Visit Opononi to soak up the tranquility and strong Māori character of New Zealand’s Far North. Take in the stunning vistas of the sand dunes across the water, book an adventure tour or just cast a line and catch your own dinner from the wharf.
Start at the Opononi i-SITE Visitor Centre to get inspiration for things to see and do. Deep-sea game fishing from a boat, scenic flights, sky diving, nightly nature walks and sand boarding are among the more thrilling options in and around Opononi.
Of course, you can also just take it easy, by lazing on the beach and jumping in for a swim on a hot day. Just beware that the currents are strong as the Tasman Sea’s turbulent tides push and pull on the harbor waters.
You may see dolphins and even orcas cruise by. One bottlenose dolphin became a national sensation in the 1950s because she kept returning to play with the swimmers. “Opo” attracted so many onlookers that she caused the region’s very first traffic jam. The small Opo Statue commemorates this “gay aquatic creature.”
Stroll along the beach between nearby Koutu and Kauwhare points to admire the massive Koutu Boulders. The round boulders are hardened nodules that grew within sedimentary rocks, through a process called concretion, and may have taken many millions of years to form.
Tucked away up a gravel road, between Omapere and the Waipoua Forest, find the Labyrinth Woodworks and Maze. The kids will love the wooden puzzles from all over the globe and there are life-sized animal statues too. Just over the bridge is a waterfall and a walk through kauri trees.
Opononi and Omapere are joined at the hip like Siamese twins. Opononi is half a day by car from Auckland, but don’t rush back to the city on the same day. Stay a few nights to get that real vacation feel. Oponini is where you’ll find most facilities, such as a hotel and bar, visitor information center and campground. Omapere provides better views of the Hokianga Harbour entrance with the sand dunes on its northern shore.
As the sun sets over this striking landscape, it’s hard to imagine a more inviting place than Opononi.
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