The subtropical Northland region of New Zealand stretches upwards from Auckland to the very top of New Zealand. Northland is a story of two coastlines – the west coast is rugged and soulful while the east coast is relatively more sophisticated and urbane. In the beautiful Bay of Islands you can take a boat cruise, swim with dolphins, dive, fish or just relax in the sun.
Be sure to visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds, one of New Zealand’s most significant historic sites. On the west coast you’ll encounter magnificent Tane Mahuta, the biggest kauri tree in existence. Then venture north to Hokianga Harbour and Ninety-Mile Beach, areas with huge white sand dunes and laid back beach communities. At the northernmost tip of the country, Cape Reinga, you can watch the seas of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide.
Northland’s only city, Whangarei, has plenty of accommodation and is an excellent place to enjoy the Northland lifestyle. Sit at a quayside café and watch the yachts or visit the farmers’ market on a Saturday morning and stock up on the freshest local food. The full beauty and diversity of Northland is yours to experience when you drive the Twin Coast Discovery Highway. This comprehensive touring route along the Tasman and Pacific coasts mingles stretches of coast, vistas of rolling farming country and lush mystical Kauri rainforest.
The ‘Winterless North’ is home to a subtropical climate year-round, making it easy to enjoy the many unique coastal attractions on offer. Don’t miss the Bay of Islands, where you’ll find beautiful Urupukapuka Island and the maritime adventure playground of Russell’s Tapeka Point. An hour from here lies the sheltered harbour of Tutukaka, gateway to the Poor Knights Marine Reserve which is famous worldwide for its colourful diving opportunities.
If you’re interested in visiting ancient Kauri Forests, head to Trounson Kauri Forest or Waipoua Forest. The latter is home to the mighty Tane Mahuta, or Lord of the Forest – this majestic Kauri tree is over two thousand years old; with a girth of 13.8m and height of 51m.