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Your guide to Opononi
All About Opononi
The small beachside community of Opononi sits on Hokianga Harbour on the northwest coast of New Zealand’s North Island, set against a backdrop of rolling hills. Opononi is part of a dual settlement with neighboring Omapere, and the towns are separated by a long stretch of sandy beach. The Waima and Mataraua forests are close by, as well as the Waipoua Forest, where you can find the largest kauri tree in the country.
Most of the homes in Opononi sit close to the Twin Coast Discovery Highway, a loop road from the capital city of Auckland that follows the coast. The beach offers views across the water to Rangi Point sand dunes. You can take a boat from Opononi Wharf to the dunes, where you can try your hand at dune surfing. The most famous sculpture in Opononi is of Opo the dolphin, commemorating a real bottlenose dolphin who was a friendly resident of the waters in the 1950s.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Opononi
Note that seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are opposite to those you are used to in the US. Opononi is in the Northland Region of North Island, which New Zealanders like to call the “winterless north.” It boasts a subtropical climate, so the temperatures between the summer and winter months do not vary as much as in the southern part of North Island or South Island. The busiest time of year is from the middle of December to the middle of January, when Hokianga Harbour tends to see its warmest temperatures. Since temperatures dip only slightly in the winter months, Opononi is a year-round destination. Toward the end of September, the entire region plays host to the Hokianga Country Music Festival, which brings events to towns including Opononi.
Top things to do in Opononi
A 30-minute drive south of Opononi, the Waipoua Forest is home to Tāne Mahuta, the largest kauri tree in the world, which is more than 165 feet tall with a trunk girth of nearly 45 feet. To reach this giant tree, take a short jaunt along a wooden gangway, which will bring you up close to Tāne Mahuta from a special platform on the trail.
Walk along the beach two hours before or after low tide to get close to the Koutu Boulders, some of nature’s wonders, which sit alongside the mangrove trees. These huge spherical boulders are rock concretions, formed millions of years ago, which have rolled down onto the shore; the biggest is 10 feet in diameter.
Waimamaku Coastal Track
Just south of Opononi is the Arai Te Uru Recreation Reserve, which marks the start of the Waimamaku Coastal Track, a six-mile trail across vast sandy beaches and clifftops to the mouth of the Waimamaku River. As you follow the coastline, you’ll be treated to views of the mighty sand dunes across the harbor and the waves lapping against the rocky headlands.