Twin Coast Discovery

northland

Explore New Zealand's warmest regions touring both coastlines

6 Days

695 km

Highlights

  • Pristine Bay of Islands beaches
  • Tāne Mahuta - largest kauri tree
  • Dolphin encounters

explore the route

View map below

Tour both coastlines of New Zealand’s warmest region and discover picturesque beaches and marine adventures of every description.

Explore the many cycle trails and walking tracks. Visit locations of local and cultural significance, including Tāne Mahuta - the famous kauri Tree, Te-Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach, and Waitangi - the ‘Birthplace of our Nation’.

Day 1: Auckland to Hokianga via Dargaville

northland

A place of history, long beaches and the world's largest living Kauri tree

Highlights

  • Rich Māori history
  • Tāne Mahuta - kauri tree
  • Hokianga sand dunes

Discover Manea Footprints of Kupe

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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(opens in new window).

Discover Waipoua Forest - home to the majestic Tāne Mahuta "God of the Forest", it is named for the Māori God of forests and of birds. It is the largest living kauri tree known to stand today.

Continue on to the Hokianga Harbour, where Māori 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: Hokianga to Kaitaia

bay-of-islands

Bay of Islands

Enjoy picturesque beaches and rural country-side

Highlights

  • Breathtaking beaches
  • Shipwreck Bay/ Te Kōhanga
  • Local art galleries

Discover more about Kaitaia

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Make your way through the fishing village of Rawene, visit the local art galleries and enjoy a coffee at the Boatshed Café before you board the car ferry to Kohukohu.

Journey through yester-year taking in rural New Zealand country-side on your way north to Kaitaia, the main centre for the 'subtropical' north.

From here you can arrange a coach tour to Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua and Ninety Mile Beach/Te-Oneroa-a-Tōhē.

Or visit Te Kōhanga/Shipwreck Bay, aptly named for its many shipwrecks some of which are still visible at low tide. It has also become a famous surfing destination with left-hand breaks and long rides.

Day 3: Kaitaia to Paihia via Doubtless Bay

bay-of-islands

Stunning views and great food

Highlights

  • Mangonui Fish Shop
  • Doubtless Bay
  • Kerikeri Orchards

Top experiences in Northland

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Continue on to the stunning Doubtless Bay, where you can enjoy lunch at the Mangonui Fish Shop.

The road leading into Kerikeri is bordered by orchards, and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruit. Look for signs that lead the way to artists’ studios, which give this district its creative personality.

In Kerikeri you’ll find galleries, cafes, vineyards and fascinating historic sites such as the Stone Store and the Mission House(opens in new window). There are also superb bush walks in the area – Rainbow Falls is a perfect picnic spot.

Spend the evening at Paihia at the heart of the Bay of Islands.

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

Day 4: Spend the day in Bay of Islands

bay-of-plenty

Known for its stunning beauty and history

Highlights

  • Swim with dolphins
  • Explore Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Visit New Zealand's first sea port

LEARN MORE ABOUT WAITANGI

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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(opens in new window) swimming safari, or take a ferry to the charming township of Russell/Kororareka.

The historic Treaty House at Waitangi marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation and is great place to experience some Māori culture.

Day 5: Paihia to Whangārei

bay-of-islands

Top coastal destinations

Highlights

  • Poor Knights Island
  • Top surf breaks
  • Diving spots

Discover more about Whangārei

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The Tutukaka Coast, near Whangārei was named one of the top coastal destinations in the world by National Geographic Traveller.

Tutukaka is also the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands, a protected marine reserve known for the clarity of its water and abundant sea life. Jacques Cousteau called the Poor Knights Islands one of the top ten dive sites. Click here for a journey map(opens in new window) for this area.

Travel the Whangārei Heads scenic drive as it winds through pohutakawa fringed bays with stunning views to the wild and beautiful beaches. View recommended journey map(opens in new window) for this region.

Day 6: Whangārei to Auckland

auckland

Vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes

Highlights

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

Top 10 things to do in Auckland

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Slowly make your way back to Auckland via the coastal road.

Admire beach after beach along the Ruakaka, Waipu, Bream Bay and Mangawhai coastal road.

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.

 View the route below

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