane Mahuta, Tane Mahuta is “The Lord of the Forest’ and is estimated to be 1,250 and 2,500 years old and is the oldest known Kauri tree in the world!

Photo: Tane Mahuta – Worlds oldest Kauri Tree. Photo Credit: www.doc.govt.nz


Central North Island

Dansey Road Scenic Reserve
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty.

How to experience it: Zipline with Rotorua Canopy Tours

The Dansey Road Scenic Reserve is a virgin New Zealand Native forest, having never been cut down or milled before. The forest is filled with giant rimu trees that out date human history in New Zealand.

Rotorua Canopy Tours takes you deep into this New Zealand native forest and allows you to experience this magical place as you fly over the tree canopy, walk under the towering silver ferns and take in the views from the elevated tree platforms. This three hour experience is a thrilling educational adventure with experienced guides that bring the forest and its history to life. A must do in New Zealand!ziplining-at-dansey-road-scenic-reserve-in-new-zealand-native-forest

Photo: Ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours. Photo Credit: Rotorua Canopy Tours


Lower North Island

Akatarawa Forest
Upper Hutt, Wellington.

How to experience it: Mountain Biking with Adventure Kapiti 

The Akatarawa Forest is full of native rimu, totora and kahikitea trees. The forest is a regenerated native forest, meaning it has regrown back to the once original native state after being milled over 100 years ago.

The best way to capture the beauty of this forest is by a guided mountain biking tour with Adventure Kapiti. You will be guided on 4WD tracks up steep hills and adrenaline pumping downhills through the native bush. The Adventure Kapiti team will show you some amazing viewpoints and history of this native forest.


South Island

Top of the South Island

Abel Tasman National Park
Nelson, Tasman.

How to experience it: Kayaking with Abel Tasman Kayaks 

Abel Tasman National Park is the smallest National Park in New Zealand. This national park is one of the most spectacular native forests that sits along the picturesque coastlines of the South Island. This native forest is perfect for adventure as it is surrounded by golden beaches and rich in Tui and Bellbird songs that fill the forest.

Abel Tasman Kayaks take you on an unique journey to discover the Abel Tasman National Park. The kayak and walking trip is the best way to see this regenerating New Zealand native forest. As you are kayaking along the coastal line you can relax while looking straight into the mysterious green forest. You will also get to walk under the canopy looking up at the magnificent native trees that have been growing for hundreds of years.

Photo: Kayaking alongside Abel Tasman National Park. Photo Credit: http://www.abeltasmankayaks.co.nz


Central South Island

Mount Aspiring National Park
Wanaka, Central Otago.

How to experience it: Scenic flight with Alpine Helicopters

Mount Aspiring National Park has stunning scenery of river valleys and high mountains. This native bush that was once used by the Maori to collect pounamu (greenstone) surrounds these magnificent landscapes offering some amazing picture perfect scenery. This hidden paradise is home to a recorded 45 native birds species such as the rifleman, bellbird, South Island robin, tomtit and moreporks.

Alpine Helicopters ‘West Coast Discovery’ trip takes you on a half day trip over the rugged native forest and snow capped mountains. The view is incredible while you’re gaining height in the air! Throughout the trip you will make multiple stops on top of snow capped mountains while looking down onto the untouched native tawhai forest (beech). This experience also captures an unique birds eye view of the glaciers and the mountains peaking through the lush native bush.


Lower South Island

Fiorldand National Park
Te Anau, Southland.

How to experience it: 4WD expedition with Wild Rides. 

The Fiordland National Park is the largest of the fourteen national parks in New Zealand. This forest is in one of the wettest areas of the country, they measure their rain fall in meters with an average of 7 meters of rain every year, so remember to take your wet weather gear! The forest is full of native rimu trees and understorey shrubs such as the rangiora and māhoe.

Wild Rides will take you on a full day 4WD truck expedition through the Fiordland National Park. Their knowledgeable New Zealand guide will take you along ancient forest paths while stopping at hidden viewpoints on top of mountain tops. The tour stops at the most southern tip of Lake Manapouri, situated deep into the Fiordland National Park. This experience lays in the heart of this special native forests therefore making it one of best ways to discover more of our amazing New Zealand Native Forest.

People-looking-out-over-Fiordland-New-Zealand-Native-ForestPhoto: Pit stop looking out over Fiordland National Park. Photo Credithttp://www.wildridesfiordland.co.nz

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