Kauri Coast & Hokianga

The west coast of Northland is home to ancient kauri forests, wild windswept harbours, giant sand dunes, historic country towns and an impressive 153 shipwreck sites.

Waipoua me Hokianga a Kupe | Kauri Coast & Hokianga

This is a hauntingly beautiful area that stretches from Brynderwyn in the south to Hokianga in the north. It is home to the world’s oldest and largest ancient kauri trees, the first land Māori set foot on in New Zealand, our nation’s largest harbour and longest drivable beach, pre-historic rock formations and crystal clear freshwater lakes.  A guided walk in the kauri forests is a must.  Waipoua me Hokianga a Kupe = Waipoua (Grandfather Waters), Hokianga a Kupe (The departing place of Kupe)

  • Hidden gems
    • Wairere Boulders – a unique valley of boulders is up to 2.8 million years old
    • At Koutu take a walk to see the giant round boulders on the beach
    • Horeke Tavern is the first tavern built in New Zealand, and is at one end of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail
    • Kohukohu and Rawene have a vibrant arts scene with galleries featuring local crafts (connected by vehicle ferry)

      Twin Coast Cycle Trail
  • Dining

    Take in the magnificence of the Hokianga Harbour enjoying a glass of wine from restaurants and hotels in Omapere and Opononi. Rawene’s Boatshed Café is a gem sitting out over the water – try the fresh flounder if it’s on the menu. There is a new i-SITE Visitor Centre with a café at Opononi.

    Food, Wine & Markets

  • Shopping
    • Simply FUN in Rawene is fascinating for all ages.
    • Rawene’s art centre; ‘No. 1 Parnell’ is located in the restored Category Two Ferry House building which dates back to the late 1800s.
    • Village Arts in Kohukohu is well worth the visit, take a quick trip over on the ferry.  

    Markets Art Galleries

  • Getting there
    • Dargaville is approximately 2.5 hours’ drive North of Auckland and one hour drive from Whangārei airport
    • Omapere is approximately 3.5 hours’ drive North of Auckland and 1.5 hour drive from Bay of Islands Airport

      Transport options
Waipoua me Hokianga a Kupe / Kauri Coast & Hokianga

Must dos

→ Water taxi to giant sand dunes for extreme sand boarding
→ Take a guided night walk in a kauri forest
→ Meet Tane Mahuta, ‘Lord of the Forest’ – stand in awe
→ The Kauri Museum tells the story of Kauri and a pioneering past
→ Mangungu Mission, site of largest signing of Treaty of Waitangi

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Towns & Villages

  • Kaiwaka – Gateway to Northland

    Browse the shops and cafés of Warkworth with its history of steamboats and scows. Walk through Te Hana’s traditional 17th century Māori Village, then stop at Kaiwaka - known as the ‘little town of lights’ – which has a fantastic cheese shop specialising in Dutch deli foods.

  • The Kauri Coast

    Prepare to be awed by this journey of dramatic contrasts. The Kauri Coast road-based journey showcasing Maungaturoto to Omapere takes you through farmland and villages of the wild, beautiful untamed West Coast, then further north to the peaceful shelter of the kauri forests. This journey will lead you where loggers and gumdiggers of days gone by travelled, but please do your bit for the preservation of kauri by following all instructions at forest and trail entrances.  Despite their immense size and strength these giants are fragile, and now it is our turn to protect these great guardians of the forest.

    Follow the Ancient Kauri Trail touring route from Maungaturoto to Omapere, one of the Northland Journeys. From the wild, untamed West Coast, to the peaceful shelter of the kauri forests, this is an awesome journey of dramatic contrasts. Follow the road through the Kumara Capital till you reach the ruggedly beautiful West Coast beaches, and on to the ancient kauri forests further north.

    Download The Ancient Kauri Trail

  • Baylys to Ripiro

    Ripiro Beach stretches for 100km between Pouto Point & Maunganui Bluff. Baylys Beach is great for camping or relaxing in a café. Pouto, with its lighthouse and old shipwrecks is great for quad biking over the dunes, harbour cruises, digging for shellfish or netting for fish.

