Encompassing the northernmost part of New Zealand, Northland is a largely forested region between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It centres around the lively city of Whangarei and has long been a getaway destination, with idyllic islands, old-growth kauri forests and historic Māori sites among its attractions.
Things to do in Northland
Whether you want to sandboard down the Te Paki dunes or gaze up at a 2,000-year-old kauri tree, Northland offers adventures for all tastes.
Explore Cape Reinga. Cape Reinga lies where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and is a sacred site for the local Māori people. You can sandboard down the largest dunes in the Southern Hemisphere at Te Paki before walking along the seemingly never-ending Ninety Mile Beach.
Cruise the Bay of Islands. Home to pristine beaches, cultural sites and the 19th-century whaling port of Russell, the Bay of Islands scatter off the east coast of Northland. Jump aboard a guided cruise to marvel at the cliffs of Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins.
See New Zealand’s largest kauri tree. On the west coast of Northland is the Waipoua Forest, which preserves one of the largest remaining tracts of kauri forest in New Zealand. It’s home to Tāne Mahuta, a 2,000-year-old kauri tree believed to be the country’s oldest. To learn more about these giant trees and the role of the forest in Māori culture, head to the Kauri Museum in Matakohe.
Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Delve into New Zealand’s history at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the country’s founding document was signed in 1840. In addition to innovative exhibits that bring the past to life, it features a giant Māori war canoe, a carving studio and a traditional meeting house.
Getting around Northland
Northland is around three hours’ drive from Auckland Airport, which has flights to destinations around the globe. Long-distance buses connect from Auckland to towns throughout Northland, while renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around the region.