Nestled underneath Te Mata Peak on the outskirts of Havelock North, a large grove of 223 California redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) stand over 40 meters high. The tallest living tree species on Earth, these redwoods were planted in 1927 by The Chambers Family who recognised Hawke’s Bay’s climate shared similarities with coastal California. Over time the trees have clustered together, with their tapering crowns and horizontal branches creating an enormous parasol and remarkable forest that is easy to explore on foot.
Drop the car off at the ‘Main Gates Car Park’ at the base of Te Mata Peak and take your pick of paths to follow. Hop on the ‘Big Redwoods Track’ for the shortest and most direct option to the Redwoods. Taking approximately 1 hour, this rugged yet relatively flat 2.7km loop offers unparalleled views of the Heretaunga Plains, native bush and, of course, the slumbering giants. The forest floor littered with russet coloured leaves and stoic roots combine to create a stunning backdrop perfect for an afternoon picnic, wedding or just a refreshing spot on a scorching summer day.
Fortunately, the trees have a lifespan of 2,500 – 3,500 years so there’s plenty of time to put on your walking shoes and plan a trip to see them!