Ten minutes drive from Dargaville, Baylys Beach, is a small seaside community of colourful baches, seaside cottages and fresh sea breezes.
Baylys Beach is the gateway to Ripiro Beach, New Zealand’s longest driveable beach. This 100km long beach is backed by high, golden sand dunes and is the site of many shipwrecks, including a three-masted, 36 gun French man o’war. Many of the salvaged shipwreck relics are now on display in the Dargaville Museum and a commemoration plaque has been erected as a lookout on the road down to Baylys Beach.
Activities in the area include sand yachting, trail biking, quad biking, hang gliding, jet skis, surfing, with or without the expertise of a local guide. Encounter sea birds and the feeding holes of the endangered Toheroa shellfish, pick bi-valve Tuatua, wave at fishermen netting for mullet or flounder or long lining for kingfish, kahawai and snapper; at low tide pluck green lipped mussels from the rocks at Maunganui Bluff at the northern boundary of Ripiro Beach.
It is safest to drive down the beach two hours before and after low tide, when the sand is hard, and to avoid being stranded when the tide comes in. 4WD vehicles are recommended and standard rules of the road apply.