  • Hokianga Harbour

    More than 1000 years ago Kupe and his people were the first to arrive in New Zealand landing on the shores of Hokianga Harbour. The area was also one of the first points of Māori and European contact. The landscape slowly transposes into another era along the road from Bay of Islands to Hokianga. Little white churches are characteristic of the north, and picturesque old buildings are tenanted only by the horses grazing in the quiet countryside. You may pass local kids, sometimes three-a-horse riding bareback – this is part of the charm of the Hokianga. Many of these sights can also be enjoyed by cycling on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail from Opua to Hokianga.

    Twin Coast Cycle Trail

  • Rawene, Kohukohu and Horeke

    Horeke, a picturesque little port town was the first settlement in the Hokianga and the second oldest town in New Zealand. With its houses built on piles, the first tavern ever built in New Zealand in Horeke, there is some fascinating history to discover. Rawene, New Zealand’s third oldest European settlement has great cafés, craft shops and the historic Clendon House. Hop on a ferry to see some amazing scenery and enjoy the Victorian village of Kohukohu. The nearby Wairere Boulders is the only valley worldwide of its kind where there are thousands of boulders stacked on top of each other, some around 30m high.

    Hokianga Ferry Timetable

  • Omapere & Opononi

    As you approach the seaside settlements of Omapere and Opononi you’ll notice the immense sand dunes of Niua – the northern head of the harbour. A walking track leads to an old signal station on Arai Te Uru, the south head. Take a boat trip across the harbour to the giant dunes where you can try dune surfing, and take a walk on the beach between Koutu and Kauwhare where you will find the Koutu Boulders, one of the Hokianga’s best kept secrets.

  • Waipoua Forest & Trounson Kauri Park

    Waipoua Forest is the domain of ‘Tane Mahuta’: Lord of the Forest, and ‘Te Matua Ngahere’ (Father of the Forest) - New Zealand’s largest and oldest living kauri trees. Learn of legends, gods and myths on a guided journey through Waipoua Forest, or explore the forest trails and discover the giant kauri trees, on your own. Trounson Kauri Park is a predator-free mainland ‘island’ of kauri forest and native wildlife and is a window into the ancient and pristine kauri forests of New Zealand. Guided night-time walks are a chance to encounter thriving native species, including kiwi, in their natural habitat.

    Ancient Kauri Forests

  • Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary

    At Omahuta, a 30-minute loop track leads you through a stand of mature kauri where you can admire their sheer size and majesty. Please respect these sacred treasures.  You can go on a longer loop walk by carrying on from the 'Hokianga Tree', the sixth largest kauri tree in the country, along the Pukekohe Stream Track and back to Sanctuary Road.

    Department of Conservation

  • Kai Iwi Lakes

    Dream of a place of sheer beauty that was created more than 1.8 million years ago for the delight of kiwi campers - and you have Kai Iwi Lakes. The crystal clear freshwater dune lakes of Kai Iwi and surrounding landscape are great for walking, swimming, and sailing, wind surfing and kayaking. Or cast a fly and try to catch a trout.

  • Dargaville

    Nestled beside the Northern Wairoa River, Dargaville has a rich heritage of kauri logging, gum digging and shipbuilding, brought to life at the local museum. Local galleries specialise in kauri timber and swamp kauri products. Further along State Highway 12 you can climb the amazing Tokatoka Peak - the core or plug of an ancient volcano. The kumara (sweet potato) growing area of Ruawai is just south of Dargaville. The Dargaville Museum offers a fascinating look at the area’s history, and hosts shipwreck relics including the mast of the ill-fated Greenpeace protest ship Rainbow Warrior.

  • Matakohe, Paparoa and Maungaturoto

    The deservedly famous Kauri Museum in Matakohe attracts visitors from all over the world. The grounds consist of a pioneer school house, original church and museum – you can spend hours interacting with the hands-on displays. Enjoy charming Paparoa’s charming historic buildings and character guesthouses and Maungaturoto’s quirky collection of shops.

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