Stretching from above Auckland to the top of New Zealand, Northland is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery and important historic sites.
Looking for things to do in Northland? Known for its sunny weather and beautiful twin coasts, the Far North is full of stunning scenery and places waiting to be explored. Check out our Northland travel guide and discover our picks for the region’s top sights.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are the site of the 1840 signing of New Zealand’s founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi. Tour the Treaty grounds and discover the Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) which features magnificent carvings by Māori tribes from across the country. Explore the Treaty House which was the residence of James Busby, the British government’s representative in New Zealand from 1833-1840. The grounds are also home to the 35-metre-long Waka Ngātokimatawhaorua which is the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are one of the most popular Northland attractions, and the site commands stunning panoramic views of The Bay of Islands.
Cape Reinga is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea in a breathtaking clash of currents. Home to the iconic Cape Reinga Lighthouse, the Cape is the most northern publicly accessible site in New Zealand and is one of the essential Northland attractions. Cape Reinga is sacred to Maori who named it Te Rerenga Wairua which means ‘leaping-place of the spirits’. Here spirits leave the mainland for their traditional homeland of Hawaiki by descending the Te Ara Wairua pathway before leaping from an 800-year-old pohutukawa tree. With spectacular views of swirling ocean currents, standing at the top of New Zealand at Cape Reinga is an unforgettable experience.
Ninety Mile Beach
At 55 miles long, the paradoxically named Ninety Mile Beach is one of New Zealand’s most famous beaches and is known for its stunning sunsets. The beach stretches northwards from Ahipara near Kaitaia, along the western coastline to just short of Cape Reinga. Ninety Mile Beach is suitable for swimming and a great spot surfcasting or digging for tuatua (a shellfish). For those who are feeling adventurous, why not try bodyboarding down some of the beach’s towering sand dune at Te Paki! Ninety Mile Beach is one of the must-see places to visit in Northland and makes for a great day in the sun.
Waipoua Forest is part of the largest remaining native forest in Northland and is famous for its spectacular Kauri trees. Known as ‘Lord of the Forest’, Tane Mahuta is the country’s largest Kauri at 51.2 metres high and 4.4 metres in diameter, and it thought to be around 2300 years old. Waipoua Forest is also home to ‘Father of the Forest’ Te Matua Ngahere, which is thought to be up to 3000 years old. Walking tracks with durations ranging from 5 minutes to 1 hour are some of the best free Northland holiday activities. These tracks will take you to all of the forests best sights including the four mighty kauri trees known as the Four Sisters.
Located on the Whangarei Heads peninsula, just 30km from southeast of Whangarei city, Mount Manaia is the area’s most impressive peak and dominant landmark. Along with Bream Head, Mt Lion and the Hen and Chicken Islands, Mt Manaia formed as the result of volcanic activity around 20 million years ago. If you’re feeling fit why not take the 1100 steps up to the 403 metre summit and enjoy sweeping 360 degree views of Bream Bay, the Hauraki, Whangarei Harbour and the Poor Knights Islands. The track is well maintained by the Department of Conservation and goes through stunning native bush, and is home to many species of birds including Wood Pidgeon (Kukupa), Bellbird, Kaka and Kakariki.
With so much on offer and containing some of New Zealand’s best scenic drives, Northland is a great region to explore by car. If you’re a visitor looking for transport you can hire a rental car from Auckland Airport. Quality rental cars are a safe and cost effective way to explore all of Northlands best sights and attractions at your own pace.
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