The Kaipara Harbour

Apart from the stunning body of water, the Kaipara offers some great experiences. It is however largely undocumented and you would have to dig deep in Google to reveal anything. Here’s our list of activities, with no claim of completeness or guarantee or warranty of any kind. 🙂

By area, the Kaipara Harbour is one of the largest harbours in the world. It covers 947 square kilometres (366 sq mi) at high tide, with 409 square kilometres (158 sq mi) exposed as mudflats and sandflats at low tide.

According to Māori tradition, the name Kaipara had its origins back in the 15th century when the Arawa chief, Kahumatamomoe, travelled to the Kaipara to visit his nephew at Pouto. At a feast, he was so impressed with the cooked root of the para fern, that he gave the name Kai-para to the district. “Kai” means food in the Māori language.


Gibbs Sculpture Farm

Open monthly by prior appointment only. Apply at (admission only by written confirmation)

A stunning collection of site-specific sculptures installed by the Gibbs family over 20 years. Really worthwhile to see if it works out for your schedule.


Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Gardens

1481 Kaipara Coast Highway (SH16) (4km north of Kaukapakapa) Ph: 09 420 5655

A kilometre of art and garden trail set in a rural oasis at the award winning Kaipara Coast Plant Centre, Listen to the birds as you enjoy the gardens and more than 60 selected sculptures by leading New Zealand artists, which change out each October.


Shelly Beach is off south head road and sign posted. There’s plenty of parking for car and boat trailer and a boat ramp. The cafe at the waterfront is lovely and has good food offerings.

The beach is nice and sandy with little shells in them, nice and easy to walk on. At low tide you can make your way around the cliffs.