PHOTO: Cape Reinga
Adventure, wildlife, culture, walks, surfing and heritage – we’ve selected our top 20 picks – so make sure you check them out on your next visit to Northland!
1. Kiwi North museum – www.whangareimuseum.co.nz
Nocturnal Kiwi House with live kiwi, more pork and native gecko. A museum with Maori and early settler collections; plus a park with historic buildings, vintage vehicles and machinery.
2. Poor Knights – www.tutukakacoastnz.com
The Islands, 25km off shore, have been rated by the famous Jacques Cousteau as one of the top-ten dive sites in the world, featuring the world’s largest sea cave at 7,900,000 cubic feet.
3. Hundertwasser Toilets
An amazing work of art, the only building in the Southern Hemisphere designed by Austrian born artist, Hundertwasser; it’s the last building he designed before he died in 1999.
4. Kawiti Caves – www.kawiticaves.co.nz
Pure white limestone formations and glistening glow worms. Journey underground through networks of stalactites and stalagmites to the hidden chambers of glow worms.
5. Swim with Dolphins
Swimming with the dolphins in their natural environment is only enhanced by swimming in New Zealand’s warmest waters. Some describe this activity as a life changing experience.
6. Kayak up to Haruru Falls
Paddle up the sheltered waters of the Waitangi Estuary to spend time exploring the Mangrove forests and Haruru falls. Test your skills by paddling under the waterfall.
7. Paddle a waka – www.taiamaitours.co.nz
You hear the ancient history and stories, as you paddle their 40 ft Waka Taua (War Canoe) on the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River. It’s an eco and interactive cultural experience.
8. Skydive – www.skydivezoneboi.co.nz
No one jumps higher in New Zealand. Freefalling from 16,000 feet at speeds of 120 mph (200kph) or more over Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. This is 110% pure adrenalin.
9. Parasail – www.parasail-nz.co.nz
As New Zealand’s highest parasailing, enjoy breathtaking views over the Bay of Islands as you are gently lifted from the back deck of their 14 passenger world purpose built boat.
10. Waitangi Treaty Grounds – www.waitangi.net.nz
Cultural performances and tours: Introducing the Birthplace of the Nation. Visit the ceremonial waka, the flagstaff, the carved Whare Runanga and Treaty House.
A fisherman’s paradise, with countless charters catering to a diverse range of fishing skills – whether you’re looking to hook the big one game-fishing adventure or catch some small fry.
12. Ngawha Springs
The geothermal mineral pools are renowned for the therapeutic healing properties. The pools are all of varying heats and composition; it’s a non commercial treasure of the North.
13. The Stone Store
The Stone Store which is New Zealand’s oldest stone building, along with the Mission House (the country’s oldest house); these buildings are a must for all visitors to the Bay of Islands.
14. Climb the Dukes Nose
The view from the Dukes Nose, looking over the Whangaroa harbour is majestic. Formed as water eroded the volcanic debris of twenty million years ago, it is a place like no other.
15. Camp at Maitai Bay
Camp on the outer Karikari Peninsula at Matauri Bay, a sheltered bay with campsites nestled amongst beautiful pohutukawa trees. A favourite place for many families and boaties.
16. Cape Reinga
The historic Cape Reinga lighthouse marks the extreme north-western point of New Zealand. The Tasman and the Pacific meet – sometimes producing waves more than 10 metres high.
17. 90 Mile Beach: Sand tobogganing & Quad Biking
A raw and rugged energy best describes Ahipara, at the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach. Hoon along the beach on a quad bike, or go tobogganing down the highest dunes in NZ.
18. Surf Shipwreck Bay
Shipwrecks peek from the surf at low tide (southern end of 90 Mile Beach) and the views are unforgettable. Surfers come from all over NZ to ride one of NZ’s best left hand surf breaks.
19. Waipoua Forest – www.footprintswaipoua.co.nz
Visit some of the largest remaining kauri trees in the world. Stand in awe at the base of Tane Mahuta, the 2000 year old ‘Lord of the Forest’. Guided night tours are highly recommended.
20. The Kauri Museum – www.kaurimuseum.com
The Kauri Museum is one of New Zealand’s most amazing theme museums. Approximately 90,000 people visit their internationally acclaimed Northland heritage museum every year.