Head north from Auckland to discover countless perfect beaches, ancient kauri forests and the charming colonial villages of New Zealand’s “Winterless North.”
Northland is New Zealand’s northernmost region and encompasses long stretches of coastline, picturesque farms, forests and rolling hills. Discover orchards filled with citrus and avocado trees, surf beaches, secret coves and pretty towns where some of New Zealand’s oldest stories were born.
Many travelers head straight for the sublime Bay of Islands. The backpackers’ haven of Paihia is at the bay’s center and the prettier, quieter town of Russell lies across the water. Stay a few nights in either location and swim with the dolphins, learn to sail or head out on a fishing charter in search of big game.
Enjoy a unique experience driving on the sand at Ninety Mile Beach. This beach is actually a designated highway. Follow the sandy road northward to reach the impressive Cape Reinga Lighthouse. Look out to sea from here and you will see the merging currents of New Zealand’s two main oceans.
Return via the east coast and make a stop at any of the pristine beaches along the way. Some of the best beaches are found on the Karikari Peninsula, while other beautiful coastal spots are located around Whangarei Heads and Tawharanui.
Don’t miss Te Matua Ngahere, New Zealand’s oldest kauri tree, located in the Waipoua Forest. Learn about the forestry industry and the region’s history in this area at several museums and galleries nearby.
Known to Kiwis as the “Winterless North,” Northland certainly has a milder year-round climate than the rest of the country, though winters can still be wet. Summer and autumn are the most settled and pleasant time to visit.
Northland is located 220 miles (350 kilometers) north of Auckland. Explore Northland with one of several tour companies to visit the region’s major sights. Otherwise, rent a car to discover yet more empty beaches, hidden communities and natural treasures.