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10 Reasons to Stop in Hokianga

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Don’t Miss Some Awesome Things to Do in Hokianga

Sea, sand and beautifully formed rocks surround Hokianga, a small harbour area that is often overlooked by backpackers rushing to reach Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand. But Hokianga and its many tiny towns have lots to offer, which are definitely worth a pit stop at the least! You’ll find there are heaps of things to do in Hokianga.

From huge Kauri forests to golden sand dunes over the harbour, the landscape in the area changes from one extreme to another within a very short drive exploring it is a blast! The harbour is much more than a dot on the map. This top list shows exactly why you should stop by!

1. Delve into a Rock Pool

At the end of the Waimamaku Beach Road near South Head, you will often find many rock pools leftover from an agitated ocean. On a nice day, they’re pretty appealing for a dip! Find the pools along the Arai Te Uru/Waimamaku Coastal Walkway.

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2. Walk and Tramp!

We love the Mitimiti to North Head track, which is a long walk on the shore passing over massive sand dunes and to the North Head Forest Reserve. Check out the Waiotemarama Waterfall Track, and not forgetting the Waipoua Forest for huge kauri! There is much more than one walk in the Hokianga area so tie up your boots and start walking!

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3. Jump on a Boulder!

Yes, Hokianga has boulders too! Smaller and less numerous than the South Island Moeraki ones, the Koutu Boulders are easy to access from McDonnell Road provided that you know how to use a GPS!

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4. Board a Fishing Boat and Go Catch Dinner

Like most harbours in New Zealand, Hokianga has many charters catering to the casual fisherman. You’ll get a tour, all the equipment, and a fresh dinner at a very reasonable price. Learn more about Fishing in New Zealand.

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5. Immerse Yourself in Maori History

Like if time stood still, the whole area remains bathed in Maori culture and visitors are more than welcome to join in. A marae even opens its door to curious travellers in search of an authentic cultural experience.

10 Reasons to Stop in Hokianga© James Heremaia - Tourism New Zealand

6. Sandboard in the Dunes

Only a short boat ride from Opononi, the North Head Sand dunes are a huge playground for anyone with a bodyboard. The ferry from Opononi provides boards with the ride across the water.

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7. Hug New Zealand’s Biggest Trees

The Waipoua Kauri Forest walks are a perfect insight of New Zealand’s wilderness, showcasing the country’s two biggest trees. Long before man set foot here, those trees were standing tall all over Northland and nature was in control. See these giants by night on a cultural tour with Footprints Waipoua. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Note: Avoid actually hugging Kauri trees as it is very bad for their shallow root system. Instead, admire them from a distance to get a real sense of their size and might without harming them.

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8. Spot a Dolphin Pod or Even Some Orca

The sea life in the area is extremely active, so it is not rare to spot dolphins or orcas from the shore. A particularly good spot for this is the South Head along the short Arai Te Uru Heritage walk. Find out more about where to see dolphins in 5 Best Places to Swim with Dolphins in New Zealand.

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9. Explore the Mangroves

Who doesn’t love a good mangrove boardwalk? Safe above the mud and water, explore one of the most typical vegetation in Northland on the Rawene Mangrove walk.

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10. Do a Horse Trek Along the Beach and Bush!

The area has popular horse trekking spots with easy tracks along the beach and more challenging ones through the bushland. For more awesome horse rides, see 11 Awesome Horse Treks in New Zealand.

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Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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