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New Zealand: Waitakere – The Kauri trees of New Zealand

The Kauri trees are endangered so it’s really special when you can go into a forest and see quite of few very old ones. The Arataki Visitor Centre goes to great lengths to preserve and protect them. You can climb up a high trail and see then at the top reaching for the sky. The circular cluster is called The Cathedral.

New Zealand: Waitakere – Ferns of New Zealand

In the trails outside the Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere NZ, you can get lost in the sea of ferns.

New Zealand: Waitakere – New Zealand’s Silver Fern


The silver fern has been a symbol of New Zealand since the 1880s. To Maori, the shape of the fronds stood for strength, resistance, and power. To other New Zealanders, it’s exemplifies their homeland as it grows throughout the country from the North Island down to the coast of the South Island. It is the most abundant of all ferns in New Zealand. You can find it on all kinds of souvenirs. We bought sports socks with ferns on them as a momento of New Zealanders who enjoy lots of physical activity. 

New Zealand: Waitakere -Arataki Visitor Centre

You can take quiet walks in Waitakere’s Arataki Visitor Centre. These steps lead up and up and up to the treetop Cathedral of ancient Kauri trees. Worth the walk.

New Zealand: Waitakere – Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere NZ

It’s surprising to find this peace and quiet in this amazing location outside the Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere so close to the bustling city of Auckland. These steps take you eventually up up up to the sky view. 

New Zealand: Waitakere – Life From Death

We liked it when this sign on an Arataki trail in Waitakere NZ teaches us how dead trees are a life system for other life forms: slaters, cockroaches, millipedes, wetas, spiders live on the decay.

New Zealand: Waitakere – Weta in New Zealand

Look closely and you can see a live Weta which lives at the Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere NZ. Wetas are so old that they have outlived the dinosaurs. They’ve hardly changed in 100 million years. They are nocturnal and are among the heaviest insects in the world. There are about 100 different varieties of Weta in New Zealand.

New Zealand: Waitakere – Inside the Arataki Visitor Centre

You just never know who you might meet when you travel. This wooden sculpture of a male is inside the Arataki Visitor Centre and Himione Heketarere is carved on the bottom.


New Zealand: Waitakere – Views from outside the Arataki Visitor Centre

From the Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere, you can see the Hauraki Gulf (Pacific), Rangitoto, and north past Auckland city centre. If you gaze south past Auckland Airport, you’ll glimpse the Bombay Hills and west will lead your eyes to Manukau Harbour (Tasman Ocean).


New Zealand: Waitakere – Hotel Weta

Outside the Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere NZ, you can often see a local bug, the Weta in this hotel especially built for them. The second image is what they look like. Wetas are over 100 million years old (they knew the dinosaurs!) and haven’t changed much in all that time.