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Kauri tree (Agathis australis)

kauri tree

New Zealand's largest tree species is also one of the world's largest and longest living trees. The kauri is a conifer that is found north of about 38° south, at the top of the New Zealand's North Island. The tree has small narrow leaves and smooth bark. Kauri forests are some of the world's oldest and its ancestors date back to the Jurassic period, 190 million years ago.

The best living specimen of the kauri is an ancient tree known as Tāne Mahuta (meaning 'Lord of the Forest' in Maori). The tree is New Zealand's largest known living tree, with a height of 51.2m (168ft) and a 4.4m (14ft) diameter trunk. The tree is located in Waipoua Kauri Forest, Northland, and is thought to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old. According to Maori mythology, Tāne is the son of Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatuanuku, the earth mother, and he created the space and air where all living things dwell by pushing the sky and the earth apart with the strength of his legs. 

Kauri forests, now protected, were extensively logged from the mid-1800s onwards and by 1900 the majority of the forests had been cut down. The largest recorded kauri tree was known as the ‘The Great Ghost' and had a trunk diameter of 8.5m (28ft) prior to being killed by fire around 1890. The timber is very strong and was sought after for boat-building and house constructions. The gum for the trees has also been dug up from swamps and exported for use in linoleum and varnishes.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    A Great Eight Days

    My wife, Shanen, and I had a goal of running a marathon on all seven continents and our seventh took place on March 18, in Rotorua, NZ. So two days after completing our goal, we returned to Christchurch and met up with our guides, Hillary and Dan, along with our fellow travelers. As good fortune would have it we all clicked as a group and off we went.

    For the remainder of our journey it was clear that both Hillary and Dan took great joy in what they do. Furthermore, and of great importance to us, they ensured meals had met our vegetarian and vegan needs. We were never made to feel our dietary needs were inconvenient to them and they were handled in such a way that all of us were able to enjoy our group meals.

    The actual adventure was well planned out and the expectations of each day were always explained. Our group was one that started together, made sure all finished and enjoyed the adventure.

    John Edmundson Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Tui, April 2017
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    Everything we hoped for and MORE.

    This was my first trip to New Zealand, and to the southern hemisphere. We had dreamed of this for many years, and it was so much more than we had even hoped for. So many memories and highlights: Morning alpine glow on Mt. Cook. Any day that it was sunny and you could see those amazing mountains. Turquoise alpine lakes. The day we spontaneously stopped at a deserted beach on the west coast, and saw Hector's dolphins frolicking. The picnic on the hill at Braemar's station. The nights at Braemar, the laughing and wine. Racheal (our guide) encouraging me and talking about growing up on a sheep farm while hiking up Key Pass. The stars at night - the Milky Way and upside down Orion! The mystical drive down to Milford Sound in the fog and light rain, and the clearing while on the boat. Going under a waterfall and just yelling in joy. The amazing, kind, funny and interesting people we met on our tour. If you are even thinking about it - go! You will not be disappointed.
    Jeannie Puglisi Review Image
    – Connecticut, United States
    Kiwi, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Best Trip Ever

    You go hiking, exert yourself, see spectacular views, and you think "this is the best day, it can't get better than this." Then you go kayaking, see wildlife, lush rain forest and red tinted water, all with the backdrop of snow capped mountains, and you think "no, this is the best day, it can't get better this. Then you go biking along a teal colored river and through a birch forest with snow capped mountains ringing a suddenly peaceful lake and you think, "okay, THIS is the best day." And then you drive to Milford Sound, gawk in awe at waterfalls tumbling down towering cliffs along the road and you get to the Sound and you kayak with dolphins, and you come to the realization, "this is my New Zealand trip, every day better than the last," so that on your last day when you are lying beneath the stars, staring at the Milky Way and the Southern Cross, you know you've experienced something beyond special.
    Tanya Karimi Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Rimu, March 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Last 5 Days Kauri

    So much packed into just a few days. From walking to tops of (several!) mountains to floating through underground tunnels, plus geothermal springs and Maori culture. A whirlwind central North Island adventure!
    Matthew Gonser Review Image
    – Hawaii, United States
    Kauri, January 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Lots of fun, great guides

    Guides Phil & Jo kept us busy with a variety of fun activities. The time just flew. I'd love to join another trip led by Phil & Jo.
    Rich Partridge Review Image
    – New York, United States
    Kauri, March 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

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Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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