The Kaipara District’s Kauri Coast is a magnificent coastal and outdoor retreat. Stretching from Kaiwaka in the South to the Waipoua Forest in the North it offers diversity, history and dramatic landscapes.
Kaiwaka is the southern gateway of the Kaipara District offering a variety of shops, cafes and accommodation. Known as the 'little town of lights', at night time hundreds of twinkling lights welcome travellers. Enjoy the quaint settlement of Paparoa and experience life in rural New Zealand. Here you will find guest house accommodation, restored buildings, restaurant and an excellent antique shop. Just off the highway is the settlement of Pahi on a quiet finger of the Northern Kaipara Harbour. Home of old-time launches and fishing enthusiasts, it also boasts a Moreton Bay fig that is one of the country's 10 most notable trees.
Travelling north on State Highway 12 your next stop is the famous Kauri Museum at Matakohe. Here it is very easy to spend a couple of hours viewing the wonderful displays which portray the history of the Kauri Coast and shopping for great value high-quality souvenirs. Tokatoka Peak (the core of a volcano 180 metres high) is situated just south of Dargaville and is a 20 minute climb. For the more adventurous there is Maungaraho Rock. Allow 30 minutes for the climb to the summit which is 221 metres high.
Dargaville, the Kumara Capital,is a rural town with a population of 4,800 people. Steeped in history and nestled beside the Northern Wairoa River Kauri logging, gum digging, shipbuilding and shipwrecks are the heritage of this characterful place. Each year it hosts such events as the Northland Agricultural Field Days, and several major surfcasting and trout-fishing competitions.
Kauri gum and timber products are a speciality of the Kauri Coast and available from several local galleries and craft shops. There's also a specialist paper mill utilizing rice grass from the river. Explore the history of the North and Kaipara Harbour in Dargaville Museum. Here you will find relics from many of the area's shipwrecks.
At Ripiro Beach (Baylys and Chases) just 15 minutes from Dargaville there is a campground, stores for supplies and two cafés serving food and beverages. From here you can take a 4-wheel drive vehicle down this magnificent, unbroken stretch of sand and surf. Extending 100 km from Maunganui Bluff in the north to Pouto Point at the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour in the south. Visitors can take a tour to the remote Pouto Lighthouse and view the site of 150 shipwrecks, dig for shellfish or net for fish.
The lovely Kai Iwi Lakes, 34 kms north of Dargaville, is a favourite holiday spot, where you can swim, sail, windsurf, kayak, water ski, jet ski, trout fish or simply relax. Camping is available at Promenade Point or Pine Beach. Explore the extensive walks around the lakes.
Next stop is a truly wonderful auditorium which portrays swamp kauri in all its different forms. It is set alongside SH12 as you travel north to Trounson Park and Waipoua Forest. Entry is free so call here to view or buy the beautiful kauri furniture, wood turned products and exhibits.
Tane Mahuta is the largest Kauri in the world. 40 minutes from Dargaville, Trounson Park offers a camp ground and holiday park with accommodation. Guided night time walks take you through the forest where you may see kiwi- if you're lucky, weta, glow-worms and more. Horse treks amble through bush, farmland, alongside streams and along the beach.
Enjoy fine dining and unique accommodation just south of the forest entrance before feasting your eyes on Tane Mahuta, the giant kauri tree in Waipoua Forest. An imposing sight as you stand beneath it and a must see when you visit Northland. It is approximately an hour's drive or 50 kms from Dargaville. Here you will view kauri trees up to 2000 years old. There are also numerous walks and tramping tracks within the forest.