Waitiangi to Tane Mahuta

Waitangi to Tane Mahuta

Waitangi, sometimes called the birthplace of New Zealand, is one place you have to tick off the list. Situated about 3 hours’ drive from Auckland, up State Highway 1 north to Whangarei (165km) and then Kawakawa (a further 60km). From there follow the signs to the Bay of Islands and Paihia (15km), take the waterfront road through Paihia, go straight through the roundabout and across the one-lane bridge to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (signposted). You're going to want to book accommodation because the Bay of Islands is beautiful and one day is simply not enough when you have travelled this far. So check in and relax.  

Now here's a suggested itinerary for one of your days in the North:

Waitingi is located on a 506ha piece of prime land which Lord and Lady Bledisloe gifted to New Zealand in 1932.  Entry is $25 for non-NZ resident visitors, with children under 18 free. Aside from the breathtaking views, you can explore the meeting house (Te Whare Runanga) which features floor to ceiling carvings from every iwi (Maori tribe).  (Note that you will need to take off your shoes before entering). Wander across the grounds to the Treaty House, built for British resident James Busby in 1833.  It will give you a great insight into life in the north since the mid-19th Century. You can see the original bedroom and parlour as they might have looked in 1840, and in other rooms, an exhibition features everyday life in the Busby household, on the farm and around the Bay of Islands in the 1830s and 40s. Other displays tell the story of the gift of the Waitangi estate to the nation and the restoration of the house.

The flagstaff marks the spot where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on 6 February 1840. It was erected by the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1934 and replaced in 1946, after Hone Heke chopped it down as a symbolic act of protest against the government.

When you have finished exploring head towards the Waipoua Forest and the gigantic Tane Mahuta.  Along the way, we'd suggest a detour to Rawene for lunch at the Boatshed Cafe before visiting Opononi, made famous by Opo the friendly dolphin who made Opononi his home and the people of Opononi his friends during the summer of 1955.

Into the Waipoua Forest and follow the signs to Tane Mahuta (The road widens at the Tane Mahuta car park to accommodate visitor vehicles. There is a picnic area, and toilets located 5m back from the car park on the opposite side of the road from the track entrance.)

Tane Mahuta ('Lord of the Forest') is New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree. According to Maori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tane was the child that tore his parents' parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have here today.  All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tane’s children.


Trunk girth: 13.77 m
Trunk height: 17.68 m
Total height: 51.2 m
Trunk volume: 244.5 m³

Stretch your arms out wide around the trunk for this photo op!  

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Angela Hallberg is Omega Rental cars Marketing Manager – one of New Zealand’s most trusted car hire companies.  Like Omega on Facebook or follow on Twitter @OmegaRentalCars.
Te whare runanga
The flag post by the treaty house Waitangi
Waitangi busbys house