Hokianga Harbour in all its glory
Find the extraordinary. Immense folded sand dunes towering above the Hokianga Harbour are striking. Enormous pillows of sand at the northern head of the harbour greet visitors to Ompaere and Opononi. A walking track leads to a former signal station on Arai Te Uru, the south head. Cruise to the sand dunes and try sand boarding or 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.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Quinessential summer beach holidays were born in Opononi and nearby Omapere, zoom across to sand board the dunes, lazily swim in the harbour, fish from the wharf and walk the numerous tracks following the footsteps of people who lived in the area hundreds of years ago.
- Join Awesome Adventures Hokianga for one of their magical tours, find the hidden gems with a local
- Explore nearby Rawene and its historic Clendon House
- Immerse yourself in the story of Kupe at Manea Footprints of Kupe a Maori cultural centre narrating the legends and stories of Kupe through 4D visual experience.
There are over ten places of interest to visit nearby from Koutu boulders Tane, a kauri forest giant in Waipoua Forest, catch the ferry on a day trip to Kohukohu, home to a lively community of artists and craftspeople. The town buildings are bright, cheerful and festooned with window flower boxes, gardens full of oaks, willows and laden lemon trees. For more ideas check out …
Where it all started, Hokianga Harbour, Kupe and the story of Aotearoa, holiday … for where to go in the area.
- Opo the wild dolphin who decided to visit the harbour over several summers who became famous for his endearing antics. She was featured on television and became a famous national icon.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELIFIE
- Backdrop of Opo the dolphin statute
- Footsteps of Kupe entrance with the stunning carved poles (pou whenua)
- Yourself sand boarding into the harbour
- Quad biking (Awesome Adventures tour) on a dual quad bike over the sand dunes
- Safe harbour and estuary summer water sports
- Rawene puzzle shop for something to do when it rains
- Rawene ferry ride
BEST TIME TO VISIT
- Year round (summer is the peak season0
- Horse racing on the beach, December 31st. Horse Races on the Beach, Pawarenga.
- February 12th. Hokianga Treaty Day, Mangungu Mission, Horeke.
- Fishing festival, competition in January
- Hoki-fest wine, food and music (Copthorne Hotel)
- 678 Opononi / 275 Omapere
WHAT MAKES THE PLACE TICK?
Tourism, small dairy farms, unemployment is an issue in the Hokianga
- Summer magic
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
Hokianga is considered to be one of the oldest settlements for the Māori, and is still a heartland for the people. Rahiri, the 17th century founder of the Ngapuhi iwi, was born at Whiria pa to the south of the harbour, where a monument stands to his memory.
In this process of expansion the Ngapuhi created and maintained over centuries a complex network of walking tracks, many of which evolved into today’s roads. Wesleyan and later Anglican missionaries were guided along these ancient routes to make their own discovery of Hokianga and its accessible timber resources.
The harbour’s full name, Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe – the final departure place of Kupe (for Hawaiki) – recognises its association with the famous Polynesian explorer. Hokianga has a long Māori history, and a strong Ngāpuhi presence today.
Unique journeys, personal adventures