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Kiwi Towns

What’s so great about Rawene things to do

  • 2 minutes

Hokianga Harbour picturesque ferry terminal

Rawene there are plenty of things to do. Discover where modern New Zealand has left a footprint. 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.

Rawene Mangrove boardwalk, Northland, New Zealand @Licorice Allsorts - Blogger
Rawene Mangrove boardwalk @Licorice Allsorts - Blogger


  • Clendon House, Victorian home of James and Jane Clendon
  • Cafe and galleries
  • Ferry ride to Kohukohu
  • Mangrove boardwalk

Quirky Rawene, departure point for Hokianga ferry and home of The Boat Shed Cafe.  Allow several hours to amble around Rawene, popping into the local cafe / art gallery, the puzzle shop and simply walking around the town absorbing the sense of community.  There is a wetland mangrove boardwalk just a short walk from Clendon House well worth a detour.

Shops such as

  • Simply FUN – Home, the puzzle store owned and operated by a world class puzzle maker. The building was rented by the local barrister, David Longley, the vaunt for his papers former PM of NZ is still on the premises.
  • No 1 Parnell . Rawene – Home, art gallery and cafe is a community hub, a place to watch people coming and going on the ferry, browse through art on display and available for purchase.
No 1 Parnell, Rawene @No1Parnell No 1 Parnell, Rawene @No1Parnell
Simply Fun puzzle shop. Louis Toorenburg @Peter de Graaf, Northern Advocate Simply Fun puzzle shop. Louis Toorenburg @Peter de Graaf, Northern Advocate

Clendon House

Clendon House, check for details as it is not open every day. Clendon Cottage, a pretty cottage, was built in the bustling 1860s by James Clendon, a trader, shipowner and magistrate. After his death, his 34-year-old Māori widow Jane was left with fourteen children and an enormous debt of £5000. Nothing like determination and an entrepreneurial spirit.  Jane managed to clear the debt and her descendants remained in the house until 1972. It’s now administered by Heritage New Zealand. James Reddy Clendon, who was US consul at the Bay of Islands in the 1830s. He was a witness to the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, a member of the first Legislative Council from 1841–44, and a magistrate from 1850.

Rawene Clendon House, New Zealand @NZPlaces
Rawene Clendon House, New Zealand @NZPlaces
Koutu Boulders, New Zealand @jeckzelle_cruz
Koutu Boulders @jeckzelle_cruz

Koutu Boulders – The Hokianga – a beautiful place 

Getting there from Rawene, drive about 10 km past the Rawene turnoff towards Opononi, through the settlement of Whirinaki and at the foot of the saddle  on the Opononi side you will see Koutu Loop Road on your right.  It is best to do the walk within two hours either side of low tide. Follow the signs for Koutu Boulders. Cyclindal natural sculptured rock forms make for a great photo moment.  It has been estimated that the largest of the boulders may have taken 5 million years to grow.

The boulders are concretions, or hardened nodules formed within sedimentary rocks. Moeraki boulders are the poster rock boys for this type of rock formation.  Hokianga Harbour does it one better with hundreds of them and an isolated beach for you to stroll on. The walk is an easy one for all ages, best done within the two hours either side of low tide. At any time you can walk along the beach but at high tide it can be a bit of a scramble.


  • George McCall Smith, General Practitioner and doctor to everyone. Developed Hokianga’s unique health service centred around Rawene Hospital focused on community participation in the management of health care for the district. Dr Smith was the head of hospital services from 1914 to 1948.
  • The thin end of the ‘Wedge’ building (currently home to the Simply Fun puzzle shop) was the legal offices for David Lange. Later on Prime Minister and architect of New Zealand nuclear ship ban.
George McCall Smith @NZHerald
George McCall Smith @NZHerald
Rawene car ferry @Dale Elena McCready NZCS
Rawene car ferry @Dale Elena McCready NZCS


  • James and Jane’s bollards at the entrance to Clendon House
  • Boatshed Cafe with harbour in the background
  • Ferry as it arrives in Rawene


  • Ferry ride
  • Mangrove boardwalk
  • Fish from the local jetty
Clendon House, Jane Clendon and husband sculpture, Rawene, Hokianga, New Zealand Clendon House, Jane Clendon and husband sculpture
Rawene Boat Shed Cafe, Northland, NZ Rawene Boat Shed Cafe


  • Originally grew as part of the Kauri timber logging era.


  • Rawene is a hub for the district with a general grocery store and is on the road network to Kaikohe.


  • 1,236 (2018)


  • A must visit destination for visitors to the Hokianga

Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Far North & Northland Region nearby attractions and events.


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