The Hokianga Harbour is home to the Wairere Boulders. Huge boulders form the Wairere valley. The valley is located near Horeke in the Far North of Northland, which is a part of the North Island of New Zealand. Parts of the valley have been transformed into a New Zealand Nature Park similar to a National Park. It's a great Adventure in Northland and one of the best things to See and Do in Northland. We are close to the Bay of Islands, Russell, Paihia, Kerikeri, Kaitaia, even Dargaville and Whangarei.

We are an "Official Partner" of the "Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail" sometimes called "Coast to Coast Cycle Trail" or "Twin Coast Cycle Trail" from Opua via Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Okaihau to Horeke connecting the Bay of Islands to the Hokianga Harbour.

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TV NEW ZEALAND 09.01.2007

Reporter: Billlie Jo Hohepa (now Ropia) 
Camera: Vaughan Scott

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Northland boulders draw tourists

A surprise geological find on a farm in Northland is drawing tourists from around the world.

The stunning rock formation at Horeke - the Wairere boulders - lay hidden for more than 100 years until a Swiss couple stumbled across it, thanks to their goat.

Felix and Rita Schaad bought the overgrown land in 1983 on arriving in New Zealand, not knowing it had a hidden secret.

It was four years after they had moved into their remote valley farm when the couple stumbled over the ancient treasure trove, while out catching wild goats with their dog.

Approaching the goat, Rita says they found rocks piled on each other looking like a river of stones.

After discovering their humble home was hiding a geological piece of paradise, it was always their intention to show it off to the world. But their dream was only realised six years ago when the determined couple began building pathways by hand through their jungle oasis.              
                           
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View from top
Picture: View of the upper part of the Wairere valley looking downwards towards the Hokianga Harbour. Thousands of boulders are stacked on top of each other. They look like a stream of rocks, frozen in time, flowing down towards the sea.

It is one of the most awesome activities and an exciting adventure to explore this unique Tourism Attraction. The valley, formed by basalt boulders,  features an easy walk and tracks and the unique walking possibilities make it an outstanding site of eco-tourism or nature tourism.
We are open every day  during daylight hours!!

The length of the basalt rock amassments on the valley floor is 1 1/2 km. There are thousands of boulders stacked on top of each other, some around 30 m high. They look like a stream of rocks and boulders flowing down towards the Hokianga Harbour.

At a first look, everybody thinks the rocks are a limestone formations because of their deep cuts called fluting, but it is actually basalt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Photo: fluted rocks


The markings on the boulders in the Wairere  Valley are called fluting, karst, clints, lapiez or solution pits. Often it is referred to it as pseudocarst Fluting can be the cause by stream and water erosion or by pyroclastic flows. In our case however it is caused by acidity. It is the result of chemical leaching by acids generated by the Kauri forests that used to exist in the area.
Read about the Cause of the Fluting
In the early days of New Zealand settlement, parts of the valley were logged and mainly Rimu (type of timber) was extracted. The river was dammed to flush logs down through the canyon. Some logs from that time are still stuck between rocks, boulders, and old stumps can still be found in the bush near the upper part of the boulder area.

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Log from logging time of early settlers stuck between rocks

The site of the saw mill (the first water driven mill in New Zealand owned by William Webster is still to be seen. New Zealand's first steam mill, imported as well by William Webster was initially built at the Hokianga Heads but later moved to Wairere. Remnants of the loading facilities to ship timber down the Wairere river to the Hokianga Harbour are still to be seen.
In the early days there was a complete village, called Wairere, on the left valley side. It is to be found on older maps and was mainly for housing of timber mill workers. Some of the locations of dwellings can still be detected and some bits and pieces of old china prove that there were people living here in the early settlers' days. The first written report about the boulders, we are aware of, is in the Maori Journal,  written by  John Webster,  the younger brother of William Webster.
Later the interest in the valley faded. We know that on the bottom end there was some livestock farming to produce cream at the beginning of last century and in 1946 the old milking shed on the right valley side was abandoned. A new milking shed was then erected on the left valley side. The old cottage was transformed into a hay barn, but we later restored it to its original beauty. (For more detail see the Schaad Homepage)

When we (Rita & Felix) purchased the valley in 1983, nobody had an interest in the area. It was considered to be too tough to live in that valley and neither livestock farming nor growing timber seemed to be a valuable option.

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Track leading through bush.  An incredible wealth of ferns, palms, native trees and bird life can be experienced while strolling along these tracks.

But we were attracted by the picturesque beauty of the place. We decided to fence the bush and boulder area off, so no livestock could enter and destroy its stunning uniqueness. In 1984 we built some walkways for ourselves and friends to be able to stroll through the rich sub tropical
bush. Since then more and more people have wanted to see our wonder of nature.
It was always our wish that many people could enjoy the stunning site of our valley.  This wish finally came true and we hope many more people will enjoy the magnificence of our part of the valley.

To be able to show our place to bigger groups of people, we had to improve our tracks, mainly the parts where one needed to climb over rocks, which are very slippery under wet weather conditions.

As Felix is a New Zealand and Swiss registered civil engineer, we decided to build a platform, as well as small foot bridges and stairs throughout the valley. It was a very dangerous and labour intensive job. Rita had to secure Felix on many occasions on a rope to make sure he did not disappear in one of the 30 m deep gaps between some boulders. Most construction material and the tools had to be transported down to the valley floor by a flying fox. The power for the tools was generated by a mobile unit stationed about 70 m away from the construction site.

Tiber "flown in" with flying fox
7 m long planks for bridge beams lowered down into the valley with a flying fox.

We hope you enjoy your stay at Wairere Boulders, be it here with us in New Zealand or be it on our Website in cyber space.

Picture: view from the platform down the valley towards the Hokianga Harbour

   
Photo: View of the platform from down the valley.
  

Massive basalt blocks are the main feature of the "National Park"


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Only For Visual Addicts !!!
Look at these fantastic rotational pictures called,
"Spherical Panoramas", courtesy of
Andery Kharuk from Digital Studio in Auckland

Click on one of the following images to go on a full size rotational picture. Move your mouse pointer into the picture, click, hold and drag to turn the view, use Shift and Control to zoom in and out.
You can also use the navigation bar in the pictures,
click on and you get a new tool bar




Between rocks and a hard place,
click on image to go on a full size rotational picture.
Courtesy Digital Studio

 


The Wairere river during a low summer flow,
click on image to go on a full size rotational picture.
Courtesy Digital Studio
 

 


A mixture of rocks and subtropical rainforest,
click on image to go on a full size rotational picture.
Courtesy Digital Studio

 

 

Mysteries await you in every corner between the rocks,
click on image to go on a full size rotational picture.
Courtesy Digital Studio
 

    


The Nikau palm is a New Zealand native, the slowest growing palm,
click on image to go on a full size rotational picture.
Courtesy Digital Studio

 


The "Kissing Rocks" can be seen on the way to the platform,
click on image to go on a full size rotational picture.
Courtesy Digital Studio

 

Schools can get a
sample for a
RAM
Risk Analysis and Management Systems Form

here.
 

Here is our pamphlet, you can print it out on your home PC

 

See our information panels

Customes often search us under the wrong names, for instance Waiwere Boulders, Waiwera Boulders, Waiare Boulders, Wairera Boulders, Wairare Boulders, Waiere Boulders, Waitere Boulders, Wairere Adventure Park.  But we are called Wairere Boulders it is the name for our Nature Park. The valley is properly called Wairere Valley.  We also produced the name Wairere Boulder Valley. This is not an official name and the denomination is our intellectual property. 
 

 

 

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