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.
If you are heading north of Auckland, either to the Bay of Islands or all the way to the Cape Reinga or anywhere in between, if you can, allow time to stop and explore the kauri trees.
First, be inspired …
Parry Kauri Park – our favourite of the things to do in Warkworth
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 some stairs and areas of hard-packed dirt.
The McKinney Kauri
Named to honour Rev McKinney, the first minister of the Presbyterian Church in Warkworth and the Mahurangi, this 800-year-old McKinney Kauri greeted us as we walked towards the boardwalk.
Take a look at the group of students standing at the tree’s 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.
The students were learning a bit about Kauri, the largest native tree species in New Zealand, which grows only in the subtropical north portion of the North Island. A thousand years ago, when the first people arrived on the island, there were many more kauri forests. 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 intermixed stairs 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, which contains 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, 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. Follow signs to Warkworth Museum.
Other things to do in Warkworth
The Warkworth and District Museum is actually located in Parry Kauri Park. This local museum shares the history of the region. You’ll want to stop here before heading to the boardwalk and pick up a free brochure that will help you to identify the native trees and shrubs found throughout the park.
Inside the museum, you will find more about kauri trees and the gum-diggers who worked with them, including plenty of photos, tools, kauri gum, and even a bushman’s hut.
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 friendly farm and exotic animals and to learn the story of New Zealand wool. 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 and reserve your Sheepworld entrance here.
Things to do in Warkworth – nearby towns
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 for wine tour discounts and reserve your tour here.
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.
In the evening, look for kiwi birds at Tawharanui
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 Northern 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 kiwi bird tour discounts and reserve your tour here.
Discover marine life at Goat Island
Nearby Goat Island is well known as the place to see marine life either via snorkelling or on a glass-bottom boat. If you’re into kayaking, one of the newer ways to enjoy the marine life is on a clear kayak, allowing you to move through the water at your own pace yet see everything below.
Snorkellers can just head into the water on their own. However, if you are new to snorkelling or prefer to have a guide, there are snorkel tours available.
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 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 for discounts on this great day out to Kawau.
Save on your NZ trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Accommodations: we use Booking.com (hotels) or BookABatch (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Campervans or Motorhomes: we use Campstar where Albom Adventures readers get a 3% discount
- Activity discounts: we check Bookme.com for discounts of up to 70% on activities.
- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
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What’s your favourite of the things to do in Warkworth? Have you walked through Parry Kauri Park?
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The only problem with your posts is that they give me the itch to travel, and I’m not feeling safe to do that just now!
Our Ancient Kauri is more than 45,000 years old. Numerous independent radio carbon dating by world experts confirm that at more than 45,000 years old, the buried Ancient Kauri recovered in the far north of New Zealand by Ancient Kauri Kingdom, is amongst the oldest of all Ancient Kauri found and certainly the oldest workable wood in the world by a long, long way.
bettyl - NZ
They are just amazing trees. I haven’t been to see this one, but maybe soon!
Beautiful photos Rhonda – I would love to get to New Zealand, and these kind of boardwalks are always a really fascinating way to get up close to some of the world’s most protected nature. I love that you took a shot of the spiderweb – lol why I try to avoid them at all costs while hiking, I have realized through my husbands shots that they do make for beautiful photos!!
Suze The Luxury Columnist
What a fascinating article, I’ve never seen a kauri tree so it was great to find out more about them. It must have been a tough gig fitting such a tall tree into your shots!
The Kauri trees seem to be the brothers of the Sequoias: they look huge! I never heard of them before, so this was very interesting. New Zealand seems to enjoy a very unique vegetation.
holy moly – those are some really tall trees!
I have never seen a kauri tree. I would love to go to that park. As you know, I love taking pictures of trees. I’d spend all day there just snapping away.
I love that picture of the spiderweb!
I drove past Warkworth to get to Whangarei, not knowing that there was a kauri forest, although I got to see Tane Mahuta. These are amazing but fragile trees. Have you seen the swamp kauri in Awanui?
