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Hokianga Harbour is one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets. Māori call the Northland region Te Hiku-o-te-Ika (The Tail of the Fish). Despite being one of New Zealand’s first European trading hubs in the 1800s, it’s at this tail end that traditional Māori culture is most alive today.
Explore predominantly Māori villages, go fishing and walk along stunning coastal and forest tracks as you follow the course of the harbor. On the south shore, Opononi and Omapere are connected like Siamese twins, each with their own charms. Stroll the beach, cast a line from a jetty or gaze out over the mighty sand dunes from Arai Te Uru Reserve.
To reach the dunes at Rangi Point, board the Hokianga Express from Opononi. Zoom down the dunes on a boogie board and admire the wind-swept formations that are sacred to Māori.
To see more of North Hokianga you’ll need a car, so first head back to Opononi and drive on to Pakanae to turn off to Rawene. Before boarding the vehicle ferry, browse the arts and crafts galleries and little wooden café on stilts in the bay.
Once across, head to the town of Motuti and visit its picturesque St Mary’s Church. In the Motuti Marae, learn traditional Māori weaving, poi-making or bone and wood carving. Waipuna Marae, in nearby Panguru, depicts the history of the seafaring ancestor Kūpe. Arrange to stay the night and share a meal with your hosts to see stories of bygone days and see wood carving demonstrations.
Drive northeast to reach the Top of Hokianga Harbour. Kohukohu was the main hub for New Zealand’s early timber industry because it sits at the confluence of the harbor with the Mangamuka and Waihou rivers. Stroll through its Historic Precinct to catch a glimpse of life as it would have been in the 1830s and browse modern art galleries.
From Mangamuka Bridge, take the State Highway across the Waihou River and turn off to Horeke, where the country’s first commercial shipyard operated. The town also boasts the oldest headstones, first pub and first post office.
Its strong Māori character, rich British heritage and pristine nature make Hokianga Harbour one of the North Island’s most authentic destinations, yet it’s only a half-day drive from ultra-modern Auckland.
Overall the whole place was great Walls seemed thin as you could here people above us an next to us
Thought they forgot give us milk but then see they use creamer, we prefer milk. We appeared not to have our room serviced first day.
Staff friendly, and accommodating. Nice remodeled bathroom. Excellent choice of TV channels. Outstanding views across Hokianga Harbour and to sand dunes. WiFi in lounge and restaurant good but, did not work in room.
Situated in Opononi, this eco-friendly vacation home is steps from Hokianga Harbour and Opononi Beach. Omapere Beach is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) away.
Really enjoyed our stay. Had everything we needed. Love Opononi.
We had a fairly big group, but there was plenty of sleeping space in the upper 2 levels. Lots of flat ground out the front for frisbee and cricket, and in front of that, the harbour! with a beautiful outlook to the heads. The water is pretty shallow so the tide goes out very far. Not the best for ...
A good base to explore the Hokianga. Clean and tidy with all amenities. Great views from the deck.