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.
A map at the carpark helps you find your way around, and to identify the trees.
I followed the sign for the toilet, rather than following the road in, and ended up on the track marked 5.
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.
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.
Along Hill Road the trees are identified with signs, so I can tell you that those in the picture below are 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.
Algae covered pools seem to inhabit most of the low areas of this hilly terrain.
The beautiful setting below is where the connecting road from Hill Road meets 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.
The fork of Low Road and Multnomah Road also shows interesting contrast.
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.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 20 pictures below.