Native tui in a flowering New Zealand flax bush
Journey 8

Time from the Lodge: 2 hours to the Opua Ferry terminal.  5 minute ferry crossing to Russell.  15 minutes from Opua to Paihia.  75 minutes from Paihia to the Lodge.   Round trip travel time allow approximately 4 hours.

Turn left from the Lodge.  Turn right onto State Highway 12.  Drive east on State Highway 12 through Waima, Taheke, Kaikohe and Ohaeawai to State Highway 1. Follow this south, through Moerewa then on to Kawakawa.  This town is famous for having the railway line run down the middle of the main street, although trains are not presently operating on the line, which goes to Opua. It is also known for the fancy toilets in the centre of the town, which are worth a visit for the curiosity aspect if nothing else.

Head south from Kawakawa and you’ll come to the Kawiti Glow Worm caves (09 4040583).  Discovered in the 17th century, the caves are a galaxy of glow worm lights, impressive limestone walls, grand caverns and magnificent stalagtites and stalagmites that took thousands of years to form.  A small stream flows through the caves in which a pet eel resides.  Take the short bushwalk back through a natural corridor of ferns, shrubs, fungi and karst limestone and sandstone formations.  Entry is $15.

Following State Highway 1 further south you’ll find a sign pointing to your left to Ruapekapeka Pa, the site of the third and last of the military engagements that took place in January 1846 between local Maoris and the Crown forces. The extensive underground earthworks are still clearly visible. A short walk at the rear of the Pa site will bring you to a magnificent stand of ancient puriri trees.

From the car park take the other arm of Ruapekepeka Road to State Highway 11 and turn right towards Opua. Besides the Marina and the range of marine service industries clustered around the waters edge, this is where the car ferry leaves from for the short trip across to Okiato and the road into Russell. Russell was at one time known as Kororareko and it was the sacking of the town by local Maoris led by Hone Heke that led to the military actions. The town is compact and can easily be walked around. Christ Church, built in 1835, is the oldest church in New Zealand. It is two blocks back from the waterfront and the walls still show the bullet holes from the time of the sacking. Along the waterfront are several historic buildings and a number of good eateries.

At one end of the waterfront is Pompalier House, early base of the Catholic Marist missionaries and site of one of the earliest printing presses. Now owned by the NZ Historic Places Trust, it is open to the public from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm from December to April and from May to November there are hourly guided tours from 10.15 am until 3.15 pm.

Return by ferry to Opua and head north to Paihia, centre of tourist activities in the Bay of Islands. At the northern end of Paihia, if you continue around the roundabout, you will cross the causeway and bridge leading to Waitangi, site of the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840. Within the grounds beside the Treaty House is an excellent Visitor Information centre.

You can return to the Hokianga by Puketona Road to Puketona and then by State Highway 10 back to State Highway 1. Turn right and follow the signs to State Highway 12 and on to Kaikohe.

© 2008 - 2020 Waiotemarama Falls Lodge Limited
Kawakawa, Ruapekapeka, Opua, Russell, Paihia, Waitangi
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!

Book now for this unique accommodation experience.
Waiotemarama Falls Lodge
Extraordinary Private Accommodation Experience
Kauri Coast, Opononi, Northland, New Zealand
and Kiwi Sanctuary!
$260 per night
sleeps six
Check calendar
Book Now


64 9 405 8702
Your hosts standing outside The Lodge
Kia ora
Nau mai Haere mai
Waiotemarama Falls Lodge video tour
Visit us on Facebook and Twitter  
Quick video tour of the Lodge
Waiotemarama Falls Lodge video tour
Waiotemarama Falls Lodge video tour
Waiotemarama Gorge Scenic Drive
"The Heart
of the
Kauri Coast"