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As a commercial town central to Northland Kaitaia makes a good base for excursions and trips to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach. The town is also interesting for its multiculturalism. Here the Maori and the Croation Dalmatians live side by side. The Dalmations came to New Zealand in the 19th century enticed by underground mines at Lake Ohia.
A trip to the Far North Regional Museum will be worth your time. The collection has something for everyone and includes the massive anchor which once belonged to the Saint Jean Baptiste a ship which was led to New Zealand under the command of Jean de Surville, a famous French explorer. The museum also houses an interesting collection of early 20th century professional photos, impressive moa and kuri (the Polynesian dog brought to NZ by the Maori) skeletons, kiwi-feather cloaks as well as copies of the 13th century Ngau Kahu carvings which were discovered in Kaitaia.
The Te Wero Nui or the ultimate challenge also makes an interesting tour. This is a marae which is focused on enlightening and entrancing tourists about Maori culture. Not only can you actually stay on the Marae but you get the chance to take part in the goings on. You can try your hand at weaving, bone or woodcarving, herbal remedies and more.
There's plenty of good walking here for those who are up to it. The Kaitaia Walkway is an easy walk which comes with rewarding views. The track was originally intended to be a road and takes about 4 hours (9km). Take the SH1 and go south for 3km from Kaitaia, turn off at Larmer Road and you'll find the start of the track at its end. If you're up for a wee bit of bush-bashing the Mangamuka Walkway is what you want. Its a 6hr/9km walk through Raetea Forest and Maungataniwha Forest Check out DoC's Kaitaia Area Walks for more info.
If you enjoy a glass of wine or two Okahu Estate is a good winery to go to. They have made the most out of the weather and land and produced wines which have won awards such as the Shipwreck Bay Red and Ninety mile Red. They also offer free tastings between October and June. To get there head to Ahipara and you'll find the estate at the corner of Pukepoto and Okahiu. Drop into the Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui if you can. This is a carpenter's with a difference. The woodcraft here has been fashioned out of 30,000 to 50,000 year old kauri stumps which have been resurrected from swamps.
The Aupouri Peninsula literally translated from Maori is the tail of the fish. According to Maori belief the North Island came into being when Maui while fishing from his canoe? pulled in a great, big fish, the North Island.