I traveled north in New Zealand to see the giant Kauri trees that grace the Waipoua Forest there. They are the oldest and largest trees in the country, some aging over 2,000 years. Being the tree lover that I am, the Kauri Walk was one of my favorite walks during my time here.
The different walks in the forest were all easy with small slopes and curvy paths, many elevated on wooden boardwalks to protect the Kauri’s delicate root system. The forest was lush with green growth and teeming with life. Plants grew upon other plants. Fine moss decorated tree stumps like frosting. The Kauri’s leather-like trunk was home for other life and they adorned trunks like green grass boas. The cicadas hummed as they do on most New Zealand paths and birds called in melodic whistles from above. Part of the forest’s energy seemed to rub off on me as I walked slower than usual trying to savor the scenery. I tried to take each step with purpose and observe all the nature around me, knowing that soon I would be onto the next country and entering city life again soon.
It’s difficult not to look up on these paths of giants. One of my favorites was the seventh largest Kauri, named Yakas. I almost dismissed this path at the thought of something being seventh and therefore came to the conclusion it must not be that exciting. However, this trail was the one I liked most and Yakas was impressive. Many of the Kauri trees are not close to the designated path and you see them from a distance. Yakas bordered the wooden walkway and the boards were cut to follow the tree’s shape. I sat with my back against this beauty and meditated in silence under her branches. My life was just a tiny fraction in the length of this tree’s. What could I see over the span of a few thousand years? Why did my life have to be so short and this tree’s so long? After questioning life some more, I visited another beautiful spot along the path, Cathedral Grove, with a deck reaching out into a large cluster of great trees. It indeed felt holy and I felt moved by all the abundant and ancient life in the area.
Other trails led to more giants like the Four Sisters, four giant Kauris growing in a circle. The 2nd largest Kauri, Te Matua Ngahere, was also noteworthy being wider than most and invoking a sense of awe. Last but not least, down the road a kilometer from the rest was, Tane Mahuta, the largest of them all. He clearly was the ‘Lord of the Forest’ standing 51.5 meters tall as tourists gazed up, looking like worshippers in his towering presence.
A local guide led a group under the tree god and started to sing an ancient Mauri song about Tane Mahuta. It held me captive and fit the moment perfectly. I’ll leave you with this song that I recorded in the sacred space that was created by the music, and the magic of nature.
About the Kauri – To find out more about the Kauri and the walks available visit this website.
Where I stayed – I stayed at Globetrekkers Lodge just north of the Kauri area. The lodge was right near the beach, clean, affordable and had a selection of rooms from single to dorm style. Hammocks out back and lots of outdoor seating with the sound of the ocean in the distance made this a relaxing place to stay.
Off the Grid – This area has poor wifi and cellular coverage. Be prepared to be unplugged while visiting and just enjoy nature.