The Hoteo River site is located on a high order stream in a low gradient valley approximately 22 km from the coast. The catchment is 26,730 hectares in size, with predominantly rural land use.
The Hoteo River drains nearly 8% of the Auckland Region. It is the biggest river in the Auckland Region, by both flow and catchment area. It's headwaters are around Wellsford and it drains into the Kaipara Harbour. The catchment is predominantly rural and the water of the Hoteo River is often turbid and can have high levels of bacteria, making in unsuitable for contact recreation. There is limited public access, except for near the river mouth where the Hoteo River enters the Kaipara Harbour. Whitebaiting is possible.