Fig 1. Lee Rapira – Warawara 2017 Digital Image

Warawara is locally known as the ‘spirit forest’ as well as a mountainous forest. It is home to many threatened and endangered species including New Zealand’s smallest bird, the Titipounamu or Rifleman.


Description of the Warawara Forest track from the Department of Conservation –Te Papa Atawhai website

The track runs through the Warawara Forest ending at Pawarenga in the north or Mitimiti in the south-west.

To walk this track comfortably it is recommended you set aside two days to complete, camping overnight in the forest.

From Mitimiti, the track begins very steeply and quickly climbs up through manuka/kanuka shrub, leading into broadleaf forest until you reach the summit. You will pass through stunning kauri forest, and you can get beautiful vistas over the forest out to the coast from many places along the track. The climb up to the summit is steep. A moderate degree of fitness is required to attempt this track.

Along the track, you come across an historical kauri slab hut approximately 2 hours in. Situated 900 m west of the highpoint Umawera, at an altitude of about 350 m, the hut you see today lets you step back in time to life in the Warawaras during the 1940s, before chainsaws and four-wheel drives.

From here, follow track markers through broadleaf forest, until you reach an old logging road. Once on the road the grade over the track is gentle.

It is recommended spending the night in the forest before finishing in Pawarenga. The second day you pass through an area now recovering from logging, before the track ends in Pawarenga. There is also an option for a round trip, which takes people back to Mitimiti via the beach.

Getting there
Start at Mitimiti: From Kaitaia travel west on Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd. Turn left to Herekino. Head to Broadwood. Turn right towards Pawarenga/Panguru. Follow to Pawarenga Rd, then left onto Runaruna Rd, right onto West Coast Rd. Follow until you get to Mitimiti. Signs indicate the start of DOC track.

Start at Pawarenga: From Kaitaia travel west on Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd. Turn left to Herekino. Head to Broadwood. Turn right to Pawarenga/Pangaru. Follow to Pawarenga Rd, then to the end of this road. Signs indicate start of DOC track.

Know before you go
No fires.
This track requires a high degree of skill and experience, and route-finding ability. It is suitable for well equipped trampers with topographical maps and compass.
During winter months or after heavy rainfall track will become muddy.
Be fit and self sufficient.
Take care with river crossings, especially after rain. If in doubt, sit it out.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
keep to the tracks. If you become lost – stop, find shelter, stay calm and wait for searchers to find you. Don’t leave the area unless you are absolutely sure where you are heading.
What to take
Take adequate food and clothing on your trip and allow for weather changes and possible delays.
Carry water as streams along the way can dry up over summer.
Take insect repellent.
Toihu te whenua – leave the land undisturbed
Respect our cultural heritage
Protect plants and animals
Remove rubbish
Do not cut or remove vegetation
Light no fires
Keep to the track
Consider others
Enjoy your visit


Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawhai.
Retrieved from – http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/northland/places/warawara-forest/things-to-do/warawara-forest-track/
Accessed 7 June 2017


Fig 2 – Warawara track
Topo50 Map Reference Sheet AW26
Retrieved from – http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/northland/places/warawara-forest/things-to-do/warawara-forest-track/
Accessed 15 June 2017

Fig 3. Wilcox, Sarah – Overlooking Mitimiti from the Warawara track
Retrieved from – http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/northland/places/warawara-forest/things-to-do/warawara-forest-track/