Our first visit to Puketi Forest, west of Kerikeri and south of Kaeo, was marred by steady rain that arrived just as we did. A group of about 30 sodden mountain bikers arriving at the same time from a misty 12km ride along one of the forest ridges, joined us in concluding that home was the best place to be.

But buoyed by sunshine a few days later, we returned for another walk and a look around. The forest, managed by the Department of Conservation, includes a pleasant camping area with an 18-bunk hut and a number of camp sites as well as an outside sink and a shower/toilet block.

There are several well-defined tracks, ranging from a 14-hour/21km one-way walk, to a one-hour/1.5km nature trail. We chose the latter and spent an enjoyable hour or so wandering alongside a great variety of vegetation from giant moss to large trees, including rewarewa and kahikatea, many of which are identified by clear signage. Our walk was…

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