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Hokianga region

A three hour drive north of Auckland, The Hokianga is an area surrounding the Hokianga Harbour, also known as the Hokianga River - a long estuarine drowned valley on the west coast of the North Island. Europeans first arrived in the region early in the 19th Century but found the area had been inhabited by the Ngapuhi for centuries before.

Early settlers were less than desirable - many being escaped convicts or deserters. The New Zealand Company (a 19th century english company that played a key role in the colonisation of New Zealand)  tried to establish the first settlement here in 1826 but the shipload they bought refused to disembark. An Irish couple were the first official settlers and subsequently the first Catholic mass in New Zealand was celebrated in  this area.

The harbour itself is New Zealand's 4th largest but can only be entered by small boats due to a large sandbar at the entrance. However once inside, the waters are navigable up to 20 kilometres inland. On the northern side of the harbour massive shifting sand dunes reach up to 200 metres high and provide great fun to anyone with a suitable apparatus to slide down them.

The small seaside towns of Omapere and Opononi have many holiday and summer homes plus a few craft shops, cafes and a pub. Rawene sits on the harbour around 30 kilometres inland. It is here that the Rawene ferry will take you across the harbour and save you around 1 hours drive if you are heading north to Kaitaia. The town itself has many old wooden buildings with many of them constructed using cantilevers over the harbour. Originally designated as new settlement in 1820 the intended occupants refused to stay because it rained so hard and for so long!

Rawene sits on the harbour around 30 kilometres inland. It is here that the Rawene ferry will take you across the harbour and save you around 1 hours drive if you are heading north to Kaitaia. The town itself has many old wooden buildings with many of them constructed using cantilevers over the harbour. Originally designated as new settlement in 1820 the intended occupants refused to stay because it rained so hard and for so long!

 

Twilight Waipoua Encounter

Twilight Waipoua Encounter

Be introduced to the oldest and largest known kauri trees in the world. These sentinels have stood silently witnessing the passing of time. Culture and Nature collide here in a sensory experience of a lifetime. Footprints Waipoua is 1 of only 2 NZ and 82 Global Lonely Planet Code Green Experiences of a Lifetime. It is truly an intimate encounter with giant kauri trees who have stood silently witnessing the passing of time. Witness the transition of time and space as the sun sets on an ancient theatre.

Daylight Waipoua Encounter

Daylight Waipoua Encounter

Your Maori guide will brief you on the protocols for your visit to the mighty Waipoua Forest. Stepping into our special world you will be walking under the same stars that guided our ancestor Kupe from legendary Hawaiiki to New Zealand. The highlight of the tour will be your meeting with 'The Lord of the Forest' - the giant Tane Mahuta! Your guide will formally greet the silent giant and then suddenly you stand dwarfed before his Lordship as the darkness closes in. His gnarled ancient limbs seem to grasp at the stars and the forest is silent but for the dim chatter of its night creatures.

Manea Footprints of Kupe Guided Tour

Manea Footprints of Kupe Guided Tour

Enter Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe, our sacred cradle of tribal histories. Walk in the footprints of the Maori ancestor – Kupe the intrepid, Kupe the voyager, Kupe the discoverer.
Experience a Pƍwhiri (welcome ceremony) and other rituals and customs experienced through interaction with the descendants of Kupe. Explore the contemporary cultural centre with carvings and artefacts holding the stories of the past, giving you incredible insight into the history of Aotearoa.

New Zealand touring ideas

A popular style of touring is to take a preplanned self drive road trip.  After a thorough consultation with you we expertly plan and create your self drive tour around New Zealand allows you the freedom to explore at leisure with the comfort and security of pre-booked activities and accommodations. Route suggestions, GPS and APP guidance plus local support mean you are in safe hands. See self drive ideas here

If you prefer to let someone else do the work then an escorted small group tour or a private guided tour might be for you. Our range of hand picked small group itineraries are ideal if you prefer to travel in the company of like minded people. These tours limit the number of participants which means different accommodation options, exclusive activities and of course a knowledgable guide ensures you get to see the best of New Zealand. See our small group tours here. 

A private guided tour offers true flexibility and the security of a knowledgable local guiding you all the way. Well planned itineraries ensure you see exactly what you want to see but with your own driver-guide you can adapt to suit the day or your preference. 100% tailor-made to suit you a private tour is a great option when travelling as a small group. all our self drive itineraries can be replanned and priced using a private driver and guide. Just contact us to discuss your needs.

All North Island touring ideas - explore the diverse North Island with these itinerary suggestions. See here

All South Island touring ideas - Iconic scenery and landscapes await on this made for touring island. See here

All Nationwide touring ideas - see the best of New Zealand on these all encompassing touring itinerary ideas. See here

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