Breadcrumb navigation

Takapuna Beach home to ancient fossilised forest

A tall tale remains

Published: 11 May 2021

At the northern end of Takapuna Beach curious-looking basalt formations can be seen across the shore platform at low tide.

Ever wondered what they are?

These formations are the fossilised remnants of an ancient forest?

The cylindrical moulds were formed approximately 200,000 years ago during the eruption of nearby Lake Pupuke volcano, when the sea level was much lower than it is today. Lava flows engulfed the forest and encased their lower trunks. The trees themselves were incinerated by the hot lava but the shape of their trunks and fallen branches were preserved as the lava cooled and solidified around them.

The size and symmetry of some of the moulds that have been preserved suggest that some of the trees are likely to have been kauri. The most impressive of these is a 1.6-metre diameter, 3-meter-deep tree cast, located beneath a protective grating about 100m north along the coastal walkway from Takapuna Beach. A 1.2-metre-wide imprint of a fallen trunk, believed to have belonged to a kauri, can also be seen preserved in the lava flow at Takapuna Beach.

In some locations, arches connecting the tree moulds can also be observed. These formed when the top of the lava flow cooled and formed a hard roof. Some thicker areas of the roof remained, creating the arches still seen today.  Takapuna Reef Fossil Forest is one of the best examples in the world of a lava-preserved fossil forest and is scheduled for protection as an Outstanding Natural Feature in the Auckland Unitary Plan.


Introduction to Composting Courses

Learn the basics of composting at home with online and in-person courses.

Rogue rambler receives fine of $5700 in first kauri dieback prosecution

The offender found guilty of breaching Auckland Council’s Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw by entering closed tracks in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park in 2019, was today convicted of three offences and fined a total of $5700 and ordered to pay court costs of $130 by Judge Tremewan of the Waitākere District Court.

Aucklanders thanked for fighting kauri dieback

Non-compliance with kauri dieback measures on our region's tracks has gone down 30 per cent over the last two years.