Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, the Far North is often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters. The Bay of Islands, visited by Captain Cook in 1769, is known as the birthplace of New Zealand and is encircled by 144 islands. The region of Whangarei and the Bay of Islands is an outdoor paradise with its subtropical climate and white, sandy beaches, perfect for a family holiday.
Twin Coast Discovery Highway
Whangarei, Paihia and the Bay of Islands
Whangarei is the main city of the region and features the Quayside Town Basin - a marina with restaurants, shops, arts and crafts and a children’s playground. See the largest collection of clocks in the Southern Hemisphere or visit the kiwis in their natural habitat. Continue up Northland’s east coast and you’ll find stunning coastline, gorgeous, protected inlets, cute accommodation and numerous perfect holiday bases. Below we introduce just a few of the main townships or beachside communities.
Look out to sea and not far away you’ll see the Poor Knights Islands – one of NZ’s world-class gems and considered by Jacques Cousteau to be one of the world’s top dive spots. A day out here is a must-do. Check out options with the waterfront business Dive! Tutukaka – if not diving you can still get out to the Poor Knights for the day and check out the amazing arches of these pristine volcanic islands. Other Poor Knights activities include sailing, kayaking and dolphin, seal or orca spotting.
Waitangi Other Paihia-based excursions not to be missed include a wander along the foreshore to Waitangi (2 minutes by car), scene of the 1840 signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. There are activity-based tours to keep the kids interested, and a great café onsite. Admission is free to New Zealanders.
Doubtless Bay With its 70 kilometres of unspoiled coastline, Doubtless Bay extends from Taupo Bay in the east to the Karikari Peninsula in the west and includes the settlements of Coopers Beach, Cable Bay, Taipa and Whatuwhiwhi. The name Doubtless Bay originates from Captain Cook’s visit in 1769 when he sailed past and declared it ‘doubtless a bay’. Doubtless Bay has something to offer everyone, whether its relaxing on the beautiful beaches, buying some of the local arts and crafts, swimming with dolphins, or watching movies in the tiny Swamp Palace cinema. If you visit over summer, around Christmas, you may be lucky enough to see the Pohutukawa in bloom all along the beaches, creating one of New Zealand's prettiest and most iconic vistas.
Russell Ferries between Paihia and Russell depart several times an hour throughout the day. The passenger ferry goes between the two town centres, while the car ferry (10 minutes on the water), goes between nearby Opua and Okiato Wharf, 5km from Russell. The tiny township of Russell is home to yet more pristine and calm sandy beaches, cafes, great fish and chips and plenty of accommodation.
Mangonui this very cute seaside town is close to some of Doubtless Bay's best beaches, and home to the famous Mangonui fish and chip shop, overlooking the harbour. Although very touristy, if you get it when it's not too crowded, we recommend a visit... the food is superb and the setting is the perfect fish and chips location!
Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga
Western Route, Dargaville and Kauri Coast
Kaitai The most northern town in New Zealand, Kaitaia is a busy farming town with its surrounding area supporting industries such as wine and fruit growing. The town is the starting point for coach tours to Cape Reinga and New Zealand’s famous 90 mile beach. Nearby Ahipara, on the West Coast, is worth a visit for its superb surfing and views back along Ninety Mile beach.
Hokianga Harbour This region is a great base to explore the giant Kauri, experience a sanddune buggy ride, discover the fabulous beaches and walk/bike trails or take a ferry across the harbour between the wee townships of Rawene and Kohukohu.
Waipoua Forest and the Kauri Kings Highlight of the Western Route is the great Kauri forests with the giant Kauri known as Tane Mahuta as its King – you'll be filled with disbelief at its immense size! The giants are just a short drive and then a few minutes walk through the forest. The highway has signposts along the way indicating good walks to some of the most amazing Kauri. The biggest of all - Tane, is only 5 minutes walk off the highway.
Dargaville dates back to the late 1800s and its history is reflected in the number of 19th century buildings in a town of some 4,800 people. Known as New Zealand’s ‘Kumara Capital’ and producing two thirds of the country’s kumara, Dargaville is also the main centre for the Kauri Coast and its timber industry.Northland Apartments
Northland Holiday Parks and Campgrounds
Northland Holiday Homes
Northland Bed and Breakfasts
- 70 Seaview Road, Paihia, Bay of Islands
- 0800 108 700
- +64 9 402 7982
- +64 9 402 6023
- Nightly Rates From:
This is a perfect Paihia location, just 50m from the beach! Our one and two bedroom family units are serviced daily and include kitchen or kitchenette, TV, in-room WIFI connection, heaters and electric blankets. The motel features a year-round heated, saltwater swimming pool, spa pool, covered BBQ area, lovely garden area, access to tennis courts and guest laundry. Cots and highchairs are available and babysitting can be arranged. Courtesy transfers to and from Paihia. This is a great location from which to explore the beautiful Bay Of Islands and is just metres from the beach, restaurants, shops and wharf. Qualmark 3 star+... more