Prepare to get wet but also see beauty

19:36, Nov 07 2012
RIVER WALK: Department of Conservation indicative map of the Waipapa River Track.

Waipapa is a small township in the Bay of Islands, around 10 minutes drive from Kerikeri.

Being inland, Waipapa has no beaches, but does have a landing named after the Waipapa Stream and is surrounded by countryside with many beautiful walks.

The Waipapa River Track is one such walk.

This two-day walk is for experienced trampers or those travelling with experienced walkers, who should come fully prepared and carry a topographical map of the area.

The Department of Conservation map shown is indicative only.

Until early 2006 it was a direct through-route to Forest Pools.


Due to changes in the depth and course of the river, the middle section of the track has now been diverted up the Walnut Track away from the river and returns via Puketea Ridge to follow the lower section to Forest Pools.

You can access Waipapa River Track from the Puketi Recreation or Forest Pools Picnic Areas, as well as from the link tracks leading from the Pirau and Mokau Ridges.

The two day 22 kilometre track takes you along the Waipapa River through a very rich bush with many mature kauri trees.

There are numerous river crossings in the upper sections of the track.

The walk demands a good standard of fitness and many river crossings are necessary

Trampers should be prepared to get wet and care must be taken in times of flood and high rainfall.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and sit out high river levels.

Suggested two day tramp: The tramp to Forest Pools begins from the Puketi recreation area and takes you to Camp Creek, the recommended camping site - a basic site with room for about 6 tents.

Return upstream 500 metres to pick up the Walnut Track and carry on up Pirau Rd to take the Pukatea Ridge route, which eventually runs back down to the Waipapa River Track again and emerges from the forest at Forest Pools.

It is a scenic tramp following the Waipapa River through the heart of Puketi Forest and passes through regenerating shrub land, podacarp hardwood forest and mature kauri.

Please take care when you leave the State Highway as you will be travelling on unsealed roads.
The Forest Pools Camping Ground is situated in the bush right next to the Waipapa River.

It’s a great place to swim, tramp and relax and is for single night camping only. It is a basic DOC campsite with a composting toilet and river water.

Number of tent sites: 12. Access: Car or foot, single night camping only, fires are not permitted, toilets near Waipapa River Track, no dogs due to risks to wildlife and you will need a permit to hunting.
Do not leave cars at Forest Pools over night due to the risk of theft.

For further information visit

Bay Chronicle