Northland

New Zealand
Russell showing a bay or harbour and a lake or waterhole

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.

Popular cities in Northland

Town Basin Marina featuring a bay or harbour
Whangarei
Known for Spas, Marinas and Swimming
With excellent cultural attractions and close proximity to the region’s most beautiful natural areas, New Zealand’s northernmost city is a great base for exploring the country’s Northland Region.

Reasons to visit

  • Whangarei Quarry Gardens
  • Town Basin Marina
  • Botanica & Cafler Park
Kerikeri
Kerikeri
Known for Spas, Islands and Swimming
Travel to this lively town in the sunny Bay of Islands region to discover the historic charm and subtropical flavors of this early Māori-British trading post.

Reasons to visit

  • Stone Store
  • Makana Confections
  • Kerikeri Mission House
Russell showing a coastal town and a bay or harbour
Russell
Known for Historical, Beach view and Islands
Discover colonial charm, a colorful history and picturesque oceanfront scenery when you visit New Zealand’s oldest town. 

Reasons to visit

  • Flagstaff Hill
  • Russell Beach
  • Russell Museum
Haruru Falls showing a cascade, a river or creek and kayaking or canoeing
Waitangi
Known for Friendly people, Spas and Sea

Reasons to visit

  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Treaty House
Paihia showing a bay or harbour, tranquil scenes and a sunset
Paihia
Known for Beach view, Islands and Family-friendly
Excellent bars and restaurants, picturesque walking trails and sandy beaches mean this popular tourist town offers plenty to do.

Reasons to visit

  • Paihia Wharf
Tutukaka showing a bay or harbour and a sandy beach
Tutukaka
Known for Marinas, Spas and Swimming
With diving and fishing charters, sandy beaches and excellent restaurants, you’ll see why this natural harbour is one of Northland’s most popular destinations.