Last Updated: 20th Dec 2023


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Puketi Forest Loop

Kerikeri, Northland

Submitted by Chris Taylor

Last Updated: 20th Dec 2023


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Dec 2020: Waipapa River Track and Walnut Track are currently closed. If you have an update please email us.

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Grunt Factor: 28 ?

Gnarl Factor: 34 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +8.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







There is a farm track / road called the Pirau Ridge Track running along the South of the campsite and then turning in a southerly direction. Find this road and start running south along it before turning westwards after about 400 metres. Stay on this track. The track gets narrower and at about the 9km mark there is a fork. Keep right and travel northwards generally towards the Walnut Track (see DOC Website).

Follow the Walnut Track all the way until it meets up with the Upper Waipapa River Track (see DOC website). Cross the river (there are a number of river crossings) and head in a general easterly direction along the Upper Waipapa River Track. Follow the track all the way back to the start.

Fantastic large Kauri trees along track, particularly in Walnut Track section.

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Good parking at the trail head. There are showers (cold) and toilets available.

21 km

25 minutes




The track is marked with orange DOC trail markers. It can sometimes be a bit hard to see the next marker.

Very patchy.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map

Plenty of water in river along Upper Waipapa River Track. You should boil or treat before drinking. Recommend taking hydration packs with a couple of litres of water.

We ran in mid-winter. Track was often slippery and muddy. The river had a bit of a flow, but the river crossings were not that difficult. I would avoid if there is heavy rain as I suspect that the river flow could rise rapidly and make the crossings more difficult.

Slippery and steep bits, especially near / next to river crossings.

The Pioneer Restaurant & Bar
Good hearty food and a nice bar for a few quiet post run beers.

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Trail Reviews

My first Wild Things trail run did not disappoint. I gentle start with 10km was undulating forest track and final 10km some technical single trail & lots of river crossings. Found it tough going at the end & mistakenly did not take any fuel or water.

Kirsten Blake

January 4, 2019

A fantastic loop, well worth a stop at. I ran it the other way, it's quite a steep slog up the Walnut Track, but that gave plenty of time to admire the massive Kauris. The Campground at the Puketi Forest is really handy to stay the night, and the Ngawha hot springs are not that far away if you prefer that idea to a cold shower.

Kate Annan

December 10, 2017

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