Stunning Walks Around the Kai Iwi Lakes in Dargaville

Three more days to go! Out final stretch of travelling for these 365 Days: 365 Activities is taking us down the Kauri Coast on our way back to Auckland for one last epic day. We are so keen to make the most of it that we’re stopping by one of the best loved spots of the Kauri Coast area, starting with a trip to the Kai Iwi Lakes!

A stunning drive though the Waipoua Forest

Our day starts in Omapere on the coast of the Hokianga Harbour. We’ve had an awesome time here over the last three days filled with cultural and natural wonders. It only seems fitting to leave the area through one of the most mesmerising tracts of forest we have ever drive through in the New Zealand. The road through the Waipoua Forest is lined with giant kauri trees that are hundreds and even thousands of years old. It’s a long winding road but one we definitely don’t mind being stuck on.

If you remember, just a couple of days ago, we delved into the Waipoua Forest by night to see Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest and the largest kauri tree in New Zealand. See the Waipoua Forest by night was an incredible experience. Getting to experience it again by day makes us feel all the more lucky! A word of warning, however, if you are driving this road by night, look out for kiwi birds! They are often spotted crossing the roads around these parts.

 

Shadow selfie in the lake Shadow selfie in the lake
What a romantic place! What a romantic place!
Walking through the manuka and kanuka forest Walking through the manuka and kanuka forest
Beautifully clear lake! Beautifully clear lake!

Are you sure this is the right way?

Robin is on GPS duty, so once we are out of the forest to see the light of day again, he directs us off the main highway and down a gravel road… and then a 4×4 track, pretty much.

“This road doesn’t really seem like access to a popular attraction,” Laura sasses at Robin. Indeed, a friendly local stops us from being led 19km to a dead end and points us in the right direction. We’re ashamed this isn’t the first time that Google Maps has lead us astray in New Zealand. It’s not even the second or the third! Google Maps is on a mission to find the “fastest route” to a destination, which a) isn’t always the safest, and b) sometimes just assumes that you’ll walk the rest of the way. We knew this fact but still failed to double check the suggested route on a paper map. In conclusion, don’t use Google Maps to take you to the Kai Iwi Lakes!

The Kai Iwi Lakes

As we find ourselves back on the main highway then following the perfectly clear signs, we finally find our way to the Kai Iwi Lakes, a recreational park for walking, biking, fishing and camping. Did someone say walking? Walking is always a good go-to for something to do in New Zealand.

Starting our walk around the tranquil Lake Kai Iwi

A walk around lake Kai Iwi

Kai Iwi Lakes or the Taharoa Domain is made up of three main lakes. After checking out a crazy-looking swamp with dead twigs sticking out of it, we continue to Lake Kai Iwi for a walk around the lake. We park up and start walking.

We arrive at the shallow waters of the lake where we can see its sandy bottom as clear as day! It’s so clear that even the tiny fish have shadows! With the white sand gradually getting deeper, this casts some beautiful colours across the lake.

The further around the lake we go, the more the track is engulfed in manuka and kanuka forest, mixed with pine forest. We spot the odd bird, see the odd duck on the water, and a whole bunch of bees lapping up those manuka flowers. The track conveniently loops all the way around the lake, taking 30-45 minutes to complete.

A crazy-looking swamp (and nest)! A crazy-looking swamp (and nest)!
So much to see around the beautiful Kai Iwi Lakes! So much to see around the beautiful Kai Iwi Lakes!
Perfect picnic spot! Perfect picnic spot!

Pristine beaches on Lake Taharoa

Back at the car, we have walked ourselves into a ice cream-hungry state. We see there is a holiday park at the end of Lake Taharoa behind a set of beautiful sandy beaches, so surely we are in for a winner!

“What sort of holiday park doesn’t sell ice cream?!” Robin whines as we stomp onto down the boardwalk onto the beach with an apple each in hand. Nevertheless, we still have that summer feeling with the sun beaming down on us as we relax on a pristine white sand beach. No wonder they call this the “Winterless North”. But then, reality hits when we see a fast-moving dark cloud heading our way. They may call it the Winterless North, but New Zealand is also renowned for having four seasons in a day! This is our cue to leave and check into our accommodation.

Checking into the Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Park

We arrive at the Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Park to be greeted by a couple of cute-as-hell dogs who show us around the place before we check in with the real holiday park owner, Chris, who, by the way, has ice cream for sale… Just saying. Although our plan for tomorrow is to check out the Trounson Kauri Park and its bush walks, Chris tells us that he actually runs night tours into the Trounson Kauri Park from the holiday park to go kiwi bird spotting! Going into the forest and seeing kiwi birds in the wild sounds so much more appealing that just going into a forest, so it looks like we are sorted with tomorrow’s activity! That also means we have time to catch our breath in the holiday park all day tomorrow, considering the tour starts as dusk.

Join us tomorrow for some kiwi spotting!

Laura and Robin

The whole beach to ourselves
The whole beach to ourselves Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want more?

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Until tomorrow’s blog post, get yourself on HerePin and follow our local recommendations. We also like to hang out on Facebook and post pretty pictures on Instagram.

See you tomorrow!

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