Opononi & Omapere

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Hokianga Harbour

© Northland Inc

As you approach the seaside settlements of Omapere and Opononi you’ll notice the immense sand dunes of Niua.

Opononi became famous in 1955-56 because of Opo the dolphin. This name was given to a young female bottlenosed dolphin (genus Tursiops) which throughout the summer of 1955–56 frequented the beach at Opononi, Hokianga, inviting repeated human contact and playing with bathers and children in a manner not previously recorded for a wild dolphin since Roman times. Opo could be relied on to appear almost every day, and could be summoned by the sound of an outboard motor, audible to her from a great distance. Certain children, especially, established friendly contact. She permitted stroking and scratching, and even short rides by smaller children. (courtesy of Te Ara)

Opononi and its neighbouring sister Omapere offer a full range of accommodation and dining options - from top rate hotels to good old fashioned motels and motor camps – making it a great base to discover the Waipoua Forest, New Zealand’s largest kauri rainforest.

A walking track leads to an old signal station on Arai te uru, the south head. Take a boat trip across the harbour to the giant dunes where you can try dune surfing, or if you feel a game of bowls with balls up to 3 metres in diameter, take a walk on the beach between Koutu and Kauwhare points on the south shore of the Hokianga Harbour where you will find the Koutu Boulders, one of the Hokianga’s better kept secrets.