Summer camping at Northland’s Kai Iwi Lakes is a quintessential Kiwi experience.
Just north of Dargaville, the three lakes at Kai Iwi – Taharoa, Waikere and Lake Kai Iwi – are some of New Zealand’s largest dune lakes, formed by the accumulation of rainwater in the white sand.
At up 37 metres deep, Lakes Taharoa and Waikere are also the deepest dune lakes in the country. But with warm, shallow edges, the Kai Iwi Lakes are ideal for kayaking, water sports and for kids to play.
They’re also great for fishing and gathering, with abundant rainbow trout, kōura, and freshwater mussels.
If you’re looking for a more energetic alternative to lakeside lounging, head to the nearby Ripiro Beach. A 107km-long stretch of sand running from Pōuto in the south to the Maunganui Bluff in the north, it is the longest drivable beach in New Zealand. Best suited for 4WD vehicles, you can drive along Ripiro Beach within two hours of low tide.