In Ōpononi, on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour, there are dunes of epic proportions – more sand mountains than sandhills.
It was on these very dunes that the first Māori explorer, Kupe, landed in New Zealand and, from there, returned to Hawaiki. Which explains the full name of the harbour – Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe – or the place of Kupe's great return.
Today, the Ōpononi dunes are a hot spot for summer fun. Bring your boogie board for speedy rides finishing with a splash into the warm sea. The dip will be welcome after a hard, sandy climb to the top.
While exposed to the prevailing winds, the pinnacle of the dunes affords exceptional views over the harbour and the Northland landscape.
The dunes can only be accessed by boat, so catch a ride with Hokianga Express Charters who leave on the hour from Ōpononi Wharf and will even supply boogie boards for free if you left yours at home.