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’.
A place of history, quiet beaches and giant trees
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 available here.
Gateway to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.Read more
Make your way north through the fishing village of Rawene. Visit the local art galleries and enjoy a coffee at the Boatshed Café.
From here you can arrange a coach tour to Cape Reinga or catch a bus trip along Ninety Mile Beach.
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.
A wonderland of islands, marine life, kauri forests and Maori myths and legends.Read more
Continue on to the stunning Doubtless Bay and enjoy lunch at the Mangonui Fish Shop.
The road leading into Kerikeri is bordered by orchards. Roadside stalls offer the chance to buy seasonal fruit. Look out for signs showing the way to artists’ studios, which give this district a creative personality.
In Kerikeri you’ll find galleries, cafes, vineyards and fascinating historic sites such as the Stone Store and the Mission House. There are also superb bush walks in the area – Rainbow Falls is a perfect picnic spot.
The resort town of Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands. Catch a cruise to the outer islands, go on a dolphin swimming safari, or take a ferry to the charming township of Russell. The historic Treaty House at Waitangi marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation.
The Tutukaka Coast, near Whangarei 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 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 for this region.
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 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.