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Welcome to Opononi

Once you leave Omapere, you drive straight into Opononi, the two townships join at the Bowling Green and Show Grounds where the Annual Axeman Carnival is held each year on the 1st of January for almost the last 100 years.

A short drive away is the centre of Opononi, beautiful pohutakawa trees line the sandy shore. From the wharf one can catch fish or a boat to take you across to those magnificient sand dunes that dominated the scenery. Here one can wander in piece, coming across magnificent sandstone formations, petrified kauri, lava formations and fantastic views.

'Opo the Friendly Dolphin'  made Opononi famous in the summer of 1955-56 when it played with the locals and tourists which visited the area in their thousands just to get a glimpse, The New Zealand Government even passed a law to protect it, but alas in 1956 it was found washed up dead on rocks, the cause of death still causing controversy nearly a half a century later. A statue in Opononi commemorates Opo's visit.

In summer the Alma (historic century old scow) will take you for harbour cruises and fishing trips. Opononi has a hotel, restaurant, accommodation, Four Square Store, and fast food outlet.

Pakanae - about 2 kilometres out of Opononi is a small historic maori settlement of Pakanae, and outside the marae (maori meeting house) stands the monument to Kupe the ledgendary maori explorer who discovered New Zealand. Kupe is believed to have settled in the Pakanae area before his journey to Hawaiki to start the migration of the maori people to this land. Making the Hokianga truly the Cradle of the New Zealand.

Koutu - a historic timber settlement is about 4 kilometres away, you turn of State Highway 12 to get there. The Harbour entrance views are fantastic.

Whirinaki - another maori settlement is the next place you go through, beautiful bush clad hills and a magnificent waterfall can be seen from the road, but there is also a bushwalk to the falls and further up into the kauri forests, this starts up the top of Mountain Road, next to the Okopako Wilderness Farm, which has accommodation and horse trekking.


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