Where to go and what to see
A village where the life of the Bohemian refugee (19th century) is celebrated. The settlement stories are documented with photographs, objects and memorabilia in the local museum while buildings and dray wagons are lovingly preserved. The Puhoi River is a picturesque backdrop and a reminder of the importance of waterways being a crucial part of the transport networks in earlier times. Today kayakers enjoy exploring the Puhoi with a journey down the river finishing at the Wenderholm Regional Park and river estuary. Puhoi is part of the Matakana Coast Experience.
Puhoi is a convenient stop on the way North, start your holiday with time in a heritage village.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Enjoy a town walk visiting heritage sites from Church of Saints Peter and Paul to cute town library
- A leisurely lunch at Puhoi Valley Cheese Cafe or pub meal in the historic Puhoi Hotel
- Kayaking through history on the Puhoi River
- Walks through regenerating bush to a lookout point
History buffs find the landing stone where in 1863 immigrants arriving at the mouth of the river, facing dense bush were greeted by the local iwi (tribe) and gratefully escorted up the river to nikau whare (house) had been constructed as shelter. The landing stone displays the settlers’ names and the names of the ships that brought them. It pays tribute to Te Hemara Tauhia, whose help was vital, to Captain Krippner who led the effort to establish a village in the dense bush. Afterwards pop into the Puhoi Village Pub for refreshment and linger over the extensive photographic collection and vintage tools on display.
The Catholic church, Saints Peter and Paul, (1880) has 22 stained glass windows and the altar painting is an exact copy of the one in the church in Bohemia, the Puhoi settlers’ homeland.
The charming tiny library was a first aid post, mortuary and craft outlet; now it’s the local library.
Feeling like a coffee or tea break visit Puhoi Cottage and Tea Rooms (1907) and formerly a homestead.
The Puhoi Heritage Museum is open daily from 12pm to 3pm except Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Puhoi Organic Distillery has become a recognized boutique niche brand created by Kirichuk family is a favourite stop for visitors
Puhoi Valley Cheese and Cafe markets specialty cheeses and is the place to go for creamy ice creams and your goat feta cheese.
For walking buffs the Puhoi Lookout loop is a 4.8 km trail climbing above the village. The walkers can either loop around or return the way they came. The loop has a gentler descent with steps rather than the steep climb to the top of the hill. The climb can be slippery in wet weather with leaf litter underfoot.
The walk is part of the Te Araroa trail and starts approximately 4 km beyond the village. The loop back passes through the Puhoi Domain and is glorious in autumn. Te Araroa is over 3,000 km encompassing the top of the North Island (Cape Regina) to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island.
The Puhoi River is crossed on a swing-bridge.
Nearby Puhoi are several regional parks, Wenderholm Regional Park and Mahurangi Regional Park.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Buy an ice cream from Puhoi Cheese Cafe
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- An enormous kauri log on a historic dray (pulled by bullocks) as a backdrop
- Yourself kayaking the river
- Lunch menu
- Regular weekend market is very popular with artisans from the Matakana Coast participating
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- Puhoi means slow, or slow water. The tidal river has a slow rise and fall creating ideal navigable conditions for waka(canoes).
- The Puhoi Village was founded by Captain Martin Krippner from Staab in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. He encouraged fellow Bohemians to join him on land granted by the provincial government. The settlers felled 7 million superfeet (16,520 cubic metres) of kauri and developed dairy farms on the cleared land.
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?
- Local dairy factory and weekend visitors