Picked up camper on early on Christmas Eve and made the long and beautiful drive up to Rawene, stopping off at Trounson Kauri Park  for a stretch break wandering through a small stand of Kauri Trees. Onwards winding through the amazing Waipoua Forest, passing Opononi’s beautiful beaches. Finally arrived at Rawene Holiday Park, our stop for the next few days in the evening.  Lovely spot, well laid out site with great views of Hokianga Harbour and amazing sunsets. Friendly helpful staff and fellow campers. All good.

Sunset over Hokianga Harbour

Had a quiet Christmas day. After a short walk into town from the campsite we headed for a stroll along the mangrove walkway. “Town” was unsurprisingly mostly closed so we scoped out places to visit on another day and wandered round some of the historic buildings.

Boardwalk and mangroves

Rawene proved to be a very good base for some of the other things we had planned for our stay in the area…

… Spent a fine, hot, sunny afternoon at Kai Iwi Lakes (there are 3 of ’em)  about an hours’ drive away. Even had a wee paddle in the biggest, Lake Taharoa to cool off after walking the short loop track round Lake Kai Iwi (worth an 45 mins or so of anyone’s time). It was a popular day for the lakes and by the time we left mid-afternoon, it was starting to get really busy (for New Zealand anyway)…

People enjoying lake

Woodland path, bush and trees


… Got some more Kauri Tree action Waipoua Kauri Forest. These mighty trees are amazing – it’s  hard to take in how huge some of them are. The biggest / oldest, Tane Mahuta is just a short walk from the main road. The walk to the other main attractions (Four Sisters, Yakas, Te Mahuta Ngahere) is well worth the effort…

Large Kauri Tree

Tane Mahuta Ngahere

… Visited Koutu Boulders – involves a drive down a fairly decent gravel road. Nice long beach strewn with erm… boulders – quite a site. There’s loads of ’em ranging from head size to pretty damn massive. More plentiful than Moeraki Boulders on South Island – not quite as spherical – pretty impressive showing nonetheless…

Large boulder on beach

… Did a bit of culture – mooched round galleries in Rawene, grabbed a coffee in the Boatshed Café, hopped on the ferry across the harbour to the delightful town of Kohukohu. The 5km walk from the ferry port to town was a bit longer than we were expecting but perfectly pleasant.
Got talking to a lovely guy who was cycling up north to Cape Reinga from Auckland for his summer break! More power to his legs.

Had a most excellent pork belly sandwich complete with crackling at the café next door to the Village Arts Gallery. Sampled the delights of the gallery, then took a stroll round the historic part of town before heading back to the ferry…

Historic wooden building

Masonic Lodge Kohukohu

… Took in a sunset, walks along the beaches, and stunning views of massive dunes Hokianga Harbour and beaches from Arai Te Uru Reserve in Opononi. Shame we didn’t have enough time to walk along the coastal track.

Cliffs, beach, sea and sand dunes

Cliffs, beach, and sea view from Arai Te Uru Reserve, Opononi

Really loved our wonderful relaxing sojourn in Rawene which left us well rested, all thoughts of work and the hum drum of “normal life” back home all but vanished. All set for the long drive to Waihi via an overnight stop in Orewa.

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