Turn right from the Lodge. Turn left onto State Highway 12, heading south toward the Waipoua Forest. Alternatively, you may turn left from the Lodge, left at the junction with State Highway 12 and follow the road through Opononi, Omapere and over Pakia Hill (the South Head or Arai Te Uru). The following itineraries could be combined for one big outing. On the way you will pass the famous Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua Forest. A walk to this forest giant is only 3 minutes from the road.
1. Donnelly’s Crossing and Trounson Kauri Park
Time from the Lodge: 75 minutes to Donnelly’s Crossing. Round trip travel time allow approximately 3 hours.
Just past the Waipoua Forest is an excellent shop on your right, called Katui Kauri. They have a great range and the best prices for carved kauri bowls and much more. After passing Katui look for the sign posts to Trounson Park and turn left into Proud Road. This metalled (i.e. dirt/gravel) road will take you first to Donnelly’s Crossing, at one time the terminus of the railway line from Dargaville. This leads into Trounson Park Road. Follow this to Trounson Kauri Park. The walk through the park takes about 45 minutes and the boardwalk tracks are suitable for wheel chairs.
Trounson Kauri Park was named after Edmund Trounson who died helping others in the 1918 flu epidemic. Edmund’s father, James Trounson, made the park a reserve back in 1890, initially putting aside just over three hectares. In the years since, the area has grown to 450 hectares and is home to some of New Zealand’s rare species including kauri snails, New Zealand’s only native land mammal, the bat, and the brown kiwi. After leaving Trounson follow the signs to Kaihu to return to SH12.
2. Maunganui Bluff, Aranga Beach
Time from the Lodge: 75 minutes to Aranga Beach. Round trip travel time allow approximately 3 hours.
Travelling further southward on SH12 you will come to Aranga, marked by the school on the left of the road. About 2 km further on, look for the sign to Maunganui Bluff on your right. Follow Aranga Coast Road until you reach the Tasman Sea. On your right is the base of Maunganui Bluff. To your left, Ripiro Beach stretches in a straight line to the North entrance of the Kaipara Harbour. This beach was the original road from Auckland via Dargaville to the Far North. When they came to Maunganui Bluff they had to turn inland and travel behind the bluff to get past it. There is now a track for the fit to the top of the Bluff. The rocks at the base of the bluff are a popular spot for locals to gather mussels and other shellfish. It is also a wild place in a storm.
Time from the Lodge: 60 minutes to Kaihu. Round trip travel time allow approximately 1 hour.
Further south SH12 comes off the high ridge and down into the valley to Kaihu. Kaihu played an important part in Northland's kauri-logging boom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was here that the trees were logged and then sent south to Dargaville before being transported to their final destination.
At Nelson's Kaihu Kauri you can see the work of local carvers and turners. Next door is usually a heap of ancient kauri logs excavated from the swamps, which have preserved them ever since they fell over.
4. Kai-iwi Lakes
Time from the Lodge: 75 minutes to Kai Iwi Lakes. Round trip travel time allow approximately 3 hours.
About 6 km south of Kaihu you will see the signs to Kai-iwi Lakes and Omamari on your right. Follow Omamari Road to the turn-off to your right to Kai-iwi Lakes, popular for camping, boating and canoeing.
Pristine white sands and rolling green countryside surround the crystal waters of the three freshwater lakes known as the Kai Iwi Lakes. The lakes do not have any tributaries and are only filled by rainfall, which means the levels of the lakes can vary depending on the season. Visitors can safely swim and water-ski in the lakes. Trout were released in the 1960’s, providing great fishing opportunities. The New Zealand water-ski championships have been held at Kai Iwi Lakes several times.
When you leave the lakes, turn right towards the sea and travel to Omamari, the place according to Maori legend where Kupe’s canoe was wrecked and buried when it left the Hokianga after returning to New Zealand. You can then return to SH12 by continuing on the Babylon Coast Road.
5. Baylys Beach
Time from the Lodge: 80 minutes to Baylys Beach. Round trip travel time allow approximately 3 hours.
Just before you reach Dargaville you will see the sign to Baylys Beach on your right. This road leads to the holiday beach settlement on the coast. Besides surf casting (fishing) from the beach, horse treks are available and you can hire 4-wheel drive motor bikes at the Baylys Beach Holiday Park to drive along the beach. You can also contact Baylys Beach Tours (021 0270 0243). Two operators offer tours in special buses up or down Ripiro Beach, where they can point out the remains of wrecked ships exposed by storms. This is claimed to be the longest driveable beach in New Zealand, stretching from Poutu Lighthouse at the North Head of Kaipara Harbour, north to the Maunganui Bluff.
6. Dargaville Museum
Time from the Lodge: 75 minutes to Dargaville. Round trip travel time allow approximately 3 hours.
As you enter Dargaville, you will see signs on the right of the Museum, which is situated on a hill overlooking the town and the winding Northern Wairoa River. Outside the Museum are the two masts of the ‘Rainbow Warrior’, the Greenpeace vessel sunk by French saboteurs in Auckland Harbour in 1984. The Museum contains relics from many of the ships wrecked around the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour or on the coast. It also has an extensive working exhibit of the kauri gum diggings and other exhibits of early pioneer life. It is open every day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (telephone 09 439 7555).
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Waiotemarama Falls Lodge
Extraordinary Private Accommodation Experience
Kauri Coast, Opononi, Northland, New Zealand
and Kiwi Sanctuary!
Waiotemarama Falls Lodge is the Hokianga's finest accommodation experience. See the real New Zealand bush!
Activities include sandboarding, hiking, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, stargazing, horsetrekking, Maori culture experiences, art trails, the Waipoua Forest and so much more!
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Explore Kai Iwi Lakes, Baylys Beach and Dargaville