1 Rankers Review
This walk is a unique forest experience. Tropical-like fronds of youthful nikau dominate large areas of the understorey, while the massive columnar trunks of kahikatea rise beyond the canopy. Meanwhile the gnarled white trunks of puriri rise in convoluted forms. This association between kahikatea and puriri is a rare occurrence.
From central Gisborne follow Ormond Road and Back Ormond Road 9 km to where Gray’s Bush is signposted on the right. There is a parking area at the start of the track.
A network of tracks weaves through the forest, which can be combined to form a walk to suit your requirements.
The track surface is generally even although frequently interrupted by roots which slither over the forest floor like swarms of snakes. It is tempting to be distracted by the luxuriant vegetation but you should also watch your step.
The 12 hectares of Gray’s Bush is one of the few remaining forest remnants in the Gisborne Plains, where land clearance for conversion to pastoral activities has removed much of the forest cover. Although the understorey has been severely modified by cattle and sheep, the dense stands of kahikatea and luxuriant nikau fronds create an enchanting atmosphere.
Charles Gray was born in Huntingdon, England in 1840 and spent time at sea in his formative years. In 1870 he emigrated to Queensland, where he found employment as a farm worker. After moving to New Zealand, he purchased Waiohika Farm and became a notable member of the community.
In 1914 the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Napier proposed the purchase of Kowhai Domain to form present day Gray’s Bush, however the Minister of Lands vetoed the idea. Following Gray’s death in 1918, his Trustees approached the Minister, K.S. Williams, in 1924 with over £3,000 to purchase the domain. It was gazetted in 1926 and a domain board appointed to manage the day-to-day running.
They cut tracks and employed a caretaker to keep the picnic areas stocked with firewood and the facilities maintained. This arrangement continued until 1979, when guardianship was handed back to the Crown.
North Island ▷ Out East ▷ Gisborne
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 😍