Welcome to Pio Pio, Awakino & Mokau
Along this scenic route the sheep stations sprout peculiar limestone formations before giving way to lush native bush as the highway winds along the course of the Awakino River. This river spills into the Tasman at Awakino (population 60), a small settlement where boats shelter in the estuary while locals find refuge at the rustic Awakino Hotel.
Five kilometres further south, as Mt Taranaki starts to emerge on the horizon, is the village of Mokau (population 400). It offers a fine black-sand beach and good surfing and fishing. From August to November the Mokau River (the second-longest on the North Island) spawns whitebait and subsequent swarms of territorial whitebaiters.