From Kerikeri to Karikari

September 8, 2023
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AFTER the Bay of Islands and Kerikeri, which I blogged about in February, the next major attraction on the coast, off State Highway 10, is Taupō Bay, within the wider Whangaroa Bay, which you can see at the right of the map below. It’s a bit off the beaten track, but it’s well worth it.

Doubtless Bay and the Karikari Peninsula. Map data ©2023 Google. North at top.

I missed Taupō Bay last December. But I did pull into Doubtless Bay and then went on to explore the nearby Karikari Peninsula, which forms the western side of Doubtless Bay.

By the way, while the names Kerikeri and Karikari look similar, they are not the same, nor do they mean the same.

Kerikeri means ‘to keep digging’, a name that reflects the fact that Kerikeri sits on top of fertile river flats. Karikari means ‘to pull in a shoal of fish’, a name equally appropriate to a peninsula.

Mangōnui, at the eastern end of Doubtless Bay, is an old whaling settlement with a historic pā, Rangikapiti.

Coopers Beach, just west of Mangonui, at the southern end of Doubtless Bay, used to have this huge campground on the beach, and I used to stay there. But that was 30 years ago. Now it has all been subdivided, and there is no access to camping.

But the good thing about it is the hiking trails there now, not only around Rangikapiti Pā, but elsewhere.

Taipa, just to the west of Coopers Beach, had none of the sand dunes I recalled: they had literally disappeared.

If you are a fan of old cars and machinery, you might want to check out the Matthews Vintage Collection here as well.

And so, to the Karikari Peninsula. I actually visited Doubtless Bay on the way to Cape Reinga and then caught up with the Karikari Peninsula on the way back, this December last, but it makes sense to combine Karikari with Doubtless Bay when describing an itinerary.

The Karikari Peninsula is famous for its dazzling white-sand beaches. I visited Rangiputa Beach on the western side. It was a pristine white sand beach, absolutely stunning, with sandbars

Rangiputa Beach is on the western side of the Karikari Peninsula


At Rangiputa Beach

Puwheke Beach, on the northern side of the Karikari Peninsula. Mount Carmel, at Houhora, can be seen in the distance. Public domain image by Gadfium, 23 March 2009, via Wikimedia Commons.

When I was there, I carried on to Matai Bay at the very tip of the Karikari Peninsula. I think there were olive trees at one stage, and road works everywhere.

I noticed a Rāhui, or ban, officially ended in 2020 but presumably still in force, to allow stocks of shellfish to build back up.

If you liked this post, check out my award-winning new book about the North Island, available from this website,

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