Tag Archives: redwood

Trees of the American northwest in Holt Forest

The Holts were inspired by a year working in the conifer forests of the American northwest to create their own “forest of fine trees” in New Zealand. They spent over 45 years collecting and planting over 500 species of indigenous and introduced plants. In 1962 Holt Forest was designated a wildlife sanctuary and gifted to the people of New Zealand.

Holt Forest
Holt Forest

A map at the carpark helps you find your way around, and to identify the trees.

Map of Holt Forest
Map of Holt Forest

I followed the sign for the toilet, rather than following the road in, and ended up on the track marked 5.

Entrance
Entrance

It showed recent work, which is a good sign that the forest is tended. Holt Forest is in the middle of nowhere, and I saw no signs that other people were there during my visit.

The forest was immediately reminiscent of the American northwest. New Zealand bush usually looks very different.

Conifers in Holt Forest
Conifers in Holt Forest

The work only went so far along the track however, and it didn’t take long before it became very difficult to even recognize as a track. I found this to be true of many of the tracks, which are shown on the map as dashed lines.

I retreated to Multnomah Road, cut over to Low Road past The Lake, and continued along Hill Road.

The Lake
The Lake

Along Hill Road the trees are identified with signs, so I can tell you that those in the picture below are mixed cedars.

Mixed cedars
Mixed cedars

The most imposing giants in this forest are this pair of Eucalyptus obliqua, commonly known as Australian oak, brown top, brown top stringbark, messmate, messmate stringybark, stringybark, and Tasmanian oak, a hardwood tree native to south-eastern Australia.

Eucalyptus obliqua
Eucalyptus obliqua
Eucalyptus obliqua
Eucalyptus obliqua

Algae covered pools seem to inhabit most of the low areas of this hilly terrain.

Algae covered pool
Algae covered pool

The beautiful setting below is where the connecting road from Hill Road meets Low Road.

Low Road
Low Road

Here you can see the striking contrast between New Zealand and North American forest as the fern trees thrive beneath the sparse canopy of the much taller pines.

Fern trees and conifers
Fern trees and conifers
Fern trees and conifers
Fern trees and conifers

The fork of Low Road and Multnomah Road also shows interesting contrast.

Low Road and Multnomah Road
Low Road and Multnomah Road

I could spend more time in Holt Forest, enjoying the tall trees in quiet solitude, and exploring the wilder tracks.

Getting there is very enjoyable as well.  The landscape is pretty epic, and I get the impression that local farmers are by far the most frequent travelers of these roads.

Tangoio landscape
Tangoio landscape

Please enjoy the full gallery of 20 pictures below.

Piwakawaka Loop: redwoods, lemon eucalyptus, and fantails in Te Mata Park

Piwakawaka Loop is a 1.3km walk of about 40 minutes through Te Mata Park. It starts the same as 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park, in a clockwise direction from the Main Gates Car Park.

Near the start of 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park
Near the start of 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park

Soon the track ducks into a leafy tunnel. Green markers show the way.

Piwakawaka Loop diverges
Piwakawaka Loop diverges

I was surprised by a grove of redwoods that continues for some time. I’d only seen the other end of it previously, and never entered far into it. This is not the Big Redwoods Grove, but it is pretty big.

This grove was planted in 1974 by the Hastings Rotary Club with trees propagated by Don Wilson Nurseryman of Hastings using seeds imported from California. Redwoods seem to do well in New Zealand, and past residents of Hawkes Bay seem to have loved them.

Redwood grove
Redwood grove

This short loop track was given the Maori name for the fantails seen along the way. These curious little birds like to come up and say hello.

Piwakawaka (fantail)
Piwakawaka (fantail)

Lemon-scented eucalyptus are striking trees that always stand out from their surroundings. The essential oil of the tree is about 80% citronellal. Unrefined oil is used in perfume, and a refined form is used in insect repellents, especially against mosquitoes.

Lemon-scented eucalyptus - Piwakawaka Loop
Lemon-scented eucalyptus

The last part of the loop passes through the same landscapes as the beginning of Giant Circuit, and the end of some of the other walks in Te Mata Park.

