This little ferry not only saves you a lot of time on your trip to or from 90 Mile Beach but also leads you through a rough and very remote area of an already remote region.
The ferry crosses the Hokianga Harbour from Rawene in the south to Kohukohu on the northern side. It operates every 30 to 60 mins. Timetable on the below listed website - but you just arrive and wait for your turn. In Rawene you can do this in the very nice Boatshed Café, built on stilts above the water, with sun terrace. The only significant building in Rawene is historic Clendon House.
Kohukohu is even more away from it all. Many of the (wooden) houses are nearly 200 years old. It is a perfect place to relax. You can hire a kayak or - the best thing to do - drive 40km to the even more remote tiny coastal town Mitimiti. It consists of just some houses, a marae and a hostel (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Ph. 09 405 5855). It is a place for walks on the dunes which are exceptionally huge on the northern side of the harbour.
Nice places on the southern side of the harbour are Omapere and Opononi (20 km west of Rawene). You should absolutely take a right turn to the lookout when leaving Omapere uphill on the way south to Waipoua Forest (SH12). The carpark is the start for several walks from where you have spectacular views of those huge sand dunes north of the harbour.
Opononi was once world-famous because long before dolphin watch tours, in 1955/56, a dolphin came to the shore and played with children, and performed tricks with balls. At this time they had to put up signs asking people not to shoot the dolphin!
The dolphin was named Opo, and everybody headed to Opononi to see him. Even a song was composed - but when it was released Opo suddenly died. A sculpture at the carpoark of the Opononi Resort Hotel reminds of the dolphin, his grave is in front of the War Memorial Hall next door. In a video film, shown at the local museum at the Visitor Centre in Omapere, you get a much better impression of how the whole of NZ went crazy about Opo.
Opononi and Omapere:
Just two little towns at the beautiful Hokianga Harbour. Opononi is famous for 'Opo', a dolphin who lived in the harbour in 1955. It is also starting point for a visit to the huge sand dunes on the other side of the harbour.
Great views on these 'golden dunes' from a look-out called: Arai-Te-Uru. Accesible from a car park at the end of the Signal Station Road near Omapere.