Tane Mahuta is the Lord of the Forest, the largest in New Zealand. If you were heading up there, you didn’t need to stop and see McKinney Kauri. Yes we have been up to the top and seen the swamp kauri. Our girls haven’t been up there though, so maybe it’s time for another road trip.
I really like the cobweb in the sunlight. Brilliant image.
I love super old trees. We just went to a state park, and they have a tree that’s in the shape of an S. It’s dead, but they don’t want to cut it down.
That spider web is so cool!
Indah Nuria Savitri
always love the ferns ..and lush green trees. It must be a lovely walk over there..
What a magical place, beautiful photos..
Great pictures and something fun to share with my son that he can share with his teachers. Thanks for posting.
Fabulous pictures!!! The one with the spider web is co cool xx
What a great looking tree – I am in the early stages of planning a trip to NZ – so, this is another place to add to the (already long) list!
Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne
I haven’t checked out that place, is it anywhere near the quarry?
Parry Kauri Park is right next to the Warkworth Museum. It’s south of Mahurangi College. From State Hwy 1 turn on Mckinney Road (which has a sign for the Warkworth Museum) when the road ends make a right and it’s less than a minute from there.
Whoa! Never seen anything like these. Great pics.
The Kauri trees look very large and interesting!
There are many giant redwood and sequoia trees in the state of California in the US–some of them are thousands of years old!
What a magnificent tree and a gorgeous place! I love big, old trees. I always think of all of the events that have occurred during their many centuries of life.
So, now you can go tree climbing.
Awesome photos! I love the perspective of having so many (tiny) people standing at the base of the Kauri tree. I’ve never been there, and it looks amazing.
The forest looks gorgeous to explore, great that you added the tip about no prams or wheelchairs.
Very impressive! Looks like a great place to take time out and marvel at nature, which is always good to do.
Lovely post, love how you captures the cobweb, it looks great 🙂
Interesting post through a nature walk with beautiful captures.I really like the capture of spider web.
Paul F. Pietrangelo
I love forests. When I was teaching, I would take my class into this special forest and there was this part where the dirt would smell like root beer. That amazed the students. Spiders, well that is another things. I hate spiders, any type of spider. Yuck!
Have a beautiful Tuesday Rhonda. See ya.
Those are so beautiful. Very nice. Need to save my pennies for New Zealand.
What a great place, so green, the trees are amazing!!! I would love to visit, but for now through your lens is perfect!! Karren
Looks like a wonderful visit
I don’t think I’ve seen any tree quite that old, but they are beautiful. I love mature trees! Lovely Photos!
Alex J. Cavanaugh
That’s a big tree.
Looks like a beautiful place to explore. I really dig the spiderweb shot.
Teresa from NanaHood
I think that I shall never see a thing as lovely as a tree?
That’s a line from a poem and I don’t think I got it exactly right, but you get the idea.
Have a great week!
Great post, Rhonda! The park and boardwalk trail look wonderful. I love the huge Kauri Tree. I would like to explore that boardwalk, it looks so lush and green. Beautiful images, thanks for sharing your visit. Have a happy week ahead!
The spiderweb picture is beautiful
Hi! The Kauri tree is very big and awesome. I enjoyed your post very much. Thanks for sharing.
I would love to visit here. So beautiful and so green. Awesome shots.
Redwoods are the biggest trees I’ve ever seen. We have a redwood forest here in California that is quite breathtaking.
Have a fabulous day Rhonda. 🙂
Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)
I am in awe of the size of this tree! I havent seen something as big as this. Thanks for sharing. Amazing. Nature is just amazing!
I was really glad there were people standing nearby as it give the perspective needed to see how big it really is.
Hi Rhonda .. amazing trees – fascinating to read up a little about them and see them. I’d love to do that board walk .. and 45 minutes is about what I can do now – but must stretch out shortly. Love the photos too – the cobweb and those huge ferns … glorious … cheers Hilary
Interesting post Rhonda I liked the photos very peaceful and love the one with the web 🙂
Have a webtastic week 🙂