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Northland, New Zealand

A gold, green and blue world of beaches, bays and subtropical pleasures. Relax and unwind while you discover the stories of New Zealand's early history.

The relaxed, sunny lifestyle of Northland springs from its subtropical climate and the myriad of beautiful islands, bays and beaches around the coastline.


Northland region, New Zealand

Northland and the Bay of Islands includes all of the country north of Greater Auckland. This relatively narrow peninsula is New Zealand's northern-most region, reaching towards Polynesia, the home of its first inhabitants.

General Facts

As of June 2005, Northland's estimated population was 148,600.

It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in this region during the 11th century, but it wasn't until after the landing of the British sea voyager Captain Cook in 1769 that missionaries, whalers and traders arrived.

The Treaty of Waitangi, the document that founded bicultural New Zealand, was signed in the Bay of Islands in 1840.

The people of the North have a passion for water sport: surfing, boating, game fishing, sailing and diving.

The sub-tropical north is a land of rolling, sometimes rugged countryside, tidal estuaries and mangroves, sparkling island-studded bays and long silvery beaches. In the more rugged areas are remnants of lush sub-tropical forest featuring giant kauris, which are among the largest trees in the world.

Main Attractions and Activities

Northland is a favourite playground for lovers of anything aquatic. With 144 islands, the Bay of Islands is renowned for diving, boating, swimming and big game fishing.

Inland, hiking trails and short walks in the native forests lead to some of the largest and oldest trees in the world.

Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand

As one of the first regions visited and settled by Europeans, the region has the oldest European villages in New Zealand and many historic buildings.

Cape Reing—where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean--is one of the most northern spots in New Zealand. Coach tours to the Cape drive along the flat, silvery sands of Ninety Mile Beach, an historic "highway" (actually only 64 miles or 103 kilometres long) that is very popular with surfcasters and surfers.

Take the road from Whangarei to the riverside village of Ngunguru, the sheltered natural harbour of Tutukaka and the beautiful beaches beyond.

Tutukaka is the gateway to great diving at the famous Poor Knights Islands, a wildlife marine reserve above the water and a marine reserve below.

Don't Miss

Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
  • Matakohe Kauri Museum
  • Giant kauri trees, Waipoua Forest Ninety-Mile Beach and Cape Reinga
  • Bay of Islands' cruise
  • Russell village
  • Kerikeri village
  • Treaty grounds, Waitangi
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Tutukaka Coast
  • Diving Poor Knights Islands
  • Maritime Museum, Dargaville
  • The Quayside, Whangarei
  • Hokianga Harbour
  • Doubtless Bay beaches
  • Fishing in Whangaroa Harbour
  • Diving the Rainbow Warrior wreck
  • Hole-in-the-rock cruise
  • Haruru Falls, Paihia
  • Bream Bay surf beaches
  • Whangarei Falls
  • Waiwera thermal baths
  • Kawau Island and Mansion House

Main Centres

  • Dargaville - for the kauri forests and wild west coast beaches
  • Whangarei - for beautiful bays and beaches, diving and big game fishing
  • Paihia - for historic Russell and Waitangi, the Bay of Islands
  • Kerikeri - for orchards and craft stalls
  • Kaitaia - for Ninety-Mile beach and New Zealand's northern-most point, Cape Reinga