Here are a few tips to make your travels more enjoyable
- The Hokianga is a very friendly rural area, but things are different from the “big smoke”
- Most businesses close at 5pm (17:00), some cafes at 4pm (16:00)
- General Stores sell all sorts of goods besides groceries – like meat, beer, wine, stationary, postal services, some hardware, fishing tackle.
- There is only one cash dispensing ATM in the Hokianga so far, in the Service Station at Omapere, and accessible only when the Service Station is open. Besides that the nearest ones are at Kaikohe, Dargaville and Kaitaia. You can usually get some cash with purchases at stores, but we advise you to bring some cash with you. Check with your accommodation provider what form of payment they can accept.
There is an ATM on the Ferry for the payment of fares – it works on EFTPOS, Visa and MASTERCARD cards only. It does not dispense any cash
- Businesses generally accept Eftpos, Bankcard and Visa, but Diners Card and American Express are not as widely accepted.
- Cell phone coverage can be unreliable.
- There are big gaps between petrol stations, so keep an eye on your fuel gauge. On the South side you can buy fuel at Waimamaku, Omapere and Rawene. On the North side there is only Broadwood.
- Remember to drive on the left. Give way to traffic coming from your right hand side.
- Be ready to give way at one-way bridges
- Don’t leave your valuables in your vehicle at scenic car parks – it is better to take them with you e.g. passport, cameras, expensive clothing.
- Treat all Marae as Private Property. Never enter a Marae unless you are invited.
- Do take your shoes off before you enter private homes.
Tips for driving on unsealed roads
- If you are not used to driving on unsealed roads, remember they can be very narrow.
- Reduce your speed to below 40-50 km/h to help you to maintain control of your vehicle and slow down even further when approaching oncoming traffic as the dust will obscure your vision.
- Vehicles ahead or oncoming traffic can throw gravel out into the air, which frequently damages windscreens and paint works.
- Another danger is that you can’t stop the vehicle in time because the gravel acts as rollers between your wheel and the road surface. Take special care when driving downhill on metal roads, slow down and don’t brake suddenly.
- If you are driving a rental vehicle, remember to check whether you are insured when driving on unsealed roads.