Hokianga – the perfect day trip from Waipoua Lodge

Twelve thousand years ago Hokianga was a river valley flanked by steep bush-clad hills.  As the last ice age regressed, the dramatic rise in sea level slowly flooded the valley turning it into a tidal, saltwater harbour with abundant sheltered deep water anchorages.

The true birthplace of Maori in New Zealand

Kupe who is generally accepted to be the very first voyager and Maori to discover New Zealand over 1,000 years ago made the Hokianga his home and is still a heartland for Maori.  Missionaries arrived  in the early 19th century and discovered the accessible timber resources.  News soon spread and ships subsequently arrived, risking crossing the dangerous bar and entered the harbour and so the deforestation of Hokianga began and this would be completed by the turn of the century. The Hokianga bar is extremely dangerous and 16 ships were lost with most coming to grief leaving fully laden and becoming caught in deep water with a change in the wind as steering was lost and the ship was swept onto the rocky shore. At any one time as many as 20 ships could be loading Hokianga timber.

Things to do in the Hokianga

In the high season, take a harbour cruise with Hokianga Express and follow in the footsteps and relive the journey with stories of this country’s most influential visitor Kupe.

Visit the historic town of Rawene and enjoy lunch at the popular Boat Shed Cafe followed by a visit to Clendon House home of Captain James Reddy who was in the thick of the earliest Maori and Pakeha (European) interaction and witness to the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

See the monument in memory of the world famous Opo the dolphin who became known in 1955-56 for playing with children in Hokianga at Opononi. Opo was a wild dolphin but who had no qualms about human company and playing with balls and beer bottles.

Spend time with Jim Taranaki a Maori artisan and create your own piece of bone carving.

Imagine sand-boarding down giant dunes into crystal clear water! From Opononi wharf board the Hokianga Express which will cruise you across the harbour to the giant dunes.

The Hokianga is never more beautiful than on a hot summer day with a clear blue sky and sparkling water so you might choose to just swim in the harbour or simply relax on the beach.  But if further thrill and adventure is your ‘cup of tea’, how about a tug of war with some great open water fishing with Pete from Hokianga Express Charters! The options are plenty ….. the choice is yours !