6-7 Days


  • Bay of Islands beaches
  • Giant kauri trees
  • Dolphin spotting


  • by car:

    3 hrs 30 mins from Auckland

  • by car:

Tour both coastlines of New Zealand’s warmest region and discover picturesque beaches and marine adventures of every description. Explore some of the many cycle trails and walking tracks and visit locations of local and cultural significance including Tane Mahuta - the famous Kauri Tree, 90 Mile Beach and Waitangi - the ‘Birthplace of our Nation’.

Day 1: Auckland - Opononi

Northland & Bay of Islands
Waipoua Forest, Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Find out more about Hokianga and Tane Mahuta


  • Rich Maori history
  • See the world's largest kauri tree
  • Sandboarding

Depart Auckland and start your adventure north towards Opononi. On the way explore antique and craft stores in Maungaturoto and Paparoa, or visit the Matakohe Kauri Museum.   

Discover Waipoua Forest - home to the majestic Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest and largest Kauri tree in the world. 

Continue on to the Hokianga Harbour, where Maori first arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Look out to the stunning sand dunes which after a short ferry ride you could be sandboarding down.

Ancient Kauri Trail Map(opens in new window) available here.

Day 2: Opononi - Ahipara

Bay of Islands
Northland's top surfing location, Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Find out more about Ahipara


  • Incredible sunsets
  • Shipwreck Bay

Make your way north through the fishing village of Rawene. Visit the local art galleries and enjoy a coffee at the Boatshed Café.

Take the car ferry to Kohukohu and journey through yester-year taking in rural New Zealand country-side on your way north to Ahipara, a popular camping spot.

Nearby Shipwreck Bay is aptly named as it was the site of the sinking of many ships, the wrecks of which are still visible at low tide. It's a famous surfing destination with left-hand breaks and long rides.

Close by is the Ahipara Gumfields Historic reserve and the remnants of ancient kauri forests. 

Day 3: Kaitaia - Cape Reinga - Doubtless Bay

Northland & Bay of Islands
Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Find out more about Kaitaia and Cape Reinga


  • Ninety Mile Beach
  • Mangonui Fish Shop
  • Doubtless Bay

Kaitaia is the main centre for the 'subtropical' north. From here you can arrange a coach tour to Cape Reinga or catch a bus trip along Ninety Mile Beach. Make the trip to the Cape Reinga lighthouse at the very top of the North Island.

The Cape is of great spiritual importance to Maori, who believe it is the jumping off point for the souls of their departed loved ones making their way back to their mythical homeland of Hawaiki. Head to the stunning Doubtless Bay and enjoy dinner at the Mangonui Fish Shop.

Day 4: Doubtless Bay - Kerikeri

Northland & Bay of Islands
Kauri Cliffs, Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Find out more about Kerikeri and Kauri Cliffs


  • Golf courses
  • Historic sites

The road leading into Kerikeri is bordered by orchards, with roadside stalls offering the chance to buy seasonal fruit. Look out for signs showing the way to artists’ studios – resident potters and painters have given this district a creative personality.

In Kerikeri you’ll find galleries, cafes and vineyards, gourmet food shops, several golf courses and historic sites such as the Stone Store and the Mission House. There are superb bush walks in the area – Rainbow Falls is a perfect picnic spot.

Check out the Te Ara Coast to Coast Map(opens in new window) for hidden gems between the Bay of Islands and Hokianga.

Day 5: Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands
Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Find out more about the Region


  • Dolphin swimming
  • Treaty House at Waitangi

The resort town of Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands. Take a cruise to the outer islands, go on a dolphin swimming safari, or catch a ferry to the charming township of Russell.

Maori language, culture, stories and traditions are strong in Northland and you will see evidence of this throughout the region. Whether in an intricate bone or pounamu (greenstone) carving, Maori pou (carved wooden posts), visual shows, museums, historic sites or waka journeys, Maori culture encapsulate a lot of the day-to-day interactions. Northland is also home to the historic Treaty House at Waitangi, where New Zealand's founding document was signed. 

Day 6: Bay of Islands - Whangarei

Northland & Bay of Islands
Poor Knights Island, Northland & Bay of Islands

Find out more about The Tutukaka Coast and Whangarei


  • Mermaid Pools near Matapouri Beach
  • Poor Knights Islands
  • Top surf breaks

The Tutukaka Coast has been rated by National Geographic Traveller as one of the top coastal destinations in the world.

Check out the Mermaid Pools near Matapouri Beach or enjoy a walk to picturesque Whale Bay.

Tutukaka townshipis also the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands, rated as one of the top ten dive sites in the world by Jacque Cousteau. The water is known for its clarity and an abundance of sea life, protected by the surrounding marine reserve. Click here for a journey map(opens in new window) for this area.

The Whangarei Heads scenic drive winds through pohutakawa fringed bays with stunning views of the areas distinctive volcanic outcrops; the road ends at the wild and beautiful Ocean Beach. View recommended journey map(opens in new window) for this region.

Day 7: Whangarei - Auckland

Mahurangi Oysters, Auckland


  • Matakana markets
  • West Coast Beaches
  • Sunset kayak to Rangitoto

Slowly make your way back to Auckland via the coastal road. You will come across beach after beach along the Ruakaka, Waipu, Bream Bay and Mangawhai coastal environment. At Matakana take a detour to check out the Saturday markets or stop for lunch at a local winery.

Back in Auckland, finish your journey with a sunset kayak to Rangitoto or watch the city's glittering lights from the summit of Mount Eden.