They make the perfect team
What you need to know
I often hear people say there is nothing to do in Russell over winter…
so I am prepared to challenge that theory. Ok yes, a lot of shops shut down in town over winter. We thought people were exaggerating about Russell becoming a ghost town in the winter, turns out, it is kinda true. Outside of town, there are still some pearler locations awaiting someone to explore them, like the Twin Bole and Kauri Grove walking tracks.
***Edit: These tracks are currently CLOSED to the public due to the spread of a disease that is killing native trees. Suspected re-opening unknown***
How to get there
The Twin Bole and Kauri Grove walks are on the Russell/Whakapara Rd. If you are coming from Paihia, cross the car ferry to Okiato, or from Russell follow the signs towards Rawhiti. The Kauri Grove will be on your right.
From Whangarei continue on Russell road, when it eventually veers off to the left.
The drive out to the “Twin Bole Kauri” tree, is a very pretty, but windy gravel forest road. Enjoy the awesome trees towering over you along the way. More Rimu, Puriri, Totara and Kauri trees galore. Be sure to be aware though of oncoming vehicles with drivers who know these roads quite well! Not a lot of room for large motorhomes or campers. These roads have very few turning points.
There are two walking tracks down this road, a 45-minute loop walk, and the “Twin Bole Kauri Track”, which is only a 5min walk! Easy peasy. So we went to this one first.
The “Kauri Grove Walking Tracks”
are one of the pearlers that is a great little activity to do any time of the year. Walking a track in the rain, puts a different spin on being in nature, as the canopy shelters you, like a big umbrella stretching across the treetops. So with a good raincoat, a beanie, and some good footwear, we soldiered on through the drizzle to find the forest gems set out before us on this Twin Bole walking track, and its neighbour track the Kauri Grove.
The Twin Bole Kauri track
is a short 200m loop walk for viewing and getting close to an ancient kauri tree which has naturally separated into two huge trunks. I learned that the “Bole” in botany is pretty much the bottom of a tree trunk.
This track is kind of like your instant gratification scratch and wins lotto ticket, short and sharp.
But it is pretty impressive and a nice introduction into the Russell State Forest/Ngaiotonga Scenic Reserve.
The rotting trunks of other trees aren’t a natural phenomenon but are a result of the damage inflicted by workers bleeding the trees for gum. You can see the huge ugly scars and holes in the trees from this along the track.
This twin legend, a double whammy of our giant Kauri Tree species, so tall, strong and sure of themselves! Go and admire these two strong heads. They make the perfect team.
Next, we pile into the truck and drive on to the next track.
The Kauri Grove Walk
Along the Kauri Grove track are some signs dotted along the way, telling you more about different tree specimens. The kids really enjoyed pointing them out to us, and it quickly became a “spot the sign” game. “What this one say, guys?” Mstr 3 would ask. Cutting us off again when we tried to read it. Hard to stay focused when you’re 3. A very do-able walk with small children.
Life lessons with the Joneses
I’m not gonna lie. The kids did moan and wondered why they were out here in the bush, in the rain, when they could be home watching tv and eating our house out of crackers. The good old Kiwi saying, “you’ll be right” was repeated throughout the walks, and we even broke out some songs for distraction, and we are not a singing family. Stopping to look at different things along the way, a couple of mandarins and some chips and drink breaks also helped.
Trees that really stood out to me
One was a tree that was growing ears on its trunk! (Jews ear fungus) For real! Apparently, we ship the ears off to China! OR used to? It is a Chinese delicacy that often grows on dead wood or a dead part of a living tree. I found this quite fascinating, and the ears really did feel like ears!
The Northern Rata
That Rata though, it’s a little bit cheeky. Instead of standing firm in its own rooted foundation, DOC says, “The Northern rata usually begins life as an epiphyte, a plant perched on a host tree. Its roots grow down to the ground, finally enclosing the host tree and producing a huge tree up to 25 meters tall with a trunk of up to 2.5 meters wide.”
A good reminder, that if you do not stand firm in who you are, and what you were created to be, you make yourself vulnerable for something else to take root in your system. Given that, you could also see it as a positive, that vine could be there waiting to help build you up from the inside out, eventually bringing you to fruition.
The above epiphany I had while doing this walk, reminded me of this quote.
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. John 15: 16
Help stop kauri dieback
- Stay away from kauri tree roots.
- Clean your footwear and gear before and after visiting kauri forest