1. spot Kiwi in the Trounson Kauri Park
By day or night, the Trouson Kauri Park is a wonderful place! Take the 40-minutes Trounson Kauri Loop Track to see stands of giant kauri. At night, the forest comes alive with glowworms, kiwi birds, eels in the streams and more! What’s more, there’s a serviced Department of Conservation campground at the park.
Location: 40km north of Dargaville just State Highway off State Highway 2. Trounson Park Road.
2. Hike to the top of Tokatoka Peak
This unusually-shaped mountain just begs to be climbed! Tokatoka Peak is the plug of an ancient volcano and only takes about 20 minutes to walk up. Be prepared for a steep and sharp climb to some reward 360 views of Dargaville, Kaipara and beyond!
Location: 17km south of Dargaville off State Highway 12. Tokatoka Road.
3. Visit the Kauri Museum
Dargaville has no lack of museums. One of the most popular is the Kauri Museum! The Kauri Museum tells the story of pioneers of the kauri forest industry and how they forested the largest trees in New Zealand. There’s lots to uncover in the multiple wings and basements of this huge museum. See working machinery, step inside a life-size pioneer house, and so much more!
Location: 45km south of Dargaville just off State Highway 12. On Church Road.
4. Visit the Dargaville Museum
Another fantastic museum in the Dargaville area is right in the town itself! The Dargaville Museum showcases marine relics, such as an old Maori waka (canoe), as well as mannequin displays telling stories of the early Kauri gumdiggers. The surrounding park is also packed with things to see, from pa sites to awesome views.
Location: Harding Park.
5. GO to Ripiro Beach
New Zealand’s longest drivable beach, Ripiro Beach stretches 101km from Maunganui Bluff in the north all the way to Poutu at the Kaipara Harbour. There are several entrances to the beach, the most popular being Baylys Beach. Join one of the local horse treks at Bayleys Beach or just enjoy a long stroll on the beach. The rips can be strong so swimming is not advised.
Location: 13km west of Dargaville down Bayleys Coast Road.
6. Relax at the Kai Iwi Lakes
The Kai Iwi Lakes are three freshwater lakes with white sand beaches, walkways and campgrounds. The lakes are popular for water-based activities like kayaking and windsurfing, if you have your own equipment. There are walks around each of the three lakes, the shortest being around Lake Kai Iwi (1-hour loop) and the longest being around Lake Taharoa (2-hour loop).
Location: 35km north of Dargaville off State Highway 12. Take Omamari Road then Kai Iwi Lakes Road.
7. Hike to the top of Maungaraho Rock
Another awesome outdoors experience in the Dargaville area is Maungaraho Rock. This rocky outcrop has two walking tracks: one around the base of the rock (40 minutes) and one leading to the summit of the rock (30 minutes). The climb to the top is super steep with ladders and ropes in place to help you get to the top and take in the amazing countryside views.
Location: 11km south of Dargaville off State Highway 12. Take Mititai Road.
8. Visit the Dargaville art Galleries
There are plenty of places to see local art in Dargaville! See a real mix of paintings at the Big River Art Gallery. The Muddy Waters Art Gallery is another fantastic option. A must is The Woodturner’s Kauri Gallery & Working Studio to see art made out of kauri wood.
Location: Big River Art Gallery – State Highway 12, Muddy Waters Art Gallery – Parenga Street, and Kauri Gallery – Murdoch Street.
9. Explore the Waipoua Forest
Waipoua Forest is home to the largest trees in New Zealand! Seeing Tane Mahuta – the Lord of the Forest, is an absolute must-do when exploring the Kauri Coast. There are several short walks in the Waipoua Forest taking you to amazing tall stands of kauri. Alternatively, book a cultural waling tour with Footprints Waipoua.
Location: 62km north of Dargaville along State Highway 12. Walks and parking areas are along the roadside.
10. Play a round of golf
The Northern Wairoa Golf Course is an affordable and visitor-friendly 18-hole golf course. With sea views and tree-lined fairways, this is certainly a great place to play golf. Golf club hire is available from the nearby motor camp. For more golfing inspiration, take a look at 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: 12km west of Dargaville down Bayleys Coast Road.