Discover - Northland
The Northland region of New Zealand stretches upwards from Auckland to the very top of New Zealand. Take a journey along the Twin Coast Discovery Highway to the iconic Bay of Islands, as well as the Kauri Coast, the Far North, and Whangarei.
The fantastic coastal scenery, which bathes in subtropical warmth has many activities available, including sailing, diving, swimming with dolphins, hiking and sand tobogganing to mention a few, as well as sight-seeing.
Ancient forests, beautiful coastlines with quiet coves and white-sand beaches. Truly laid back in a region laced with history.
Northland is home to four unique sub regions - the aquatic playground of the Bay of Islands, the thriving city of Whangārei and iconic Tutukaka Coast, the breathtaking and otherworldly Top of the North, and the hauntingly wild Kauri Coast and Hokianga.
BAY OF ISLANDS
As one of New Zealand’s most popular summer destinations, the breathtaking natural beauty and 144 islands makes for an idyllic aquatic playground.
From the picturesque towns of Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri, you can access almost all the Bay has to offer. Whilst boating, fishing and swimming with dolphins are some of the favourite maritime activities, the Bay is also rich with history and stories to discover.
Many boat cruises are available taking you through a sea teeming with Islands to the Hole in the Rock. For the daring, Skydiving is available which really accentuates the blue water studded with green islands.
Walk through the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds where you can be challenged by Maori warriors, admire the giant waka (Maori war canoe) and expansive views over the Pacific Ocean before enjoying a hearty meal cooked in a hangi (earth oven). Discover fascinating exhibitions and state-of-the-art learning spaces at Te Kōngahu - Museum of Waitangi.
WHANGAREI AND TUTUKAKA COAST
A place of adventure, culture and natural beauty, Whangārei is known for its passionate people, stunning scenery and opportunities to connect with the land, sea and forest. Whangārei is a thriving city with a vibrant arts community; quayside in the heart of the city is a popular haven for cruising yachts. Not to be missed, Whangarei Heads is a natural playground with beautiful coastal and harbour beaches, volcanic peaks and forests. From walking and hiking, to snorkelling and kayaking, Whangarei Heads is the definition of a natural playground.
Only 30 minutes’ drive north east of Whangārei is the Tutukaka Coast, the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve with a mecca of diverse fish life, colourful underwater plants and rocky volcanic outcrops. Go snorkeling or diving with Dive! Tutukaka, or explore via stand up paddle-board. Bream Bay offers estuaries, rare wild life refuges, native bush tracks, fishing, offshore islands, safe swimming and surf breaks.
*Photo credits: Northland Inc & David Kirkland
TOP OF THE NORTH
With icons like Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga, the very top of New Zealand offers breath-taking scenery and memorable experiences.
The sheer beauty of the top of New Zealand will astound you. Rangiputa is a tropical paradise with white sands and palm trees. Discover the pure quartz sand at Parengarenga Harbour, and sand board down the huge Te Paki Sand Dunes near the tip of Northland’s Cape Reinga. The dunes are the largest of their kind in the Southern Hemisphere. While the climb to the top is a challenge, it’s made all worth it with the adrenaline rush of surfing down them via boogie board.
Reaching the iconic lighthouse at Cape Reinga is a must-do, but what takes most by surprise is the journey itself - is as exciting as the destination; some arrive early to sit and watch the sun come up. The Tasman Sea meets the mighty Pacific Ocean at Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand. Steeped in Maori legend with mighty views.
Ninety Mile Beach is a seemingly never-ending stretch of sand stretching along the western tip of the North Island. The best way to explore the beach is by guided coach or 4WD tour.
KAURI COAST AND HOKIANGA
The west coast of Northland is home to ancient kauri forests, wild windswept harbours, giant sand dunes, historic country towns and an impressive 153 shipwreck sites.
This is a hauntingly beautiful area that stretches from Brynderwyn in the south to Hokianga in the north. It is home to the world’s oldest and largest ancient kauri trees, the first land Māori set foot on in New Zealand, our nation’s largest harbour, pre-historic rock formations and crystal clear freshwater lakes.
A guided walk in the kauri forests is a must. Step into the domain of kauri giants and stroll through the lush Waipoua Forest to stand face to face with Tane Mahuta – the ‘Lord of the Forest’ and the world’s largest Kauri tree. The forest is dotted with these ancient trees; embark on a tour with Footprints Waipoua and hear fascinating stories and chants handed down through generations.