Stretching 350km north from Auckland, Northland is New Zealand’s only sub-tropical region and with its above average sunshine record and glorious beaches, it is popular with locals as well as visitors. Winters are mild and citrus fruits and even bananas grow among its gentle hills and valleys.
Popular Northland Holidays
Essential New Zealand
North Island Classic
New Zealand by Rail, Cruise and Coach
Whale and Dolphin Explorer
The Real New Zealand 4×4
Spectacular North and South
The Bay of Islands
To the east the renowned Bay of Islands is a must for anyone visiting Northland. The aptly named ‘Bay of Islands’ is a great place to combine adventure and relaxation. Offering some of the most scenic coastal scenery in New Zealand, 150 islands are nestled within the picturesque bay, providing the setting for activities including sailing, big game fishing and swimming with wild dolphins.
The Bay of Islands is also one of New Zealand’s most historically significant areas, most notably for the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 between the Maori chiefs and the British. The Treaty House at Waitangi National Reserve acts as a museum and visitor centre recording these important events in New Zealand history. The reserve also houses the Whare Runanga, a Maori meeting house and the 100ft long war canoe or waka.
Gorgeous white sand beaches dissolve into a turquoise sea studded with many islands that can be readily explored on a scenic cruise, dolphin swimming excursion or big game fishing trip. The small town of Paihia is a favourite place to stay, being centrally located and within a short distance of Waitangi Reserve and the base for many more excursions, including the popular Cape Brett ‘hole in the rock’ cruise.
The charming town of Russell is a short ferry ride from Paihia. It is smaller than its neighbour across the bay and as such more peaceful, with many historic buildings, good restaurants and interesting shops.
The West Coast
In contrast to the sheltered east coast, the windswept west coast is thrashed by the Tasman Sea. The oceans meet at New Zealand’s northernmost accessible point, Cape Reinga, a volcanic outcrop at the end of Ninety Mile Beach. Specially equipped coaches drive along this superb stretch of sand and surf, following the trail of the ‘spirits’. Legend has it that the departing spirits of the Maori head north along this route to leap off the headland into the sea.