The efforts of the Kaharoa Kokako Trust, DoC, Environment Bay of Plenty and volunteers have been rewarded with an increase in bird numbers in the Kaharoa Conservation Area and a commensurate improvement in the health and diversity of the forest. Since the Trust’s formation in 1997, 47 kokako have been successfully bred. If you’ve never heard the note of a kokako then here is the best place to experience their haunting melody.
From Rotorua, follow Fairysprings Road, Ngongotaha Road and Hamurana Road, then turn left into Tauranga Direct Road. Kaharoa Road is a further 5km on the right. Turn left into Kapukapu Road after 3.4km, which becomes unsealed. The track is a further 8.3km.
You will need to park in the large parking area on the right and walk 10 minutes along the road to the signposted start of the track.
After 10 minutes of walking along the road, the formed, unmarked and uneven track follows the ridge of a spur to the Onaia Stream.
Return by the same route after exploring the edge of the stream. Take care, as the mossy rocks can be very slippery.
The haunting melody of the kokako’s song is an unfortunate rarity in the New Zealand forest. Since the introduction of predators such as rats and possums, competition for food and predation of chicks has led to a worrying decline in numbers. The total population is now estimated to be approximately 1,500 individuals.
If you attempt this walk in the morning you may be fortunate enough to appreciate the dawn chorus or catch a glimpse of the kokako’s steely grey colourings and striking blue wattle below the black mask of facial feathers.
North Island ▷ Rotorua Region ▷ Hamurana
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