The Karikari Peninsula is a right-angled land mass of two relatively distinct parts. The rocky northern part, which has an east-west orientation and is approximately 17 km long, was originally an island. It is connected to the rest of the Northland Region of New Zealand by a low sandy strip approximately 11 km long, which has a north-south orientation. Rangaunu Harbour is to the west and Doubtless Bay is to the southeast. The Moturoa Islands are to the north. The spiritually significant Puwheke sits high above the north-facing beaches.
The local iwi are Ngāti Kahu. In Māori mythology, the waka Waipapa, captained by Kaiwhetu and Wairere, made its first landing in New Zealand at Karikari.
Grapes are grown on the northern side of Karikari.
The two largest settlements are Whatuwhiwhi, which is situated the south side of the north-eastern part of the peninsula and nearby Tokerau Beach, which lies at the northern end of the eastern side of the sandy strip. Maitai Bay (also known as Matai Bay) on the northeast coast and Rangiputa on the west coast are popular tourist destinations.
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