Whangarei Falls and A H Reed Kauri Park
Only a few kilometres from Little Earth Lodge, the much photographed Whangarei Falls are a definite ”must” to visit during your stay. The best way to see the Falls is to take one of the tracks through the atmospheric A H Reed Kauri Park. The kauri is New Zealand’s largest and oldest native tree, and these magnificent trees are found no where else in the world. The oldest kauri in New Zealand is Tane Mahuta, in Waipoua Forest on Northland’s west coast. The name Tane Mahuta means ”Lord of the Forest” and this magnificent tree is estimated to be 2000 years old. Like so much in New Zealand, the kauri is highly endangered and it is illegal to cut down a kauri. The wood of the kauri was much prized by Captain Cook for the masts of sailing ships, and in the 19th and early 20th centuries it was used extensively in the construction of the ”kauri villas” which are still to be seen in many of new Zealand’s towns and cities. Nowadays it is possible to buy beautiful furniture made by New Zealand crafstmen from reclaimed kauri or ”bog kauri” (trees that have been buried in the ground for hundreds of years).
The car park for the A H Reed Kauri Park is located in Whareora Road. From the car park you can take a number of walking tracks through the forest, including a canopy boardwalk that winds between the kauri trees: these specimens are only 500 years old, but very impressive. Then continue along the scenic Hatea River trail to the waterfall. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to walk from the car park to the base of the Falls where you will find a picnic table – just perfect for lunch. A steep path takes you up to the top of the Falls where you will find a car park. You can walk across the head of the Falls and back down the side of the waterfall to the river before walking back through the forest to the car park in Whareora Road.
It is possible to walk directly from Little Earth Lodge. It takes a little longer, but is ideal for guests who do not have a car or who enjoy walking. It takes 30 minutes to walk from the Lodge to the entrance to the AH Reed Park in Clapham Road. And you get an extra waterfall, to your left as you enter the forest at Clapham Road.