From ancient forests to a coastline etched with quiet coves and white-sand beaches, Northland is a place of contrasts. It’s tranquil and unhurried – a place where you can spend days sailing amidst unpopulated islands and then dine at a marina restaurant. In a region dense with history, the line between past and present thins in forests that have stood for millennia and on harbours where New Zealand’s settlers first dipped oars many centuries ago.

Highlights

Poor Knights Islands This extraordinary marine reserve features the largest underwater cave in the world and spectacular reefs. Explorer Jacques Cousteau regarded it as one of the world’s top dive locations. Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach The northernmost point of mainland New Zealand is a place of deep spiritual significance to Māori. Hokianga Harbour Surrounded by historic villages, this is believed to be the place where Māori voyagers made landfall 1,000 years ago. Waitangi Treaty Grounds The historic Treaty House nestles in beautiful gardens, along with a huge waka (canoe) and carved Māori Meeting House, in this sacred place. Kauri forests The largest remaining forests of New Zealand’s giant ancient Kauri trees exist on Northland’s west coast. Tane Mahuta in Waipoua Forest is thought to be at least 1,500 years old. Subtropical beaches An abundance of golden beaches: bathe in subtropical warmth – Bream Bay, the Tutukaka Coast, Whangaroa Harbour and Doubtless Bay offer some of the best.

Destinations

Mangawhai White-sand beaches. Waipu Village with a Scottish flavour. Whangarei NZ’s northernmost city. Tutukaka Gateway to the Poor Knights Islands. Kawakawa Famous for its Hundertwasser toilets. Paihia Base for exploring the Bay of Islands. Opua Bay of Islands marina. Waitangi Home to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Kerikeri History and craft galleries. Whangaroa Tranquil harbour and spectacular beaches. Kaitaia Last town before Cape Reinga. Ahipara Southern end of 90 Mile Beach. Rawene Craft galleries and heritage. Omapere & Opononi Popular for beach holidays. Dargaville Main west coast town. Matakohe Visit the famous Kauri Museum.

Getting There and Around

Air Whangarei, Kerikeri and Kaitaia airports all offer domestic flights to New Zealand destinations only. Road Access from Auckland is via State Highway 1 on the east coast and State Highway 12 on the west – together they form the Twin Coast Discovery Highway. The Northern Gateway Toll Road costs NZ$2.30 for cars, but shortens the journey to Northland by about 15 minutes. Coaches operate between the main centres in the region. Whangarei to Dargaville [71 km; 1 hr] Whangarei to Kaitaia [155 km; 2 hr, 15 min] Whangarei to Paihia [165 km; 2 hr, 20 min] Auckland to Whangarei [165 km; 2 hr, 20 min] Auckland to Dargaville [180 km; 2 hr, 35 min] Auckland to Cape Reinga [436 km; 6 hr, 15 min]. Ferry Vehicle ferries operate regularly across the Hokianga Harbour between Rawene and Kohukohu, and across the Bay of Islands between Opua (near Paihia) and Okiato (near Russell). Passenger-only services operate between Paihia and Russell.

Directory

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

New Zealand’s most historic site where, in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori chiefs and the British Crown. Join a guided tour. Experience a cultural performance and…

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The Kauri Museum

Visit this award-winning and internationally acclaimed attraction. Learn about pioneering settlers through the mighty Kauri tree. Over 4,500 square metres of under-cover displays, including antique Kauri furniture, restored machinery and…

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Skydive Ballistic Blondes

Imagine your scenic flight up over the Bay of Islands and then exiting the aircraft over the top of Paihia Beach, reaching speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour! Your…

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Paihia Dive

Discover the wonders of the Bay of Islands with Paihia Dive. Daily dives to the wrecks of The Rainbow Warrior and HMNZS Canterbury, explore the caves, arches and reefs of…

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Makana Confections Kerikeri

Makana Confections manufactures and retails gift-quality chocolates at its boutique chocolate factories in Kerikeri and Blenheim. A visit to the Makana boutique chocolate factory is an experience not to be…

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Dune Rider - Cape Reinga

Make your way up to Cape Reinga while travelling to Gumdigger’s Park, and drive along the famous Ninety Mile Beach. Climb the giant sand dunes and toboggan back down. Enjoy…

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Dolphin Discoveries

Discover the Bay ‘Hole in the Rock’ Cruise Experience the world-renowned ‘Hole in the Rock’. While cruising the famous Bay of Islands you’ll see dolphins, whales, birds and other wildlife.…

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Dive! Tutukaka

The only multi-boat, full-service dive operator at the Poor Knights Islands with OSH-certified crew, PADI 5* IDC training, air fills, retail sales and gear hire. Passionate and committed to our…

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Russell Cottages

Luxurious accommodation in a tranquil setting. 15 stand-alone self-contained, five-star-standard cottages, offering private balconies, separate lounge and dining areas, serviced daily. Guest rooms feature 32” LCD TVs, DVD players, music…

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