Haere Mai | Welcome
Brynderwyn to Toka Toka
The Kauri Museum at Matakohe is a definite Must Do in this first stage of your journey along the Kauri Coast. Discover the mighty Kauri Tree, its timber and its gum and the stories of pioneering settlers in New Zealand. What better place to familiarise yourself with the Kauri Coast before continuing your journey?
This first part of your journey along the Kauri Coast will take you in and around New Zealand’s largest harbour, the Kaipara. Beautiful rural scenery, bushwalks, harbour views, water activities and a world famous award winning museum await you.
Turning left at Brynderwyn (map A) at the junction of SH1 and SH12 you will find the Gordon Coates Monument. It is built of Channel Island granite brought from the old Waterloo Bridge in London. The monument is in memory of the Rt Hon Joseph Gorden Coates (1878-1943) who was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1925-1928 and member of Parliament for the district from 1911 until his death in 1943.
Continuing along SH12 you will pass through Maungaturoto (map B) and arrive at Paparoa (map C). This historic settlement has an old shop in Hook Road, an old church and graveyard plus an original butcher’s shop. Chapel Oil Olive Grove in Petley Road do tours by arrangement.
Paparoa also has a unique and really enjoyable walk starting from the Village Green and the Lions Bridge which is clearly visible from the carpark. The track extends for approx 5 km through farmland, regenerating kauri forest, an ancient 300 year old Maori pa (village), estuarine salt marsh and returning in a loop along Pahi Road and SH12 back to the green.
The track is well signposted, suitable for all ages with reasonable fitness and takes about an hour.
From Paparoa take a journey down to Pahi (map D) to enjoy the wonders and water activity of the Kaipara Harbour. Pahi is also home to a magnificent Moreton Bay Fig tree which is reputed to be the finest specimen of its type in the southern hemisphere and is one of New Zealand’s most notable trees.
The Kauri Bushmen Memoral Reserve (Sterling Bush) is somewhere you can find beautiful young Kauri in a very attractive setting. The reserve is situated 1km off SH12 between Paparoa and Matakohe.
Next it is time to stop for the absolute MUST DO in this first stage of your journey along the Kauri Coast – The Kauri Museum at Matakohe (map E). Discover the mighty Kauri Tree, its timber and its gum and pioneering settlers in New Zealand.
This award winning museum has outstanding displays, real exhibits, original early photos and fascinating stories. What better place to familiarise yourself with the Kauri Coast before continuing your journey? Another journey south to the Kaipara will find you in the lovely settlement of Tinopai (map F) where you can again enjoy all the fun of being beside the water.
Keep your eyes peeled when you are fossicking around the harbour as the shores of the Kaipara have also been known for finding geodes and fossils. Yes this is definitely the ancient Kauri Coast.
Back on SH12 northbound you will now reach Ruawai (map g) a major centre for processing kumara. This sweet potato comes in many varieties and features on many local café menus.
In Ruawai ElleCee Café is a definite must stop if you fancy a break and a delicious home baked product.
The final part of your trip between Brynderwyn and Toka Toka IS Toka Toka Peak an outlandish mountain, like something from a fantasy landscape, it is actually a rare phenomenon – it’s the plug of an ancient volcano. The material around the plug has eroded over time, leaving only the hardened lava core.
Toka Toka Peak is very significant to local Maori and features in their mythology and history. For the hearty tramper (with no fear of heights) a climb to the top is an energic 20 minutes and with some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside as a reward (map h)