On the north west coast of North Island, reached by an easy drive along the Twin Coast Discovery Highway, you’ll find a region characterised by its natural wonders and cultural heritage. Here are some of the best Kauri Coast New Zealand attractions.
Kauri Coast New Zealand Attractions
Go body boarding on the dunes
Adrenaline junkies should head for Hokianga Harbour at the northern end of the Kauri Coast. The Hokianga Express ferry will take you to the dunes from Opononi Wharf where you can enjoy thrills and hopefully not too many spills as you slide down at speed. You won’t even need a board – they’ll give you that. It’s also the place for a dune buggy tour.
See giant trees
This is probably one of the most popular Kauri Coast New Zealand attractions. The giant kauri trees are what give this stretch of New Zealand’s coast its name and the largest of all, Tane Mahuta, can be found in the Waipoua Forest. Known in Maori as “Lord of the Forest” and a key part of the Maori creation story, it’s thought to be well over a thousand years old, but no one knows for sure. Take a tour at twilight with a Maori guide to learn about the legends entwined with the forest.
Encounter a kiwi in the wild
New Zealand’s national icon, the kiwi, is hard to find in the wild, but the Trounson Kauri Park is one of the places you’ll have the best chance of encountering this elusive nocturnal creature. Guided night walks follow the 1.6km boardwalk trail and around 50% of tours encounter kiwis. But with plenty more wildlife to see, including Kauri snails, glow worms, and a species of brown owl called a morepork, visitors leave happy.
Explore the Wairere boulders
Moeraki doesn’t have a monopoly on interesting boulders. Near Horeke, you’ll find a valley floor strewn with huge rocks. These enormous basalt boulders, some standing up to 30 metres high, feature deep cuts known to geologists as fluting. They were formed as a result of leaching of acids formed by the Kauri forests which covered the area.
Learn about the region’s history
The best place to learn about the region is undoubtedly at the Kauri Museum in Matakohe. The museum’s eclectic exhibits cover everything from lives of the early settlers to the distinctive flora and fauna of the area. The museum has the largest collection of Kauri gum in the world and there’s even a life size replica of a turn of the century boarding house filled with antique Kauri wood furniture.