The west coast between the Hokianga and Kaipara Harbours was once densely forested with its majestic namesake kauri trees. It was the centre of New Zealand’s booming 19th century timber and gum industry and was heavily logged for shipbuilding and for house building in Australia and the west coast of the United States. Kauri trees were instrumental in rebuilding San Francisco after the devastating 1906 earthquake.
Impressive kauri forests do still remain, however, including ancient Waipoua Forest, which is home to the awesome Tane Mahuta, the largest tree in New Zealand. Today, the Kauri Coast is mainly a farming region, specialising in kumara (sweet potato), but the kauri forests, the 100km drivable Ripiro Beach, and overall unspoiled feel make it an interesting, off-the-beaten track place to visit. There’s a Kauri Museum in the town of Matakohe.