Dargaville and Pouto

Wednesday night we spent at the Northern Wairoa Airfield after an uneventful drive through from Whangarei.

On the way through there we saw a lot of evidence of wind damage to trees and some buildings as well as flood damage in paddocks and around stream and river beds.  Fortunately none of this impeded  our passage and we arrived in good time.

After a quick look at all of the Campgrounds and park over options we made our way to the airport, talked nicely to them and were allowed to park up for the night.

11The two of us parked

You see some interesting sights from the windows when you park at an aerodrome.


Next day, instead of continuing our drive we decided to take a scenic tour and drive to Pouto the furthest point south on the North Head of the Kaipara Harbour. 

The Pouto Peninsula is a landform on the northern Kaipara Harbour in Northland.  The Peninsula runs in the north west to south east direction and is approximately 55 km long. The width varies from about 5.4 km to about 14 km, with the widest part of the peninsula near its southern end. The ]Tasman Sea is to the west, and the Kaipara Harbour is to the south and east. Dargaville sits at the northern end of the peninsular.  Pouto, originally a Māori village, is in the south east of the peninsula.  There are interpretation boards for information at the end of the peninsular.


One can get down to the beach/sand spit and from there look out to the entrance of the Harbour.  It is a further 5 – 7 km walk to the lighthouse however we chose not do it as it was already mid afternoon and rather a chilly was wind blowing.  There have been 113 recorded shipwrecks on the coast of Pouto, because the low-lying peninsula makes the north head of the Kaipara Harbour treacherous, and there are a lack of landmarks on the peninsula from which to take bearings.  There is a guided trip to the Lighthouse which we may do another day.


There is a parking/camping place at Pouto which in the summer months would be much more pleasant than the muddy conditions we found it in.

sea_thumbView from the camping area

Besides, the drive into Pouto itself is via a long stretch of narrow windy gravel road.

Kelly’s Bay was the pick of locations on the peninsular.  It lies on the eastern side of the peninsular on the Kaipara Harbour therefore is very sheltered and flat.  There is good parking in the campground and would be a place to return to at a later date.

16Kellys Bay parking on right. 

As we drove into the Bay, there were huge numbers of Oyster Catchers and skittery Pied Stilts lining the foreshore.


On our way back to Dargaville, we headed out onto the west coast to have a look at another beach and camp site at Glinks Gully.  There are a large number of permanent and holiday homes lining the beach with a small campground up on the hill.  


Glinks Gully

A typical west coast beach, rough, windswept and and this very windy day was not particularly inviting.  Back toward the main rain back to Dargaville where we spied this rocky outcrop on the horizon, obviously the remains of a volcanic plug.  It is known as Maungaraho Rock. A plug is a volcanic landform created when magma hardens within  a vent on an active volcano. If a plug is preserved, erosion may remove the surrounding rock while the erosion-resistant plug remains, producing a distinctive upstanding landform.


We stopped at a roadside stall just out of Dargaville to pick up some tomatoes, however, someone must have been concentrating far too hard when painting the sign!


Friday morning and time to leave Dargaville.   After checking the road conditions with the local constabulary, we were told the only way for us to get to Kerikeri was via the coast road through the Waipoua Forest as the Mangakahia road was closed to heavy vehicles. Once the morning fog had lifted we set off to continue on our journey…  

22early morning mist across the aerodrome

3 Responses to “Dargaville and Pouto”

  1. Stuartinnz Says:

    Did you know you have a cousin who used to be the lighthouse keeper at Kaipara North Head Light? A bit of an exaggeration, but I managed it for Heritage New Zealand for a number of years. That included a major undertaking removing the mountains of windblown sand that were threatening to bury it – we uncovered the base of the lighthouse that had not seen the light of day for forty years. It is a long wind-blown walk along the beach, but do take the tour if you can.

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