If you want to void the crowds get off the main route by turning left after Kaiwaka at SH12 on your roady north. Branch out and experience the mighty west coast, shrouded in kauri and offering some of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Check out our tips for top pit stops here:

1. Matakohe Museum

‘The Kauri Museum’ will provide you with all you need to know about the incredible and ancient kauri that will surround you on your way north. The award winning museum delves into New Zealand’s pioneering history and has something for everyone. Check out New Zealand’s earliest tractor and the two storey boarding house replica and pioneer school.

2. Kauri Coast

As you work your way up the Kauri coast, take some time to look at these beautiful and historic trees. Kauri have grown on this landscape for over 100 million years and are the largest tree you will find in New Zealand. Beautiful!

3. Ripiro Beach

It must be getting hot by now. Stop off at beautiful Ripiro Beach at Dargaville for a swim. This beach stretches 100km long from Pouto to Maunganui Bluff and is a local favourite. Look out for lignite that can be seen in the cliffs harking back to the days when Kauri ruled the landscape.

4. Swim Stop No. 2 – Kai Iwi Lakes

In fact why not pitch a tent for the night? You won’t want to miss the Kai Iwi lakes. Wash the salt off in these beautifully clear and refreshing lakes and take a wander through the bush to stretch the legs. A classic kiwi camping spot. Bliss!

5. Trounson Kauri Park

See what it was like to walk in a kauri forest back in the day. The Trounson Kauri Park is a must see. Any bird watchers will be in heaven – set up next to the fresh stream from the forest and listen out for native calls. This land is home to 200 kiwi!

6. Hokianga Harbour

Discover true Maori culture at Hokianga Harbour’s ‘Footsteps Waipoua’. Here you will learn about NZ wildlife, history and Maori legends. Have a chat with Jim the Hokianga bonecarver before creating your own piece of art or if you’re feeling active hit the slopes northern style for a bit of board duning!

For more information checkout www.northlandnz.com