Time from the Lodge: Allow 45 minutes total driving time.
Turn left from the Lodge gate. Whiria Pa is straight in front of you at the junction with State Highway 12. Whiria was home to the Ngapuhi chiefs Rahiri and Moetara, who united the Ngapuhi and drove the other tribes out of the Hokianga. Note the terraces at the top of the hill where buildings once stood. The hillside was lined with oyster shells around a fortified village.
Turn right onto State Highway 12 then left at the sign for Koutu Loop Road (approximately 1.5 km). Follow Koutu Loop Road until you come to Koutu settlement. When the road swings to the right, instead go straight ahead into Koutu Point Road. Park in the parking area on the point. This is the site of the Kauri Timber Mill, which once boasted the largest band saw in the Southern Hemisphere. If you walk around the foreshore to the left you will see the remains of the wharf that saw millions of feet of sawn timber, mainly kauri, shipped to Auckland or overseas.
Return along Koutu Point Road and when you meet the seal, turn left. Follow Koutu Loop Road to the next road on the left, Waione Road. Turn into Waione Road and after about 100m park in the area near the old cattle yards. Walk around the foreshore and marvel at the spherical concretions.
The Koutu Boulders are giant, metre-scale cannonball concretions, which are found along the shoreline on both sides of the Hokianga Harbour. They are formed when sediments crystallise on the surface of an object that is tossed and rolled in water currents. These concretions are an erosional lag left behind by the erosion of mudstones and sandstones of the Late Cretaceous Punakitere Sandstone of the Mangakahia Complex. The largest of these concretions are about 6 metres in diameter.
Return to State Highway 12 and turn right towards Opononi. At the junction with Waiotemarama Gorge Road are the Pakanae Marae and St. Davidís Church. A central feature of the Marae is a memorial to Kupe, the first Maori to settle in New Zealand around 1,100 years ago.
Koutu Point, Koutu Boulders, Whiria Pa, Pakanae
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Waiotemarama Falls Lodge
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Kauri Coast, Opononi, Northland, New Zealand
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