Top 5 Things to do in Northland

Shauna and Gareth Roughley are Canadian-based professional photographers travelling New Zealand
for one year.

In the far north of New Zealand they discovered tropical blue water, beautiful beaches,
and the warmest weather New Zealand has to offer. Here are their top five sights and activities in Northland.

Visit the islands

Being in the Bay of Islands and not visiting the islands would be an absolute shame. If you are able, rent a boat for the day and go island hopping to the many gorgeous beaches. Many of the islands have different walks you can do, so load your boat up with your trainers, pack a lunch and don’t forget your togs. Go for a hike, then cool off in the water.

A day on the R. Tucker Thompson

If you’re looking to pull the sails up, climb the rigging, act like a pirate, or just chill out, this is the tour for you. The friendly crew on the R. Tucker Thompson serves you coffee, tea and scones when you first board the ship. Then you’re off for a beautiful day. You will stop for lunch at one of the islands where a trip ashore gives opportunities to explore, go for a swim, or sunbathe on the beach before heading back to port in the afternoon. An added bonus: the chances of spotting dolphins are pretty high.

To the top of the island

Take the time to head to the far north. Great Sights offers a one day bus tour from Paihia in the Bay of Islands, taking you up 90 Mile Beach (which isn’t actually 90 miles, but hey, it’s pretty long), and to the massive Te Paki sand dunes where sand boarding down them is a must. A visit to the impressive Cape Reinga is next. Cape Reinga holds spiritual significance to the Maori; it is said that when someone dies their soul travels north along 90 Mile Beach, to the Cape. Here, their soul is released.

Oke Bay

Oke Bay is a local’s hang out. Head out to Rafati, climb the steep steps, and be rewarded with a stunning view: pure blue water, white sandy beaches, and agapanthus lining the steps back down. Not sure how to get there? It’s the same spot you start the hike to Cape Brett. Speaking of…

Hike to Cape Brett Lighthouse

This 32 km round-trip hike is so hilly it’s said that only 500 metres of it is flat. DOC (The Department of Conservation) has converted the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage into a hut for hikers to recharge their batteries before making the hike back the following day. Make sure you nip outside once the sun goes down.

Visit these great spots in New Zealand's Northland and stay at YHAs:

Stay at YHA Ahipara
Stay at YHA Bay of Islands, The Rock
Stay at YHA Paihia

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