Driiving north from the Kauri forests you reach the Hokianga harbour, which is quite picturesque, then follow the road along its south shore to Rawene where the ferry takes you across to the northern shore. Just along the road from the ferry is Clendon House - run by the NZ equivalent of the National Trust, so if you have your card you get in for free. The house is only open weekends as there is but one curator, but he is a real enthusiast and you will learn so much about the house and its family, who played a key role in the early settlement, and then were hung out to dry by the bureaucrats of the day.
As you go upstairs watch out for the low beam - it certainly dented my head which was sore for several days after! It will only take 1/2 and hour or so to take it all in, and is a good way of passing time whilst waiting for the ferry. If your in Rawene on a Saturday morning the weekly market is worth a visit...proper home made bread and marmalade were our prize for the next few days of travel.
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