Worth a Trip: Pouto Point

A narrow spit descends south of Dargaville, bordered by the Tasman Sea and Wairoa River, and comes to an abrupt halt at the entrance of NZ’s biggest harbour, the Kaipara. It’s an incredibly remote headland, punctuated by dozens of petite dune lakes and the lonely Kaipara Lighthouse (built from kauri in 1884). Less than 10km separates Kaipara Harbour’s north and south heads, but if you were to drive between the two you’d cover 267km.

A 4WD can be put to its proper use on the ocean-hugging 71km stretch of beach from Glinks Gully near Dargaville. The DOC’s Pouto Hidden Treasures is a helpful guide for motorists, with tips for protecting both your car and the fragile ecosystem. It can be downloaded at www.doc.govt.nz.