This outstanding dense podocarp forest is situated on relatively gentle terrain, comprised of a series of uplifted marine terraces. It is part of the largest area of lowland coastal forest in New Zealand.

Dr David Bellamy described the Waitutu forest as “probably the most important forest in the world”. Thirteen distinct terraces have been mapped from the coast to over 1000 metres above sea level, and up to 12 kilometres inland. These terraces have been uplifted over an extended period of time, with each level approximately 100,000 years older than the last.

The forest contains rimu, miro, totara and southern rata, also kamahi, lancewood, ferns, orchids, etc. It provides safe haven for wood pigeon, tui, bellbird, and many other native species.