On January 25 2015 the Napier Family Tramping Group made a trip to the Holt Forest at Waikoau, a little village near lake Tutira in the east of the North Island.
The Holt Forest is an arboretum that was established by Harold Holt, a local business man, and his wife. The forest has an area of 15 hectares (38 acres). In 1933 they started planting trees, shrubs and plants over a period of 45 years. There is a variety of over 500 different species. In 1962 the land was donated to the people of New Zealand and is now run by the Holt Forest Trust.
We set off from our meeting point at the Napier airport layby at 9.30am. Follow SH2 north past Lake Tutira and turn left into Waikoau Rd, follow the road to get to the entry of the Holt Forest, just past the Waikoau settlement.
We parked the cars on the south side of the Napier-Gisborne railway line, where there is a picnic table. There is also a big sign showing the map of the forest with all the tracks and numbered points of interest. The entry to the forest is just across the railway line and we roughly followed the points of interest as shown on the map.
You first go to the right to do a loop over a hill, where some Scotts Pine and Douglas Fir are planted. At that point the track is covered with tiny ferns, which make it look and feel like a carpet.
Then it was on to the Redwood Grove. These Redwoods are not as gigantic as the ones in the Redwood Forest in California, but still quite impressive.
Then the track goes past The Lake. The water looks green, because it is covered in duckweed. Still beautiful though.
Further down the track we saw lots of different species of trees. Some of them what they call exotic trees, the trees that are not native or endemic to New Zealand. Like all the different pine trees and different type of eucalyptus trees.
Some of the native trees we saw are the different type of fern trees, the very distinct rimu tree and the kahakatea.
After our walk through the arboretum we decided to have lunch at the nearby campsite at Lake Tutira. To get there you drive back towards SH2, turn right and follow the road until the entrance of the Lake Tutira camp site on the left. There are actually 2 camp sites. The first one is right next to the road and the second camp site, where we went, is about 600m furter down along the lake.
We had lunch at the picnic shelter and went for a walk up the hill behind the camp site from where you have beautiful views over the lake and the surrounding hills.