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Kiwi Towns

Five hidden corners of Kohukohu to explore

  • 3 minutes

@Bruce Hudson

Hokianga Harbour small towns where art blooms

Hidden in plain sight. Visit Kohukohu and observe history’s marks. The town is part of Hokiang Harbour, Kupe’s legendary voyage across the Pacific and the emergence of modern New Zealand. Heritage buffs will enjoy the continuity between the past and present. Kohukohu reflects New Zealand’s long storied history of human occupation. The town was a hive of industrial activity in the nineteenth century.  In the 1880’s Kauri timber exported to Sydney and San Francisco in the 1800s deunded hillsides washing debris and mud into the harbour. The town supported a dairy factory using the harbour as a transport link collecting milk from nearby farms. The twentieth century witnessed the slow decline of Kohukohu into a backwater where New Zealand’s oldest stone footbridge and first Freemasons building were witnesses to past industry.

Mitimiti beach, Northland, New Zealand @Bruce Hudson
Mitimiti beach @Bruce Hudson

1.    Mitimiti – our local beach

Remote Mitimiti is primarily a beach walk location with the ocean currents making swimming hazardous.

It is permitted to drive 4WD vehicles on the beach at low tide.

Great spot for surf casting or beach walking and picnics among the sand dunes. Your beach walk will be fording streams which adds to the sense of adventure as the surf pounds the coast.

Mitimiti cemetery is Ralph Hotere New Zealand celebrated artist’s final resting place.

  1. Kohukohu historic village walk

Pick up a brochure at the local store or library. The walk takes you around Kohukohu. Visitors will pass New Zealand’s oldest walking bridge, an original and oldest Masonic Hall. There are plaques and photographs depicting the town in its heyday.


Mitimiti Beach to Pawarenga

The Golden Stairs walking track takes its name from the spectacular display of the native Kowhai trees with their drooping golden yellow trumpet like flowers in spring.

Kohukohu, New Zealand
The Golden Stairs Track @Wilderness Magazine
The Golden Stairs Track @Wilderness Magazine

The walking track is more correctly a tramping track and is suited to fairly fit people.

It is not a DoC track and just who is in charge remains a bit of a mystery.

As a result the track can be overgrown in parts, and signage is not always easy to see.

The track commences just past Pawarenga, a tiny settlement marked by a spectacular small church, along the eastern shores of the narrow fjord-like entrance to Whangape harbour. Source The Golden Stairs Track

  1. Where To Eat – Koke Pub & Cafe

The welcoming Koke Pub & Cafe – Home for a coffee break.

Not sure where to go and how to get there you will be assured of a helpful smile and answer to your questions.

The quirky reimagined objects decorating the walls, the cat drinking from a saucer of milk and the locals passing the time of day introduce visitors to a place where life is slowed down and everyone knows who you are.

Koke pub cafe @kokepubcafe
Koke pub cafe @kokepubcafe
Village Arts Gallery, Kohukohu @Village Arts Gallery
Village Arts Gallery @Village Arts Gallery
  1. Kohukohu Art Galleries

There is an outstanding art gallery in the tiny town. Village Arts Gallery | Showcasing Hokianga’s richly diverse arts community and guest artists  is a must visit destination for art lovers with a stunning view of the harbour and artly created art spaces for emerging and established local artists. Village Arts is Hokianga’s community art gallery. Scheduled solo and group exhibitions plus a showcase space highlight the area’s established and emerging artists. The spacious white-walled gallery showcases contemporary painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture, furniture, object, jewellery, ceramics, and traditional and contemporary Māori arts.

On Te Ara Manawa: The Heart Trail and Northland Art Trail, Village Arts is located on the main street in historic Kohukohu on the northern shores of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s spectacularly beautiful Hokianga Harbour.

The gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 3pm.

  1. Someone’s Junk is Someone’s Treasure – Secondhand Rose

Secondhand Rose is the village’s opportunity shop that is run by volunteers.

There are treasures for secondhand shopping buffs with proceeds used for community and overseas projects run by St Mary’s Anglican Church.

Second Hand Rose Op Shop in Kohukohu @David Green
Second Hand Rose Op Shop in Kohukohu @David Green


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