Parry Kauri Park is home to some of New Zealand’s oldest and tallest native trees. Strolling through the tall trees is probably my favourite of the many things to do in Warkworth and the nearby New Zealand towns.
A relaxed, residential community about an hour north of Auckland, Warkworth offers a few surprises to its visitors.
Aside from Parry Kauri Park and its native kauri trees, there are crystal clear beaches and hours of hiking trails inside several regional parks, wildlife to be spotted, farm animals to enjoy, a museum, and wine tasting.
Generally, we bring visitors to walk through Parry Kauri Park. Then we head into town to enjoy a meal or a coffee before choosing from the other things to do in Warkworth.
First, be inspired …
Parry Kauri Park
Parry Kauri Park is home to the two largest living kauri trees on the east coast of New Zealand. It’s an ideal place to stop and stretch your legs if you are headed up north or a great destination on its own.
There is a walking loop track with several lookouts and strolls ranging in length from 10 to 45 minutes. Although mostly boardwalk, there are several sections of stairs and some areas of the trail area is hard-packed dirt.
The McKinney Kauri
Named to honour the first minister of the Presbyterian Church in Warkworth and the Mahurangi, Rev McKinney, it’s the 800-year-old McKinney Kauri that greeted us as we walked towards the boardwalk of Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth.
Take a look at the group of students standing at its base as they offer a bit of perspective on size, although it’s difficult to see that the tree has a girth of more than 7 metres. In fact, the McKinney kauri tree is estimated to be the largest kauri tree on New Zealand’s east coast.
They were learning a bit about Kauri, the largest native tree species in New Zealand, growing only in the subtropical north portion of the North Island. There were many more kauri forests 1,000 years ago when the first people arrived on the island. In fact, Kauri remained prolific until the European settlers arrived in the 1700-1800s.
Kauri can grow to over 50 m tall, with trunk girths up to 16 m, and live for over 2,000 years. New Zealand’s largest, Tane Mahuta, is on the West Coast of the North Island. When we drive around the top of the North Island, we can see both trees.
Today, they are protected. If you want to learn more about the history, past uses and current threats to this masterpiece of nature? Check out the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
Maori legend tells us that anyone can place both their hands on the 800-year-old kauri tree, close their eyes and make a wish.
Parry Kauri Park loop track
The boardwalk winds through the dense trees. It’s an easy walk, although the steps suggest it is not very accessible for strollers or wheelchairs.
Well signposted there are loop options with the shortest being only about 10 minutes to the first viewing platform of a bird feeding station.
It only takes about 30-45 minutes to walk the entire loop and the result is a peaceful calm that often lasts for days.
Where is Parry Kauri Park?
Parry Kauri Park is about an hour north of Auckland by car (64 km), just before the township of Warkworth. The town is part of the Auckland region.
Specifically, the park is off of Tudor Collins Drive in Warkworth. It’s several minutes off the main road and has a carved wooden entrance sign.
Other things to do in Warkworth
You will find the Warkworth Museum adjacent to the same car park you used to get to Parry Kauri Park.
Enjoy a meal, coffee, or just a stroll along the river
Warkworth town centre is home to several delicious cafes and restaurants. We like to stroll along the Mahurnagi River boardwalk and just enjoy the day.
Ever wonder about all those New Zealand sheep? Spend a few hours at Sheepworld and you will be sorted. There is an opportunity to get up close to a variety of friend farms and exotic animals, and to learn the story of New Zealand wool, but the real highlight for me is the Sheep and Dog Show, which currently only runs on the weekends, and on school holidays at 11.30 am. Check for discounts.
Matakana Wine Tour
If you are staying in Warkworth, you might enjoy a full-day wine tasting tour that visits three of Matakana’s best wineries. Tour pick up starts in Warkworth (or Auckland or Matakana) and travels through the stunning Matakana region. Not only will you try wines, but you will also share a gourmet lunch platter. Check the for discounts and be sure to read the reviews
Head to the beach
There are some stunning beaches in the area, including three Auckland regional parks, Tarwharanui, Mahurangi, and Wenderholm. Each is home to plenty of great hiking tracks and beautiful beaches. And, if you don’t want to visit a park, then just head to the white sands of Omaha beach.
Take a cruise out to Kawau Island
Leaving from nearby Sandspit, the Kawau Island Super Cruise will follow the Royal Mail delivery route around Kawau. Did you know that was the longest watercraft mail run by in the Southern Hemisphere? Ideally, you’ll enjoy bird and marine life before going ashore and visiting the Mansion House and some of the walking paths. There’s even an ancient Māori Pa site and a seashore copper mine. Check or discounts on this great day out to Kawau.
In the evening, look for kiwi birds at Tawharanui
A real highlight for many, as seeing these nocturnal birds in the wild is a rare treat reserved for only a few. Experts know how to find them, and take small groups out to experience the Nothern Brown Kiwi bird habitat. Learning a lot about the birds, you will hopefully find one on your tour which heads out at dusk for a three-hour adventure. Check for discounts and read the reviews.
Booking tips for New Zealand travel planning
We often have affiliate partnerships with companies that we trust and recommend. We receive a small compensation if you make a purchase using these links. In some cases, the links can save you up to 70%.
First-time visitors start here: New Zealand travel guide or with our favourite New Zealand road trips.
Flights: We use Skyscanner to find all the available flight options at the best prices.
Rental Vehicles: For cars, we always use RentalCars.com, a rental car search engine with no hidden costs. For campervans, note that Spaceships Rentals NZ offers free one-way drop-off between Auckland and Christchurch.
**Albom Adventures readers can use your Visa card for 10% off Spaceships campervans this winter.**
Accommodations: We use Booking.com to find all levels of accommodations in most NZ cities.
Activity Discounts: We use Bookme.co.nz to find discounts on entry tickets and tours in New Zealand.
Travel Insurance: We purchase insurance that covers medical and travel emergencies when we head overseas. We start with World Nomads.
Packing Tips: Get a free copy of our New Zealand packing list when you sign up for our mailing list.
**Find more money-saving resources on our Travel Resources page.
Save for later on Pinterest
If you enjoyed this article please pin it or share it on social media.
Have you walked through Parry Kauri Park? Where have you seen kauri trees in New Zealand?
You might also like: