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.
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.