Kai Iwi Lakes Activities

Named the Sparkling Jewels of the North, Kai Iwi Lakes are the largest dune lakes in New Zealand offering spectacular scenery and crystal clear waters.

There is virtually no evidence of commercialisation at the lakes – don’t forget to bring your own supplies and equipment!

Ripiro Beach

Walk from the Kai Iwi Lakes Resort across picturesque farmland to Ripiro Beach, the longest beach in New Zealand, driveable in a 4WD at low tide. Ripiro Beach/Baylys Beach is claimed to be the longest driveable beach in the country from Pouto Lighthouse at the north head of Kaipara Harbour in the south, to Maunganui Bluff in the north. Off-roading in 4WDs makes for a great adventure along the black-sand beaches. Don’t attempt it with front-wheel-drive vehicles though. Surfcasting and surfing are pastimes you are likely to see while visiting the area. People are known to swim here, but take the utmost care as west coast beaches are notorious for underwater rips.

Compliments to Brian Dean Photography for his amazing shot of Ripiro Beach around Baylys Beach

Maunganui Bluff

Drive 20mins north to Aranga where you will find  Maunganui Bluff  With its summit 460m above sea level, but only 700m from the coastline, Maunganui Bluff plummets steeply in to the sea below. The track itself passes through a rare example of northern coastal forest before emerging on a summit with spectacular views. If you’re fit and up for a challenge, you can climb the remains of this ancient volcano for the most magnificent views over Maunganui Beach and along the rugged coast. It takes up to 1.5 hours to get to the top but you can get an awesome view within 15 mins walk. 

Take a bucket and pick mussels off the rocks at the Bluffs base.

Trounson National Park

15-minute drive north takes you to Trounson National Park where you can do a guided night walk and hopefully see some kiwis in the wild! Trounson Kauri Park is home to several threatened species, including North Island brown kiwi, kereru (native pigeon), pekapeka (bats) and kauri snails. It’s also known for a magnificent stand of kauri trees – one of the best examples in the country.

Baylys Beach

Baylys Beach is 20 mins south of Kai Iwi Lakes. Its an old school community with direct vehicle access to the amazing Ripiro Beach. Grab fish and chips at Sharkeys and eat it on the beach whilst you watch the magnificent sunsets and listen to the roar of the ocean.

Tane Mahuta

A 45-minute drive north to Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua Forest. Remember to respect nature and wash your shoes. Tane Mahuta is a must see due to the risk of Kauri Dieback in the area

Waipoua Forest

Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland, and are now under the protection of the Department of Conservation. The drive on SH 12 winds through magnificent stands of tall kauri, rimu and northern rata, and offers extensive views in a few places.

Kai Iwi Lakes

Just 30 minutes north of Dargaville, the lakes are part of the Taharoa Domain, an unsurpassed recreational reserve. The beautiful crystal clear Kai Iwi Lakes are ideal for safe swimming, kayaking, boating and water skiing.