Many of us will remember caravan holidays, Dad in his stubbies, travelling around New Zealand in the back of a Falcon (without seatbelts - not such a great idea in retrospect).
We all dream to get away over summer and the AA Travel website is a great place to plan a road trip anywhere in this beautiful country. Simply type in your starting point, enter what kind of attractions interest you and hey presto, a list of road trips pop up, including distance and expected travel time. This is a long way from the days when the map was thrown into the boot of the car or jammed into the glove box, with at least one essential page missing.
Some of the best road trips can be found between Auckland and Northland with ample small towns such as Mangawhai, Tutukaka and Waipu Cove to spend a night or two and then carry on north to another exciting region of sunny Northland.
At Far North Rentals, we offer quality cars and vans that are serviced regularly to avoid any holiday hiccups – because the last thing you want on a road trip is an unreliable vehicle. Plus, our competitive pricing and excellent services see customers coming back to us again and again.
So let’s get started with a typical Northland road trip where there is something for everyone.
The Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is a must if you’re looking for an aquatic playground. Harbour cruises, spotting dolphins, parasailing, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, and of course a great swimming spot or two amongst the 144 islands.
Opua Marina has extended the number of berths to help ease the influx of boaties over Spring and Summer and now offers 450 berths, clubs, the boat haul-out yards and extensive marine services.
If you are more of a land lover, Kerikeri has art galleries dotted all over its landscape, citrus and kiwifruit orchards and you will never be far from a great café or award-winning winery. However, Kerikeri is most famous for the oldest buildings in New Zealand, Kerikeri Mission House and the Mission’s Stone Store where the first European settlers made New Zealand their home back in 1819.
Of course, Waitangi is one of New Zealand’s most important historic sites where Maori and European came together to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. A vast peaceful estate, the Treaty Grounds contain the Treaty House, a Maori Meeting house, one of the largest waka (Maori war canoe) in New Zealand, a gallery, and an excellent visitors’ centre.
Sunsets never look as good as they do from Russell, a historic settlement with New Zealand’s oldest licensed pub and Christ Church, the country’s oldest place of worship. Russell is easy to get to with passenger ferry services from Paihia happening every half an hour and the car ferry from Okiato to Opua scheduled every 10 minutes.
The perfect way to take in the Bay of Islands at ground level is to a hire a scooter or electric bike for the duration of your stay. Easy to park, easy to ride and a great way to get between the main townships of Waitangi, Russell, and Paihia or neighbouring Kerikeri.
Kauri Coast and Hokianga Region
Opononi and Omapere are a great base for discovering New Zealand’s largest kauri forest, Waipoua Forest. Here you will find ample accommodation options in all price brackets and some great eateries. Waipoua Forest is home to the famous Tane Mahuta, our largest kauri tree which is now approximately 2,000 years old and still growing! Tane really is something to behold as this magnificent tree is just over 51 metres in height with a trunk girth of almost 14 metres. Yep, that's big alright.
The Kai Iwi Lakes (30 minutes North of Dargaville) is a popular family destination, especially those with young children as they can enjoy the shallow, crystal clear fresh water for lots of water play while Mums and Dads relax on the golden sands.
Surprisingly, the Kauri Museum is only 90 minutes North of Auckland and has won awards both locally and was named “Favourite North Island Attraction" from a major Australian travel company. Though this must-see museum tells the story of early settlers working the land, their business ethics are the way of the future, becoming the world’s first museum in the World to obtain CarboNZero Certification (a world-leading sustainable operation).
Hokianga Harbour is where time slows down and where you can find boutique accommodation, Koutu Boulders, and the very charming town of Rawene with its historic buildings, art galleries, and good cafes.
Wherever to choose to go in Northland no two days need ever be the same, but you are due a real break there is no end of fantastic beaches and scenery to take in from the comfort of your beach lounger – day after day.
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