Mokau is a riverside village and is part of the northern Taranaki coastal playground. In pioneer days, Mokau was a coal and lumber shipping port servicing the settlements along the Mokau River – a time which is captured in the Tainui Museum in the village.

For those who like to explore on foot there are several walkways through coastal and inland areas, with some leading to scenic waterfalls. Horse trekking is another way to see the Mokau area's bush, hills and valleys, some of which featured in Jane Campion's film The Piano. A variety of country gardens can be visited by appointment, and there are also river cruises in summer.