With the addition of four new parks to our group – Wanaka, Ashley Gorge, Dargaville and Twizel – we’re highlighting the best bits of each wonderful place in our coming blogs. We hope you enjoyed Twizel. Next up is Dargaville, a small town with a big business.
Early Maori tribes settled in the Northland and Kauri Coast area in the 14th century. Sitting on the banks of the Wairoa River, Dargaville got its modern name from Joseph McMullen Dargaville during the 19th century when the region had a booming and prosperous kauri-gum and timber trade. European settlers used the harbour to ship thousands of tonnes of the gum and timber, despite the harbour having a perilous bar at its entrance.
Nowadays Dargaville is notable for having a high population of Dalmatian people from when their ancestors arrived from Croatia in the early 20th century, plus the region produces 95% of New Zealand’s kumara (sweet potato).
Visit Dargaville Holiday Park
A central location, quality facilities, cosy accommodation and a tranquil atmosphere await you at Dargaville Holiday Park. Kids will enjoy the playground and trampoline, and everyone can have a relaxing soak in a private spa. Other great services include a car and boat wash area, internet access, outdoor fire and BBQ area and you can sleep well knowing the area has a nightly security patrol.
Things to do in Dargaville and the Kauri Coast
New Zealand’s Kumara Capital
Visit “Ernie the kumara king” at the Kumara Box, just 10 minutes’ drive from Dargaville. Watch a live show and have a tour through the memorabilia in the kumara shed, before being taken on a drive on the tractor-powered train to visit New Zealand’s smallest church and find out about the kumara growing process. After your exciting lessons, enjoy afternoon tea with Ernie and his wife and sample a range of home-baked kumara treats. Bookings are essential! Visit the Kumara Box website to find out more.
For those into fishing, boating and water sports, don’t miss the Kai Iwi Lakes. These stunning bodies of water are safe, clean areas to enjoy a swim, walk or picnic. If you prefer the beach, head 14km west and you’ll reach Baylys Beach, a segment of the longest driveable beach in New Zealand. Activities available here are walking, golfing, horse riding, fishing and surfing.
Since opening in 1985, the Dargaville Museum has continually grown to become the fascinating attraction it is today. See how the region has developed over the years, from a 16 metre Maori waka (canoe), a replica gum digger’s camp and shipwrecked relics including the masts of the famous Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.
Frolic in the forest
The Kauri Forest is one of Northland’s best attractions. Explore pristine walking tracks, the Matakohe Kauri Museum and visit New Zealand’s largest kauri tree – Tane Mahuta, Maori for “god of the forest”.
Don’t go past Dargaville on your Northland holiday – stop in and experience this beautiful town and region for yourself!