When the Lonely Planet says that Dargaville is a town that boasts it is most famous for its Kumara (sweet potatoes) and goes onto say that there is not much else worth visiting you are not left with high hopes. However, for those looking to explore a region that was in its prime during the Kauri logging peak decades ago there is something in Dargaville for you. In fact, at it’s peak Dargaville, briefly, had the highest population of all towns & cities in New Zealand. The town takes its name from the timber merchant & politician Joseph Dargaville, the town founder.
Head just past Warkworth and turn off the highway following signs to the Kauri Coast. You will wind through small towns, along the way is the Kauri Museum which is also definitely worth a visit. Dargaville is situated on the Wairoa river, which you will drive along for much of the way to the town.
Near Dargaville is also my favorite of the west coast beaches, Baylys beach. Wild and weather beaten, it is a wonderful place to grab a bach for a weekend – summer or winter. In town you will find the cafe Blah Blah Blah which offers good food and coffee, and seems to be the only cafe in town that we could find.
From Dargaville you can head north to the Kauri forest to explore these ancient trees. I have not done this – but intend to later this year!!!