Two walks of about 2km
1-2 hours
No dogs on this trail
Information for this trail was last updated June 2024

Hackfalls Arboretum, featuring 50ha of rare shrubs and trees around natural lakes near Tiniroto, was founded by dendrologist Bob Berry. The arboretum is especially beautiful when there are spring flowers or autumn colours. It is reputed to have the largest collection of oaks (Quercus) in the Southern Hemisphere, concentrating on Mexican oaks, and the moderate-sized homestead garden has many unusual herbaceous and alpine plants including New Zealand natives. Four hectares of original forest together with the 50ha arboretum have been protected by a Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenant since 1985.

The many small lakes around Tiniroto were formed by landslides about 7,000 thousand years ago. The tree collections, gardens and lakes at Hackfalls Arboretum can be enjoyed with a variety of walks - the "lake walk" circumnavigates Lake Kaikiore going through the scarlet oaks and the Azalea/Rhododendron area; the "ridge walk" overlooks Lake Karangata and surrounding countryside, and meanders past collections of holly oaks, rowans and specimen pine trees; and the "Karangata walk", closer to Karangata Lake, mainly comprises oaks, including the Mexican oaks Hackfalls is best known for, and Sorbus aucuparia. A short walk goes through native bush. 

Hackfalls Arboretum is open daily. Adults $12, children are free. A lovely farm stay cottage is available to book. Link to Hackfalls Arboretum website

History of the trail

Hackfalls Station was first named Abbotsford by its original European owners, the Whyte family, who immigrated to New Zealand from Scotland. The Whytes acquired the Tiniroto property in 1889.

The Berry family bought Abbotsford in 1916. Bob Berry was born that same year and grew up to be a farmer, inheriting the property in about 1950. Bob developed a special interest in trees for their botanical interest and beauty, and focused on growing oak trees, particularly Mexican oaks.

The property's name was changed to Hackfalls in 1984 when Bob's niece Diane Playle and her husband Kevin bought into the station and ran the stock side. The name was chosen as the original Berry family lived in Hackfalls Wood, Yorkshire, England.

Bob was then free to concentrate on the arboretum. In 1990, he married English horticulturalist Lady Anne Palmer, who established Rosemoor Garden in Devon. Anne's expertise proved invaluable at Hackfalls as she extended the existing homestead garden and introduced a variety of new plants.

In 1993, Hackfalls Arboretum was made a charitable trust and now has over 3,000 rare trees and shrubs growing across 50ha.

The name Tiniroto was coined by surveyor and ethnologist Stephenson Percy Smith in response to the many lakes in the vicinity but contravenes the rule of Māori grammar, which normally places the adjective (in this case tini:many) after the noun (roto:lake).

Tips & Logistics

Hackfalls Arboretum is located at 187 Berry Road, Tiniroto. Tiniroto is a small settlement on State Highway 36 between Gisborne and Wairoa. From Tiniroto, follow Ruakaka Road for two kilometres, where Berry Road branches off. Hackfalls Arboretum is about 3km up Berry Road - 67km from Gisborne and 40km from Wairoa.