10 Best Things to Do in Dargaville© Northland Inc
10 Best Things to Do in Dargaville

15 BEST Things to Do in Dargaville

© Northland Inc
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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The Activities in Dargaville You Can’t Miss!

Forest, mountains, beach, lakes… Whatever outdoor adventure you are looking for, Dargaville can provide with its wealth of landscapes surrounding this Northland town! Situated on the west side of the Northland region, otherwise known as the Kauri Coast, Dargaville has a real mix of activities from natural experiences to some of New Zealand’s top museums. Find out what you could be getting up to in this list of things to do in Dargaville!

1. Marvel at Kauri and Spot Kiwi in the Trounson Kauri Park

By day or night, the Trouson Kauri Park is a wonderful place to explore. Take the 40-minute Trounson Kauri Loop Track to see stands of giant kauri, New Zealand’s largest tree species. At night, the forest comes alive with glowworms, kiwis, eels in the streams and more! What’s more, there’s a serviced Department of Conservation campground at the park, making your evening visit all the easier.

Location: Trounson Park Road, approximately 40 km (25 mi) north of Dargaville via State Highway off State Highway 2.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

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 hike up. Be prepared for a steep and sharp climb to some reward 360° views of Dargaville, Kaipara and beyond!

Location: Tokatoka Road, approximately 17 km (10.5 mi) south of Dargaville via State Highway 12.

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3. Step Back in Time at 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 logging industry and how they forested the largest trees in New Zealand. There is 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! Guided tours are available to make the most of the experience.

Location: 5 Church Road, Matakohe, approximately 45 km (28 mi) south of Dargaville via State Highway 12.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

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 Māori 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 pā sites (fortified Māori villages) to science vistas across the town and valley.

Location: 32 Mount Wesley Coast Road, Harding Park, Dargaville.

Dargaville Museum© Dargaville Museum

5. Check Out Ripiro Beach and Bayleys Beach

New Zealand’s longest drivable beach, Ripiro Beach stretches 101 km (63 mi) 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 Bayleys Beach. Note that the rips can be strong so swimming is not advised.

Location: Bayleys Coast Road, approximately 13 km (8 mi) west of Dargaville.

15 BEST Things to Do in Dargaville© Northland Inc

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: Kai Iwi Lakes Road, approximately 35 km (22 mi) north of Dargaville via State Highway 12. Take Omamari Road then Kai Iwi Lakes Road.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Hike to the Top of Maungaraho Rock

Another awesome outdoor 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: 42 Maungarahu Rock Road, Arapohue, approximately 11 km (7 mi) south of Dargaville via State Highway 12.

 M Francis McCarthy on Flickr© M Francis McCarthy on Flickr

8. Admire Kauri Carvings at the Dargaville Art Galleries

There are plenty of places to see local art in Dargaville! A must is The Woodturner’s Kauri Gallery & Working Studio and Tika Pono Toi Gallery & Studio to see art carved out of kauri wood and meet the artists who have sculpted these marvellous creations. Further north, Nelson’s Kaihu Kauri Gallery adds to the flavour with kauri carvings, pottery, glass-blowing, greenstone, handmade soaps and all sorts of locally-made gifts.

Location: The Woodturner’s Kauri Gallery – 71 River Road, Dargaville. Tika Pono Toi Gallery & Studio – 3 Poto Street, Dargaville. Nelson’s Kaihu Kauri Gallery – 2888 State Highway 12, Kaihu, RD 9, 30 km (18.6 mi) north of Dargaville.

10 Best Things to Do in Dargaville© NZPocketGuide.com

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 walking tour with Footprints Waipoua to immerse in the forest’s history and cultural significance.

Location: State Highway 12, approximately 62 km (38.5 mi) north of Dargaville. Walks and parking areas are signposted along the roadside.

Northland Inc© Northland Inc

10. Play a Round of Golf

The Northern Wairoa Golf Club 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 20 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.

Location: Bayleys Coast Road, approximately 12 km (7 mi) west of Dargaville.

10 Best Things to Do in Dargaville© NZPocketGuide.com

5 More Things to Do in Dargaville (Walks and Cycle Trails)

And for the best of the rest, here are five more amazing experiences in the Dargaville region, including walks and cycle trails:

  1. Maunganui Bluff Track – Hike 1 hr 30 mins over an ancient volcanic crater for magnificent coastal views or ramble all the way to Waikara Beach (5 hrs).
  2. Kauri Bushman’s Walk – Enjoy a 15-minute family-friendly walk through kauri forest.
  3. Mt Tutamoe Track – A 4-hour return journey through the Kaihu Forest to the peak of Mt Tutamoe.
  4. Pakotai Track – A 10-minute stroll to an impressive kauri tree.
  5. Kaihu Valley Trail – Cycle along farmland, forest and rivers on this enchanting cycle trail.

More Things to Do Near Dargaville

That’s it for our list of the best things to do in Dargaville. While Dargaville is an awesome place to explore itself, don’t miss these other Northland towns nearby:

Finally, plan the rest of your trip around Te Ika-a-Māui with the 51 Best Things to Do on the North Island.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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