The Wairere Boulders – A Must See Destination In New Zealand

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

A simple hike that’s so much more.

Having chosen to stay in one place for a while, I’ve been fortunate to make many new friends as they pass through, staying next door to me. I’ve mentioned Jess and Aaron, my American neighbors who helped me survive lockdown before they made a run back home for a job. Then there were my lovely British neighbors, Angela and Peter, who ran home to clean their house in England to be ready for their pending sale, only to learn the sale fell through. ☹ My latest neighbor/friend is Sara, from Mexico. I’m also lucky because she, like Angela and Peter, has a car!

koutu boulders new zealand

Flashback to the Koutu Boulders which I reviewed in a previous blog post.

Copyright, 2020. Heather Markel.

So Many Great Features In One Place

Angela and Peter took me to the Waireire Boulders a few weeks ago, after we visited the Koutu Boulders. But, we didn’t have time to walk around. I vowed to return since there’s a Magic Rock walk, fairy houses, and, most importantly, Highland cows! Having forewarned Sara she would have to pull off the road if there were a good set of cows to photograph, we drove off to see the Wareire Boulders, and let me say, it is one of the most wonderful days I’ve spent in New Zealand, so far.

A Unique Convergence Of Time And Nature

I thought I was going on a magic fairy walk. Instead, I learned I hiked among one of the most unique geological sites, in the entire world. Specifically, the way the erosion in this area caused fluting in the rocks, is not seen anywhwere else in the world. Apparently, fluting is fairly common to see on limestone, but the boulders at Wareire are basalt, so this type of erosion is very rare to see.

fluted rocks at Wareire Boulders

I learned that 2.8 million years ago, the whole area we walked would have been covered in thick native bush, with Kauri a major species. The Kauri trees cause silicate rock to turn into soil rich in silica – a process that takes 5,000 years! This type of soil is highly acidic and causes the erosion of basalt, and as rainwater carried it over the rocks, this caused the beautiful fluting that can be seen today. But wait, there’s more! The kind of fluting seen in these rocks can only happen if said rock is in the same position for at least 1,000 years. For that to happen, they have to be large enough that they would be slower to roll down the hills, over time.

rolling hills at Wareire Boulders

The Joy Of Being Exactly Where You Are

Walking through the forest is a plethora of experiences. First, time ceases to exist. There’s no hurry to go anywhere but where you are. It’s equally wonderful to cop a squat on a rock and stare at nature around you, as it is to walk along the path. In many areas, the fluted rock is your path, and the blend of nature and man-made walkways is fascinating. Sometimes, I didn’t think I’d fit in the hole between two rocks, and was amazed I did!

A Quest For Fairies!

Next, there’s an eternal hunt for fairy doors, and it’s magical to find them. The first one I saw was taking the path to the “Dragon’s Cave.” I found the Dragon’s Cave gift shop, no doubt because I’m short and easily notice things on the ground, as opposed to higher up. (One of two reasons I’m so glad to be petite! The other being when I’m sitting in economy on flights…) There are also funny faces to happen by, always good for a laugh. They and the fairy doors always took me by surprise. Here are a few of them:

dragon cave souvenir shop Wareire Boulders
fairy door at Wareire Waterfall
funny face in the rocks Wareire Boulders

Size That Baffles The Mind

It’s amazing how big and small the property is, at the same time. You can kayak through water running along the woods, and you can hike for hours, only to be able to return to the car park in less than 10 minutes. Truly, magical. Sara and I braved the hike to the Magic Rocks. One of the interesting things you’ll see hiking in New Zealand is these man-made steps to climb over a fence, such as this:

Latin Fit dance class in Kerikeri

See Trees And Learn About Kauri Dieback

Tree species are marked as you walk along. I have no idea what many of them are, but the kauri is spoken about much of the way through. They are amazing trees that can survive more than 1,000 years, though older than 1,700 years are now rare to find. The Tane Mahuta (god of the forest) is the oldest, thought to be around during the time of Jesus Christ. I was lucky enough to visit it another day.

Latin Fit Kerikeri

Kauri trees are known for the gum, which produces gum Arabic. Sadly, their future is at risk. It started when they began being cut down for timber in the 1800s. Animals introduced to New Zealand are one threat, with the possum at the top of the list. The biggest threat appears to be “kauri dieback” which kills kauri of all ages. It’s caused by a fungus that lives in the soil and infects the roots of the tree, thus starving it to death. This is why we’re asked to always walk on trails, never veering off and risking that bacteria from our shoes could kill these precious trees. Strangely, it is a relatively recent appearance, and is to Kauri trees something like coronavirus is to humans.

Magic Rocks at Wareire Boulders

The Magic Rocks. Copyright 2020, Heather Markel.

Magic Rocks…And Cows!

We passed out of the woods and onto rolling green hills, almost mimicking the fluting of the rocks. Another fairy door awaited us in the stump of a tree. We continued onwards and found a gigantic set of boulders at the very, very top of the property. Rather stunning. I felt the size of an ant standing next to it. Upon hiking down and speaking with Graham, who’s from Scotland and I believe owns the property, I learned that all the boulders on the property started up by this one hulking giant. In fact, it’s the last remaining boulder that hasn’t rolled down the hillside, ergo, magic rocks.

Magic Rocks from Above at Wareire Boulders

Of course, the best part about the walk is the cows! I couldn’t believe that I missed seeing them my first visit. They’re just down from the car park. Though most of the herd was out for a walk, I was able to get a few to pose for me.

An Unexpected And Understated Visit Well Worth The Time

I can’t help but feel that if this site were in America, it would be hyped up, on every tourist pamphlet, there would be tons of tourists crowding the trails, and it would cost some ridiculous amount of money to get in. Here, in New Zealand, it’s just beautifully understated. Signs will lead you there, or you can ignore them. There’s a donation request of 15 NZD (about $10), and you won’t see many tourists.

While I expected a 3-hour hike, what I got, instead, was a walk through timelessness. I got to feel like a kid in search of fairies, and to learn about geology and nature in ways I never expected. Not only am I happy I returned here, but if you ever come to New Zealand, I would rank this as a number one spot to visit, and plan to spend an entire morning or afternoon to truly enjoy it. If you have longer, there’s a café, and you can even stay either on the camping ground, or the bed and breakfast. Check out the Waireire Boulders website for more information.

view at Wareire Boulders

The Waireire Boulders – a view from the start of the hike. Copyright 2020, Heather Markel.

Getting There

The Waireire Boulders are located on New Zealand’s North Island, about 45 minutes drive west of Kerikeri. There are no buses, so you’ll need a car to drive there. See the map below for a better idea of it’s location.

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.






Costa Rica


New Zealand








2 + 9 =

Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

Ready to start a more fulfilling life but can’t figure out the money part? This eCourse may be your answer! Click here for more details.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: