Haere Mai | Welcome
Dargaville & Surrounds
Dargaville is world famous for being New Zealand’s Kumara Capital and the face of the Kumara Capital is none other than “Ernie” (aka Warren Suckling) and his live family entertainment at the Kumara Box. On a more serious note Warren and his wife Mavis are the largest producers of kumara in New Zealand growing approximately 17,000 tons per year
Kumara is a sweet potato and comes in a variety of colours and flavours but all with that distinctive knobbly exterior
On the banks of the mighty Northern Wairoa River stands the historic town of Dargaville – the largest town on the Kauri Coast.
Tangata Whenua (indigenous people of then land) named this place Kaihu.
In 1872 Joseph McMullen Dargaville purchased land from local Ngapuhi Chief Parore Te Awaha and others. The tiny settlement soon became a busy river town supporting the timber and kauri gum trades.
Dalmatians (Croatians), other immigrants and New Zealanders began to settle in the district.
Dargaville is now the hub of farming, forestry and cropping industries with the alluvial river plains promote the extensive cropping of kumara.
The journey from Toka Toka (map A) to Dargaville takes about 15 minutes alongside the mighty Northern Wairoa River and then through the fertile plains to cross the river into Dargaville (map B).
Dargaville has some lovely river walks (map C) and every Thursday, rain or shine, there is a Riverside Produce Market held with a variety of fresh local fare.
At Dargaville’s Riverside Gardens you will find a pirate ship playground for the kids and families can also enjoy visiting the 50 metre local swimming pool at Selwyn Park which includes a toddler’s pool and BBQ area.
Whilst wandering alongside the river, visitors can consider taking a short cruise aboard the ‘Daisy’ which departs from the quay and includes commentary of the history of Dargaville during the kauri timber and gum era.
If you are visiting the area in February/March then there is an added attraction as Dargaville is also home to the Northland Field-days. This is an annual event where visitors can see all types of farming, animals and rural displays.
After leaving Dargaville township it is time to head to the fun and entertainment with Ernie in his shed The Kumara Box (map E) before continuing south to Pouto Point. Here visitors will find the historic Pouto lighthousemap F) at the entrance of the Kaipara Harbour.
If you are lucky the shifting sands might just unveil the odd shipwreck as many an ill fated ship perished off these shores.
The Dargaville Museum (map D) is a Must Do which offers something for everyone through diverse displays including shipwrecks, a Maori waka (canoe), history of the early pioneers and gumdiggers and an extensive collection of piano accordions, plus lots more.
Ripiro Beach makes up the predominant coastline of the Kauri Coast – at 100 kms it is New Zealand’s longest drivable beach and runs from Pouto in the South to Maunganui Bluff just south of Waipoua Forest. There are several entrances and exists from the beach but driving the beach is only recommended to those with a 4WD and with local knowledge. Ripiro Beach is also a fisherman’s paradise if you like surf casting and kontiki long-lining or collecting a few shellfish from the rocks. Heading back north the next stop is the settlement of Baylys Beach (part of Ripiro Beach) and 13 kms west of Dargaville. A fantastic place to enjoy the expansive white sand beach for paragliding, kite boarding and wind surfing, plus quad bikes (4×4) and horse riding on the beach is also available. You can of course just relax on the beach and when it’s time to eat visit the iconic Funky Fish Café.
From Baylys Beach your journey will continue north on State Highway 12 enjoying some of the most spectacular rural farmland and vistas.