Rawene, New Zealand’s third-oldest European settlement, is plonked right on the edge of Hokianga Harbour.

Rawene is doing a brilliant job at hanging on to its colonial charm without being over the top. When you stroll over the mangrove boardwalk, duck into the historic Clendon House, or go fishing from the jetty, you’ll be glad you made the detour to the tip of the peninsula. Before taking the car ferry to the remote northern shores of Hokianga Harbour, drop in at the town’s cute little cafés, craft shops and galleries jutting out over the water on stilts.