Must Do's: Bay of Islands & Northland

If you are looking for reasons to visit the Bay of Islands & Northland, here are the regions top attractions not to be missed!

Start with the Twin Coast Discovery Highway

The Twin Coast Discovery Highway provides the structure to experience the mystery & history of Northland. No matter where you go in Northland, you’re never more than 40 kilometres from the coast. You’ll see the most sublime variety of gorgeous beaches, coves and harbours that can be found on the planet. But remember Northland is big. When planning a holiday make sure that you have an itinerary that provides enough time to make it a memorable experience.

The Poor Knights Islands – largest sea cave in the world

Tutukaka is the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve. The Islands, 25km off shore, have been rated by the famous Jacques Cousteau as one of the top-ten dive sites in the world  Experience the amazing acoustics of the world’s largest sea cave, Riko Riko, a mammoth watery cavern flamboyantly painted from top to toe with lichen and moss. A record claim lodged with the Guinness Book of Records. It is an amazing 7,900,000 cubic feet with over a hectare of sea surface area inside the cave itself.
A dive at the world-class Poor Knights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, If you like to stay above the water, there are a myriad of activities like kayaking, fishing or surf lessons.

It all began at 'Waitangi treaty Grounds'

Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the scene of the 1840 signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and is a must-do for any visitor to Northland, being NZ's most important historic site. Also onsite is the carved Meeting House and world’s largest ceremonial war canoe. Guided Tours and Cultural performances are available daily and are highly recommended, as Te Pito Whenua (cultural performers) have had rave reviews on Tripadvisor.

Bay of Islands ‘An Aquatic Playground’

Take a dive and meet some of the ocean’s friendliest inhabitants the dolphin, or cruise through the ‘hole in the rock’ at the tip of Cape Brett which is one of the most popular maritime excursions. Learn to sail or charter a yacht and find a sheltered anchorage for safe swimming, choose a guided kayak adventure where you can even kayak under a waterfall. There are many other day trip and overnight cruise options, including relaxing dinner cruises. Paddle a waka up the tidal estuary of the Waitangi river, a powerful and magical journey of discovery and truth aboard a 50ft Maori Canoe (Waka). An encounter found nowhere else in the world.

A Fisherman’s Paradise

Game fishing legend Zane Grey described the Bay of Islands as the “Angler’s Eldorado” and for the thousands of kiwis who rank fishing top of their favourite leisure activities it’s one of the best places in Northland to cast a line. (Whangaroa Harbour is also a mecca for Big Game Fishing enthusiasts).

See two oceans collide at 'Cape Reinga'

At the Cape the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, in a spectacular swirl of currents. At the northernmost tip of the cape is a gnarled pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old, and according to Maori oral history, the spirits of Maori deceased leap from this tree into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki. Guided tours depart from Paihia (Bay of Islands) & Kaitaia in the Far North daily and travel the popular 90 Mile Beach.

While it’s not quite the most northern point of New Zealand (North Cape is further north, but it’s not open to the public), Cape Reinga is definitely the end of the road.

Visit Northland and 'experience luxury'

Unwind with exclusive luxury lodges, sophisticated spas, wineries and experiences offering unmatched sensual and visual experiences. The taste sensations of the North can be enjoyed in an endless array of exotic locations – at a winery set high on a hilltop, on a remote island paradise, an exclusive seaside lodge or local restaurant. New Zealand’s most northern vineyards welcome visitors for tasting and cellar door sales.
Some of New Zealand’s best golf courses are gathered together along the Twin Coast Discovery Highway. Challenging country courses, highly rated links courses and top internationally acclaimed tournament golf courses (such as Kauri Cliffs) are dotted round the region.

Walk among giants on the 'Kauri Coast'

The Kauri Coast is named after the huge kauri trees which thrive here, and no trip to the west coast is complete without venturing into these majestic ancient forests.
The Waipoua Forest is the best preserved and largest of the remaining Kauri Forests in New Zealand. This is the domain of Tane Mahuta, the “Lord of the Forest” who at 51.5 metres is the largest of these ancient trees. 'The Kauri Walk' is a track from which you can access the 'Yakas’, the ‘Four Sisters’, ‘Te Matua Ngahere’ & Cathedral Grove. Nearby Trounson Kauri Park,  is a mainland ‘island’ of kauri forest and native wildlife. Guided night-time walks are a fantastic way to see these forests in a different light.

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