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Wairere Boulders, a prime landmark of Hokianga and a world unique natural phenomenon of Northland
Map of Hokianga Harbour and surrounding
Have a play with big balls, the Koutu Boulders in Hokianga !
Canyon eroded out of Sand Dune, forming the northern part of the Hokianga Heads.

The Hokianga [3] is a region surrounding the Hokianga Harbour in Northland, on the North Island of New Zealand. It is sparsely populated and has many little clusters of houses in a very rural setting. The density of population is lower than one per square kilometre. A good place to relax and chill out.

The icon for the Hokianga is the Kauri tree. 75 % of all Kauri are in the Hokianga which has four protected Kauri forests (Waipoua in the South-West, Omahuta to the North-East, Warawara in the North-West and Puketi in the East.


  • Horeke — the oldest Hokianga town and second oldest European settlement in New Zealand
  • Kohukohu — a historic town with interesting buildings and many artists
  • Koutu — an agglomeration of houses on the Koutu peninsula
  • Opononi — town on the south side of the harbor that became famous through "Opo", the dolphin
  • Rawene — a picturesque village on a peninsula jutting into the harbor

Other Destinations[edit]

  • Waima Valley (valley along the Waima river with settlemens of Taheke and Waima}


Its full Maori placename is Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe - the returning-place of Kupe, the legendary polynesian discoverer of Aotearoa (New Zealand) about 800 - 1,000 years ago. The entrance to the beautiful harbour is guarded by two headlands that legend tells are the taniwha who accompanied Kupe to this country. The North Head is called Niniwa and the South Head is Arai-te-Uru. The eleven rivers that feed the Hokianga are the paths their children made.

The population is about 6,000- 7,000 of whom 60% are of Maori descent, Te Rarawa iwi in the north, Ngapuhi iwi in the south. Many people are descendents of some of the early Europeans as well as being able to trace their Maori ancestry back to Rahiri.

In recent times, the remoteness of the Hokianga, combined with a lack of investment in the region gave it a reputation as being one of the most poverty stricken parts of the country. This continuous neglect lead to the fact that the area is still pristine, unspoilt, untouched and untamed.

The climate is sub-tropical: bananas, figs and peaches grow wild. Horticulture is gradually making a come-back after years of neglect.

Some things to note: Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust runs the hospital and the health system which includes district nurses in nine clinics, a dental service and other services such health promotion. The Trust is elected by the community and the doctors work for salaries. On a per capita basis, it is the most efficient and effective health service in the country.

There are also many arts-related activities from country and western music to film and book festivals, kapa haka and jazz.

Get in[edit]

  • From south, drive from Dargaville 54 km towards North on State Highway 12 (SH12) and you will find the Waipoua Forest Info spot. Continue the journey and when you arrive at the parking for Tane Mahuta you have entered the Hokianga.
  • From east, drive from Kaikohe towards West on State Highway 12 (SH12) After about 9 km you will drive downwards into a basin. That is where the Hokianga starts.
  • From the Bay of Islands, Fullers GreatSights operate daily tours to the Hokianga and Waipua Forrest.

Get around[edit]

There is no public transport. To explore, you need your own wheels or a boat. You can use the vehicle ferry to travel between Rawene and Kohukohu.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Mangungu Mission House — historic site of the biggest signing of the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Koutu Boulders — biggest concretions in the world
  • Sand Dunes — fantastic sandstone sculptures on top of dune opposite Opononi
  • Wairere Boulders — an enormous basalt flow just south of Horeke
  • Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary, (About 2 km South of Mangamuka Bridge, turn east into Omahuta Rd. Follow the Road (about 7 km) until you see Sanctuary Road to your right. Take Sanctuary Road and follow it to the end where you find parking. The road is narrow, so drive slowly.), [1]. DoC Reserve. See 5 of the 12 biggest Kauri trees in an undisturbed healthy forest  edit
  • Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), (Well signposted on State Highway 12 (SH 12) 65 km from Dargaville towards North or 18 km from Omapere towards South), [2]. Most visited Kauri tree in NZ  edit


  • Do the Hokianga Round Trip. Total time 2 days. Start in any of the following towns Horeke, Mangamuka Bridge, Kohukohu, Rawene, Waima or Taheke. For instance start in Horeke and visit the Wairere Boulders and the Mangungu Mission House. This will take half a day. Continue to State Highway 1 (SH 1) and drive to Mangamuka Bridge. About 1 km before the town turn left to experience the Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary and continue to Kohukohu. This will take half a day. Look around Kohukohu where you can see some historic sites and artistic displays. Cross the Harbour on the ferry and look at Rawene. There you can do the Mangroves Board Walk[4] and the Historic Building Roundtrip[5]. Drive to the turnoff on State Highway 12 (SH12) and turn left towards the Waima Valley and continue your trip to your starting point Horeke.
  • Do the South Side Trip. Total time 2 days. Start in Horeke and visit the Wairere Boulders and the Mangungu Mission House. This will take half a day. Drive to Taheke where you turn right into State Highway 12 (SH12) and follow the Waima Valley towards west. Follow the Road to the turnoff to Rawene follow the road and park close to the ferry terminal. There you can do the Mangroves Board Walk[6] and the Historic Building Roundtrip[7]. This will take half a day. Return to the turnoff on State Highway 12 (SH12) and turn right towards Opononi/Omapere. Drive through Whirinaki (settlement) and after descending from a long hill turn into Koutu Loop Road to the right. Visit the Koutu Boulders (follow directions). Return to (SH 12) and turn right, follow the road to Opononi. Park and take the people ferry across the harbour. Walk up to the Sand Dunes and return to the ferry. Continue towards Omapere and follow SH 12 till you see the parking for Tane Mahuta.
  • Walk the beautiful bush track at Waiotemarama Falls, 5 km from Opononi. Visit the puzzleman at the Labyrinth.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

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