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Day trips

2 heritage sites and a lake where water is optional to visit from nearby Kerikeri

  • 1 minute

Bay of Islands, North Island

Taumarumaru Reserve, Rangikapiti Pa and Coca Cola Lake what to see

Staying in Mangonui or Kerikeri and want to explore nearby? Here are two day trip ideas for your holiday with friends and family. Kids will especially enjoy Coca Cola Lake. Taumarumaru Reserve and Rangikapiti Pa offer impressive harbour views and interesting pre-European Maori pa archaelogical sites.

Lake Ohia (Rotopokaka) is an extraordinary lake where water is optional. Lake Ohia or known locally as Coca Cola Lake landscape narrates the story of kauri gum digging. Pack a picnic lunch or purchase fish n chips in Mangonui, fill the water bottles, pack the insect repellent and walking shoes for a day exploring.


Getting there from Mangonui

From Mangonui 20km distance between 3 location.


Kerikeri is approximately 1 hour state highway 10.


Taumarumaru Reserve walk is located in Coopers Beach.

Get the kids out and about with plenty of room to run up and down Coopers beach with its pohutawa framed foreshore. The historic pa site, situated on a promontory provided its inhabitants with sweeping views of who is popping in to visit as well as access to the rich marine food resources in the harbour.


  • 40 min
  • Easiest: Short walk

Located on a steep rocky headland, Taumarumaru Reserve contains three pa sites, two on the headland (Ohumuhumu and Otanenui) and one on the central ridge Taumarumaru).

Found within the reserve are undefended living terraces and storage pits which indicate this site was intensively occupied in pre-European times.

Taumarumaru Scenic Reserve is mostly an open area and tracks are identified by mowing and track markers. A short walk over the reserve is rewarded with great views and access to a small beach.

The reserve provides ideal opportunities for walking, fishing and historic appreciation. Dogs are allowed in the reserve provided they are on a lead at all times.


Rangikapiti Pa is a DOC administered site. The site is described as, ‘Rangikapiti Pā provides panoramic views over Mangōnui Harbour, Coopers Beach and across Doubtless Bay to the Karikari Peninsula. It is a significant site to Ngati Kahu.

Aspects making Rangikapiti such a distinctive feature on the landscape are the terraces and defensive ditch around the pā. The main area of the pā provided a strongly defended position, while the lower slopes and terraces would have been used as areas for gardening and housing. The reserve is focussed around Rangikapiti Pā, built on a headland hilltop. Apart from some coastal pohutukawa, much of the reserve is covered in regenerating manuka, encircling the top of the pā, while the remaining area is covered in grass.

The pā is in good condition and is an example of the ‘wedding cake’ style of pā formation, with a small tihi surrounded by broad terracing, ditches and banks.

Getting to Rangikapiti Pa

It is a 5 minute walk from the car park to the top of the Pa but there is no disabled access.

Rangikapiti Pa site to Coopers Beach 1.7km

Coopers beach has a general store, petrol station and small town facilities. In winter stores are open for limited hours.


Kum gum diggers, in the early 1990’s, drained the lake to access gum buried in the 30,000 year old flooded kauri forest. The Department of Conservation boardwalks twine around huge stumps and the slightly spooky remains of the forest of giant kauri. The lake is now ephemeral (seasonal).The lake is officially ephemeral, not a swamp as, in the winter months it fills and becomes once again a shallow lake. Perhaps your kids might describe it as a swamp. Lake Ohia is the poster child for viewing this phenomena, because it is easily accessible from the road. The lake is a DOC Reserve. Scientists are interested in the ephemeral lake (seasonal) and the petrified Kauri due to the thousands of years of geological history trapped in the ancient buried forest.

The lake is either muddy or filled with shallow tea coloured water (usually waterlogged for two months during winter). The interesting holes and remaining stumps of petrified kauri trees are best viewed from the boardwalk. There are explanatory plaques, visitor picnic tables and toilets at the lake. Visitors can observe mudfish, plenty of birdlife and regenerating bush.

The name Ohia has links to Hawaii, the relative of the NZ pohutukawa tree. Similar to kauri dieback disease the Hawaiian ohia tree is facing potential extinction. Even more poigiant is the Hawaiian Lake Ohia has also largely disappeared due to climate and environmental factors.

Coca-Cola Rotopokaka lake


Can you swim in Lake Coca Cola?

It is a local favourite especially for kids paddling in the shallow waters. The highly coloured freshwater is a highlight for kids. Check the swim guide Lake Rotopokaka (Coca-Cola) Picnic Area, ‘Lake Rotopokaka is well known as Coca-Cola Lake due to its red/brown colour. The lake is suitable for swimming and has a lot of grass for picnics… Northland Regional Council monitors water quality at popular swimming spots throughout the Northland region.’ Remember to check reports for algal bloom as this largely summer occurrence can cause significant skin rashs or other symptoms. Consult a doctor if there is any concern.


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