Get on your bike in Hokianga. © Alistair Guthrie

Loved by the locals: Hokianga


AA Members can save 10% on selected accommodation.

Start looking

From impressive geology to even more impressive kauri trees, cafés, churches and cycle trails – here are five great things to do in Hokianga.

1. Rock stars

Explore the ancient natural rock formations of the Wairere Boulders, inland from Hōreke. This valley full of rocks, eroded into weird and wonderful shapes, was rediscovered by Swiss immigrants who bought the land in the 1980s and built a network of tracks and platforms so visitors could view the boulders. The valley makes a fascinating side trip, but bring your sturdy shoes.

2. Coffee stop

New Zealand is no longer the coffee wasteland it used to be, and every now and then an unexpected gem turns up. The Landing Thai Café in Ōpononi is one such find, with city-quality food and coffee and fantastic views looking out over the harbour. As well as the brunch menu there’s a great range of cabinet food and a warm welcome.

3. Church spotting

One of the iconic images of the Hokianga is of a little white church in a green landscape.

They’re dotted around in the most isolated places, reminders of populations long gone but communities are still proud of their heritage.

Among the most picturesque are the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption at Motukaraka, near Kohukohu; St Mary’s at Motuiti, where Catholic missionary Bishop Pompallier’s mortal remains rest; St Peter’s at Panguru; Ripeka Tapu at Rangi Point; Ōmanaia Church at Waima; and the strikingly situated St Gabriel’s at Pawarenga.

4. Kauri country

The first Europeans came to the Hokianga in search of kauri and did a pretty good job of clearing out the magnificent trees. However, the road south from the harbour still wends its way through the mighty Waipōua Forest, saved from logging in the 1950s and containing some of the largest living specimens. At the upper reaches of the harbour lie the Ōmahuta and Puketi forest reserves, comprising more than 21,000 hectares of unlogged native forest, with various trails to explore.

5. Biking trails

The Hokianga is the ‘other end’ of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail Pou Herenga Tai, which starts in the Bay of Islands.

The track runs along the harbour edge at Hōreke, then from Kaikohe to Ōkaihau, along a disused rail corridor and past wetlands, pine forests and native bush.

Rent bikes and arrange transport with Top Trail in Kaikohe, for the opportunity to explore the region at an appropriately slower pace.

Explore more...

Things to do while you're here

Find out more

Get outdoors

Five great days out with kids in Northland

With iconic native forest, cultural heritage and a bounty of beaches to explore, Northland offers a myriad of options for kid-friendly fun.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Road trips

Hokianga: a road trip around a heavenly harbour

The most rewarding direction to approach the Hokianga is from the south, which also happens to be the leg of the Twin Coast Discovery Highway route featuring the great Waipōua kauri forest. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Get outdoors: five cute campgrounds on the Kaipara

With 800 kilometres of convoluted coastline, the Kaipara Harbour is the largest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere, which means there are plenty of places to stay along its shores. Read the story . . . 

AA Members save on selected accommodation with
AA Traveller

AA Members
Book now
Non Members
Book now