Five reasons the Northland Journey Wandering with Ancestors is perfect for deep thinkers and spiritual minds
Connect to the stories of the past on the Northland Journey Wandering with Ancestors. Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors on this trail of the beautiful Hokianga. Discover the story of Kupe the great Polynesian navigator who landed on these shores over 800 years ago. Explore the boutique shops, art galleries and studios in creative hubs Rāwene and Kohukohu. Learn about the special connection that descendants of Chinese goldminers that died tragically on the SS Ventnor have to this place. Here’s five reasons Wandering with Ancestors is perfect for spiritual minds and deep thinkers:
1. Discover the story of Polynesian explorer Kupe at Manea Footprints of Kupe
Opononi and its sister town Ōmāpere are the key to exploring the Hokianga. Here you will find hotel and motel accommodation, restaurants, an information centre and supermarket; everything you need for your holiday in the Hokianga. Tours of the forest and harbour depart here, and the new cultural centre Manea Footprints of Kupe is the best place to learn the stories of Kupe – the first Polynesian explorer to travel from Hawaiki to Aotearoa. Walk in the footsteps of Kupe in a 75-minute multisensory journey of guided storytelling. On site you will also find the memorial sculpture dedicated to the sailors of the SS Ventnor tragedy.
2. Take in spectacular views at Signal Station Point: Arai Te Uru Reserve
Take a short 15-minute walk along the Signal Station Track to the lookout point for spectacular views of the Hokianga Harbour and coastline. The wreck of the SS Ventnor lies approximately 15km out to sea in a westerly direction. This track is suitable for children and buggies and the grassy terraces are a great spot to stop for a picnic as they are sheltered from the elements.
3. Lose yourself in Rāwene
It’s impossible not to feel relaxed as you wander the streets of historic Rāwene. Admire the cute and colourful heritage buildings that line the streets as you enjoy a coffee and bite to eat over the water at the famous Boat Shed café. Stop by the No. 1 Parnell Gallery and peruse the incredible work of local artists. Get a hit of nostalgia as you re-discover the games you played as a kid ‘Simply Fun’ puzzle and game shop. Puzzle and game aficionado Louis Toorenburg (known affectionately by locals as “Puzzleman”) expanded the space in 2020 to include a museum that houses his private collection of more than 5000 puzzles.
4. Appreciate a natural wonder at Koutu Boulders
If you time your visit right and walk along the beach at the upper Hokianga Harbour at low tide you will see the unique spherical boulders known as the Koutu Boulders. These boulders can be up to three metres in diameter and although their rounded edges look like the work of a sculptor, they are 100 percent naturally occurring.
5. Reflect on the past at Mitimiti Urupā
The last stop on the trail is the remote and secluded coastal settlement of Mitimiti – home to the people of Te Rarawa. This hauntingly beautiful place has a powerful story of two cultures coming together in the wake of tragedy and an undeniable strong spiritual energy can be felt here. In 1902, the SS Ventnor, a ship carrying the remains of hundreds of Chinese gold miners sank off the coast of Hokianga and Te Rarawa tūpuna collected the remains from the wreck for burial. Overlooking the Urupā is the magnificent Red Gateway designed by Nick Grace. Now over 100 years later, it stands as a modern-day memorial to the event. The Chinese-inspired gate looks out to spectacular ocean vistas.