South Head, Waiotemarama Waterfall, Labyrinth Woodworks and Maze
This trip starts at Opononi or Omapere.
Travel West on SH12, through Omapere and on the second left hand bend going up the hill, look for Signal Station Road on the right. Turn here. This is a nasty turn across the down-hill traffic, so be extra careful.
Follow Signal Station Road to the end to a parking area. From here walk a few minutes along the metal track and then on a smaller track to the site of the old Signal Masts.
If you time your visit when the tide is half in or half out you will see the raging waters of the Hokianga fighting their way out into the Tasman Sea.
About a kilometre out to sea you will see the waves breaking on the outer bar. In the middle of the Harbour entrance is another sand bar, which forces the skippers of boats to choose either the North or South passage to leave or enter the Harbour.
Looking across the entrance you can appreciate the size of the North Head sand dunes. If you are really lucky you may spot a pod of Dolphins or Orca Whales entering or leaving the Harbour.
There is also a track down to the coastal beach and on the other side is a track down to the harbour beach.
Return to SH 12 and continue up Pakia hill. At the top, pause for a moment to get a view up the Harbour. Looking over Omapere and Opononi up to Koutu and across the Harbour to the sentinel mountains of the Panguru range.
Continue over the hill and look for signs to Waiotemarama Gorge. The road leads off to your left. Turn and follow the road about 3 km to the Labyrinth Woodworks. Just beyond that is a small parking space with signs indicating the walkway to the waterfall.
This is an easy walk through native bush to a delightful waterfall. In summer you can cool off in the pool below the waterfall.
For the more adventurous there is a longer walk to the summit of the hill above, Hauturu Highpont. For details see Itinerary S12.
On your return, call in at the Labyrinth Woodworks craft shop, where you will find the most amazing collection of brain teasing puzzles, many of them originals designed by Louis on the site. Try not getting lost in the Maze!
You can return the way you came, or you can continue up Waiotemarama Gorge road and then to Pakanae and return to Opononi via SH12.
At the start of the twentieth century the present road over Pakia Hill did not exist and Waiotemarama Gorge Road was the main road between Waimamaku and the Hokianga.
You can also continue with Itinerary S2 to make it a full day out.