Piwakawaka Loop
Piwakawaka Loop

Familiar sights include the view from the lookout near the Main Gates Car Park.

View over southern Hawkes Bay
View over southern Hawkes Bay

As I walk the tracks in Te Mata Park I get to know the park better as a whole while appreciating different areas and features. It’s nice to have a short walk like Piwakawaka Loop available, and its character makes it a unique Te Mata Park experience.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 8 pictures below.

Te Mata Park’s Giant Circuit

We both had the weekend off after arriving in southern Hawkes Bay, and it was a nice one.  We returned to Te Mata Park and walked the Giant Circuit.

We followed the park website‘s recommendation that we walk the Giant Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction, unlike all of the other signposted walks in the park.

Very near the car park there is a platform with a great view to the north and east toward Hastings and Napier and the bay.

Giant Circuit, near the Main Gates Car Park
Giant Circuit, near the Main Gates Car Park

Te Mata Park is very accessible.  It’s a large 99 hectare (about 245 acres) park with 5 well marked walks.  It has an epic landscape, with forests and cliffs and great views of southern Hawkes Bay.  The best views are from Te Mata Peak, the highest point in the park at 399 meters (about 436 yards)).  The landscape demands that I shoot lots of panoramas, both horizontal and vertical.

Redwood Grove, planted 1974, Giant Circuit
Redwood Grove, planted 1974, Giant Circuit

I knew that we’d pass a grove of giant redwoods, and I thought we’d arrived when we reached the grove shown above.  A plaque informed us that this grove was planted in 1974.  The Giant Redwoods grove was planted in the 1930s.  As I’ve come to realize, past residents of southern Hawkes Bay loved planting redwood trees.

Giant Circuit climbs steeply out of grove and valley to the top of the surrounding cliffs.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The track then follows the ridge along the western border of the park.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The redwoods in the Big Redwoods grove are a lot larger than the ones we saw earlier.  The grove itself is larger too. There’s a 3rd redwood planting somewhere in Te Mata Park.

Big Redwoods grove
Big Redwoods grove

The track continues through a beautiful valley below some picturesque cliffs. This valley extends along most of the southern end of Te Mata Park. On the left, in the pic below, is one end of the ‘Hogs Back’ ridge whose opposite end is Te Mata Peak. The Rongakako Trail follows the top of this ridge.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The cliffs of Te Mata Park are composed of erosion-resistant limestone. Originally deposited in horizontal layers on the seabed, they were “tilted and bowed upward by the geological forces of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. The features of Te Mata Park are a result of the earthquake fault which runs from Wellington in the south, through the Ruahine ranges to Hawke’s Bay”.

Te Mata Park's southern valley
Te Mata Park’s southern valley
Southern Te Mata Park
Southern Te Mata Park

At the end of the ridge above a view opens up of the farmland of the Tuki Tuki region south of the park.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park

The ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track is fairly new, and very steep.  It was already in shadow on this winter late afternoon.

Bottom of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track
Bottom of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track

We took it slow, and enjoyed the improving view as we climbed.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park

The pic below is a comfortable walk away from the Te Mata Peak car park, still looking over Tuki Tuki.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak
Approaching Te Mata Peak
Approaching Te Mata Peak

There are many more pictures from the top of Te Mata Peak in my blog post on my first visit.

Looking southeast from Te Mata Peak
Looking southeast from Te Mata Peak

Walking the landscape between Te Mata Peak and the Saddle Lookout provides new angles on familiar landscapes.

Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay
Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay

This dog made me a bit nervous, coming up beside me as I stood near the edge shooting this panorama.  He ignored me, and took in the view before continuing on his way.

Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay
Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay

A last stretch of forest took us away from the road.

Last stretch of bush
Last stretch of bush

When we emerged from the trees everything was painting in the golden light of early evening.

Palms in golden light
Palms in golden light

From there it’s a short walk back to the Main Games Car Park.

Fall colors
Fall colors

Te Mata Park is an impressive place.  I look forward to exploring more of it.  I think I need to get a mountain bike so that I can explore the many trails dedicated to bikes.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 31 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.

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