Kai Iwi Lakes Resort
49 Kai Iwi Lakes Rd, Omamari,
Dargaville, New Zealand
Named the Sparkling Jewels of the North, Kai Iwi Lakes are the largest dune lakes in New Zealand offering spectacular scenery and lots of activities for outdoor lovers. There is virtually no evidence of commercialisation at the lakes – don't forget to bring your own supplies and equipment!
Walk from the Kai Iwi Lakes Resort across picturesque farmland to Ripiro Beach, the longest beach in New Zealand, driveable in a 4WD at low tide. Ripiro Beach/Baylys Beach is claimed to be the longest driveable beach in the country from Pouto Lighthouse at the north head of Kaipara Harbour in the south, to Maunganui Bluff in the north. Off-roading in 4WDs makes for a great adventure along the black-sand beaches. Don't attempt it with front-wheel-drive vehicles though. Surfcasting and surfing are pastimes you are likely to see while visiting the area. People are known to swim here, but take the utmost care as west coast beaches are notorious for underwater rips.
Walk to Maunganui Bluff (approx 5hrs one way). With its summit 460m above sea level, but only 700m from the coastline, Maunganui Bluff plummets steeply in to the sea below. The track itself passes through a rare example of northern coastal forest before emerging on a summit with spectacular views. If you're fit and up for a challenge, you can climb the remains of this ancient volcano for the most magnificent views over Maunganui Beach and along the rugged coast.
15-minute drive north takes you to Trounson National Park where you can do a guided night walk and hopefully see some kiwis in the wild! Trounson Kauri Park is home to several threatened species, including North Island brown kiwi, kereru (native pigeon), pekapeka (bats) and kauri snails. It's also known for a magnificent stand of kauri trees – one of the best examples in the country.
Hokianga Harbour is only 1 hour away – take a day trip and fish off the jetty or take the ferry over to the dunes for some sand boarding. The green, craggy south head near the coastal village of Omapere was once a signal station for shipping. The north head has towering, bleached sand dunes, some up to 170m high.
Visit Tane Mahuta, also called Lord of the Forest, in the Waipoua Forest, New Zealand's largest known living kauri tree. Its age is unknown but is estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years. It is the largest kauri known to stand today. It is named for the Māori god of forests and of birds.
Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland, and are now under the protection of the Department of Conservation. The drive on SH 12 winds through magnificent stands of tall kauri, rimu and northern rata, and offers extensive views in a few places.
Just 30 minutes north of Dargaville, the lakes are part of the Taharoa Domain, an unsurpassed recreational reserve. The beautiful crystal clear Kai Iwi Lakes are ideal for safe swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating and water skiing.
The Kai Iwi Lakes are located 20 minutes drive north of Dargaville in Northland, New Zealand. Follow the signs off SH 12. From the south, drive through Waipoua Forest (south of the Hokianga Harbour) and follow the signs to Kai Iwi Lakes 25 mins along SH 12 after the exit of the forest.
The Kai Iwi Lakes Resort is located on the main road to the Kai Iwi Lakes (Kai Iwi Lakes Road) on the left, only a short distance from the magnificent lakes themselves.
The Kai Iwi Lakes Resort is the following distance by road from these locations: