Essential Houhora: all about a classic Kiwi holiday spot.

What a spot! From places to eat, can’t miss spots, signature experiences, places to wander and have a drink with a view, Houhora is one of Northland’s musts.

Located in the Northland region of New Zealand, Houhora is set on the east side of the Aupouri Peninsula, about 70 kilometres south of Cape Reinga. It’s a small community, with a population of about 900.

Houhora is best known for its fishing, but it’s also a great place for paddling, walking, and enjoying a classic Kiwi camping holiday. There’s a sheltered harbour, open ocean nearby, big beaches and that laid back vibe that is just the thing for long summer days and lazy times.

Here are some of your most commonly asked questions about Houhora, and Houhora tourism, answered, as well as a look into what’s the most “more essential Houhora” experience on offer.


Where is Houhora located?

You’ll find Houhora in Northland, about 40 kilometres north of Kaitaia (FYI: Kaitaia has the closest supermarket to Houhora, and as for airports, Kaitaia has one of those too).

What are the best hotels in Houhora?

Erm, that’s kind of the wrong question. Houhora isn’t really a hotel kind of place. There are some nearby motels, but to really get the best of Houhora tourism, camping is the essential Houhora experience.

As the Houhora Heads (Wagener) Holiday Park puts it, “we don’t pretend to be a Northland holiday resort”, but heck, that’s not the idea.

Located at the entrance of Houhora Harbour, the park has a range of powered and non-powered campsites, as well as cabins. There’s a wee pool, and both the ocean and the Motutangi River, which flows into the harbor, are right there. Pack the barbecue, we’re in!

It’s one of the best camping sites in Northland, and it’s hard to think of a more essential Houhora experience – except for maybe fishing!

Can you fish in Houhora Harbour?

You sure can – actually, fishing is probably more essential Houhora than anything else. Houhora tourism is known for its fishing, both in the harbour and beyond it. There’s good fishing in the harbor right from the beach (kingfish about), or pop out and over to the eastern coastline to try your hand at surfcasting.

You can also head further afield from Houhora on a fishing charter and catch yourself some big snapper (this is one of the best places to catch a snapper), as well as other fish like john dory, trevalley and kahawai. All of these can be caught just a short distance offshore from Houhora. And a 40- to 60-minute boat ride puts you in gamefish territory.

The Houhora Big Game & Sports Fishing Club is New Zealand’s northernmost fishing club – do stop in for a feed and an inexpensive beer with a view.

What is Houhora named after?

The straight translation of Houhora means feathers (hou) spread out (hora).

Is Houhora on the North or South Island?

Houhora is in Northland, a region of the North Island of New Zealand. It’s pretty far north – speaking of northernmost, the word is the Houhora Tavern is the northernmost pub in New Zealand. Speaking of an essential Houhora tourism experience.

What is the significance of Mt Houhora?

More essential Houhora: the big hill.

This mount was the first part of Aotearoa New Zealand that the explorer Kupe saw, though he mistook it for a whale. James Cook called it Mt Camel, because he thought it looked like one.

Often called Houhora after the community of Houhora and Houhora Heads, it’s correct name is actually Mt Tohoraha (tohoraha translates to Southern Sight Whales).

Under the Treaty settlement with Ngāti Kurī and Te Aupōuri, the hill was officially given the bilingual name of Tohoraha / Mount Camel in 2015.