I guess I wouldn’t have visited Hokianga on my first and long planned visit to New Zealand, had my friend, Rangi, not moved there and insisted that I visit her, at her farm. Simply because I had never heard of it before. However, after my friend’s insistence on the beauty of the place and its historical significance and not to mention, I was keen on seeing my friend after 6 years, I looked it up and indeed was hooked.
The catch was that there was only one public transport to the area – the Hokianga link from Keri Keri to Hokianga, on tuesdays and sundays. Which meant that should I travel there on a tuesday, I would have to be there till sunday. It would have been fine had I longer time in NZ but with only two weeks of leave and my travel mostly focused on south island, I did not have the luxury of spending half that time in the Hokianga.
I finally found a 3 day Stray tour package from Auckland, that went to Paihia (where I had my skydiving experience) and then onto the Hokianga, for a night. However, the tour group was leaving the Hokianga early in the morning and my friend’s farm was a couple of hours further north involving travel by ferry that was not regular. Since we didn’t want to risk missing my return transport to Auckland, Rangi decided to come over and meet me at the hotel I was staying in with the group.
We decided to have a mini outing and she wanted me to see one of her favourite spots in the Hokianga, an overlook which was a beautiful scenic point.
While we caught up on what had been happening in our lives since we were in Hawai’i, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery before us and especially the setting sun. There were only a few other people, who were there with their cameras and tripods, filming the view.
Rangi mentioned that the significance of the place was that the first Maori, Kupe, is said to have sailed through this entrance and settled in the area. After settling his family in this region, he is said to have sailed back to their land of origin to bring more of their relatives but never returned. As he sailed away, the folklore continues that he set up guardians at the entrance of the bar mouth to protect his family.
After watching the sunset, we walked back to the parking lot passing the manuka trees, from which the famous (and expensive) manuka honey is produced.
Over a lovely dinner of fresh salmon, caught that day, Rangi told me about the tiny house she and her partner were building from scratch and which was aimed at leaving a minimal footprint on the environment. I had seen her posts on facebook, as their house project took shape during the past several months and it was lovely to hear her talk about why they were doing what they were doing and how their respective families pitched in the labour to help them build their house.
All too soon, our brief meetup had to wrap up as Rangi had to rush back to catch the last ferry of the evening.
I would certainly recommend travelers to the north of Auckland, especially Paihia or Keri Keri, to take some time to travel into the deep west and explore the Hokianga and other less explored places as the tiny glimpse I had of the Hokianga was lovely.