Northland discovery

3 Nights


  • Waipoua Forest walks
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Poor Knights Islands


  • By car: 3 hours from Auckland

With coastal beaches, lush forests and historic landmarks, this three-night Northland itinerary gives you a taste of what the region has to offer.


Day 1: Auckland - Opononi

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

By David Kirkland

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Discover more about the Hokianga


  • Sandboarding in Hokianga
  • Kai iwi Lakes
  • See the world's largest Kauri tree

Depart Auckland and journey north towards Matakohe, here you will find the fascinating Kauri Museum. Continue on to Dargaville for a bite to eat and a short rail car journey before traveling up the Kauri Coast. Along the way you may choose to visit New Zealand's longest drivable beach, Ripiro Beach, or the stunning Kai Iwi Lakes.

The Waipoua Forest is home to the majestic Tane Mahuta 'Lord of the Forest'. At 2000 years old Tane Mahuta is the largest Kauri tree in the world. A guided tour with a Maori guide is the best way to experience this forest.

Continue on to the Hokianga Harbour, where Maori first arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand. A short ferry ride takes you to the harbour's stunning sand dunes where you can try sandboarding.

Day 2: Opononi - Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands
Taiamai Tours, Northland & Bay of Islands

By Sara Orme

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Discover more about the Bay of Islands


  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Swimming with Dolphins
  • Historic sites

Take a one-hour drive to the Bay of Islands on the eastern side of Northland.

As the first capital of New Zealand and the birth place of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Bay of Islands is rich with history. Explore the picturesque towns of Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri or visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for an authentic Maori culture experience.

The Bay also offers plenty of exciting activities, try fishing in Northland's pristine waters, swim with dolphins or charter a boat to explore the area's many islands.

Day 3: Bay of Islands - Tutukaka

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

By David Kirkland

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Discover more about Tutukaka


  • The Poor Knights Islands
  • Mermaid Pools
  • Surfing in Whale Bay

National Geographic Traveller rated Tutukaka Coast one of the top coastal destinations in the world. Check out the Mermaid Pools near Matapouri Beach, enjoy a walk to picturesque Whale Bay or hire a surf board and catch some waves at one of New Zealand's top surf breaks. 

The Tutukaka township is also the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, where abundent sealife and underwater caves combine to create a magical dive spot. Jacque Cousteau has rated it one of the top ten dive spots in the world. For non-divers there are also plenty of snorkeling and kayaking options available. 

Day 4: Tutukaka - Auckland

Head back to Auckland via the coastal road. On the way take the time to visit some of Northland's many stunning beaches, such as Ruakaka, Waipu, Bream Bay and the Mangawhai coastal environment.

Where to Next

Top 10 Experiences in Northland →

Twin Coast Discovery in Northland →

Travel to Northland →