Located on New Zealand’s North Island, as its name may suggest, Northland is actually the country’s northernmost region and is famous for the beautiful regions of Whangarei, Paihia, Matauri Bay and the Bay of Islands. Enjoying a prime coastal position, things to do in Northland incorporate the water in many ways including cruising the islands on an old dairy run known as the Cream Trip, deep-sea game fishing, visiting the Hole In The Rock on a leisurely cruise or high-speed vessel and the unique thermal waters of Waiwera.
There’s more to Northland than just the water though. In Whangarei, the city’s Clapham Clock Museum is a popular attraction to do. Tane Mahuta, meaning Lord of the Forest, is a 50m tall and 14m wide Kauri tree which dates back 1200 years and is located in the Waipoua Forest which covers 9,000 hectares. Enjoy the charm of 18th Century Russell’s Duke of Marlborough Hotel and dine on fresh or have a drink.
Of course it’s no surprise that things turn back to the water and beaches. You can boogie board Hokianga’s incredible sand dunes and even swim with the dolphins. The beaches on the East Coast are the nicest, with gentle surf and pristine sand. However the West Coast beaches are also an attraction with their black sand, wild surf and rainforest backdrops. Ninety Mile Beach, which actually only stretches for 56 miles, is New Zealand’s northernmost point and is home to the Cape Reinga lighthouse where you can watch the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide.
Don't miss the Ninety Mile Beach Tour
3km from Paihia you’ll find the unique horseshoe shaped Haruru Falls, a rare and very spectacular waterfall. Matauri Bay is a stunning beach settlement popular for its surfing thanks to golden sands, crystal water and an easterly swell. Located north of the Bay of Islands, it’s a peaceful spot for a bit of swimming or snorkelling, however is also a haven for divers. Ranked in the world’s top 5 dive sites by Jacques Cousteau, visitors can dive The Poor Knights or Rainbow Warrior, the remains of a Greenpeace ship sunk by the French intelligence service in 1985 in the wake of anti-nuclear protests.
Check out the sightseeing cruise to the Hole in The Rock.