Author And Researcher
I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.
I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!
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Its hard to believe this magical pocket of native forest is so close to the heart of New Plymouth. It was bought from local Maori in 1905 and after a period of logging was turned into a scenic reserve.
Follow Urban Route 1 until it meets Urban Route 5 (Tukapa Street) near the suburb of Marfell. Continue 1 km until the road bears sharp right into Cowling Road. Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve is signposted down a gravel road after 1.9 km, where there is a small parking area with picnic tables.
At the entrance to the track is a map of two loops, which virtually form a figure of eight.
It is no surprise the walk is named the ‘Nikau Walk’, as the dense understorey is garnished with their arching fronds. A canopy of tawa and large leaved kohekohe infuses the interior with intense greens.
The even track descends via steps to a footbridge, then branches shortly after. Left is the long loop, right the short loop. Both exit at the bottom of the grassed area near the entrance to the reserve.
The prevalence of tawa, kohekohe, pukatea, rewarewa, nikau, titoki and puriri creates a luxuriant coastal forest assemblage, which differs from many other forest enclaves in the region.
The name ‘Ratapihipihi’ is said to be derived from the practice of snaring birds in the area. Waiting hunters in rata trees would make a call which sounded like ‘pihipihi’, by blowing through a leaf held in the mouth. This attracted kaka, which could then be killed by clubbing. Some young Maori boys would occasionally take kaka home as pets and tame them.
North Island ▷ Taranaki ▷ New Plymouth
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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 😍