You don't have to head far from home for a decent bush hike.
1. Dome Forest to Matakana
Part of Te Araroa, The Long Pathway, this is a challenging day-long tramp (seven hours one way, so you'll need to organise cars) through regenerating native forest. Check out the lookout and Dome summit, and Waiwhiu kauri grove with ridgeline views. This is DoC land, but does cross private land, so stick to the forest roads. The Waiwhiu Stream may be unsafe to cross after heavy rain. Starts beside the Dome tearooms, 7km north of Warkworth on SH 1 (74km north of Auckland).
2. Mt Auckland Atuanui Walkway
A three-hour tramp up and back, through regenerating kauri and rimu forest. The puff to the top is worth it, with a viewing platform giving spectacular views over the Kaipara Harbour and Hoteo River estuary and beyond. This is sacred iwi land - an experienced eye can spot old midden and camp sites. 3km down Glorit-Kaipara Hills Rd, off Kaipara Coast Highway (SH 16)
3. Mt Tamahunga Walkway
Another tramping track in the Te Araroa - The Long Pathway, this 6.5km tramp takes you up to the summit of Mt Tamahunga through regenerating native forest and on to Rodney Rd (allow three to four hours one way). Get a spectacular view of Omaha from a rock lookout near the summit. Carpark and signposted track entrance 1km down Omaha Valley Rd (off Leigh Rd), Matakana.
4. Okura Bush Walkway
Minutes from suburbia, this walk is always a treat, through coastal kauri forest along the Okura estuary and the edge of the marine reserve to Karepiro Bay and historic Dacre Cottage. You can keep going all the way to Stillwater (three hours one way). Some hills and slippery bits. Good views of Karepiro Bay and the Hauraki Gulf. Okura entrance from Haighs Access Rd, off East Coast Rd. Stillwater entrance Duck Creek Rd, off Spur Rd (off East Coast Rd).
Help stop kauri dieback by staying on the track, and disinfecting your gear before and after visiting kauri forests.