Staff Picks

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Riko Riko cave at the Poor Knights

Meet Elvis & Priscilla, climb up the Dukes nose, or eat some of the best fish and chips in New Zealand. Here are some of our quirky picks!

Mangonui Fish & Chips – regarded by some as the best!

An expansive deck juts out over the Mangonui harbour so you can watch the fishing boats arrive with their fresh catch of fish. "Last time we were there, we saw a huge bronze whaler shark circling around the deck underneath us!!

Ngawha Hot Springs

Ngawha Springs - Near Kaikohe in the Mid North
Ngawha Springs - Near Kaikohe in the Mid North

Right in the heart of Northland's geothermal region. Bathe in the hot mud thermal pools and rejuvenate your skin. Tours are also available nearby to see a hidden valley that once saw groves of magnificent Kauri forests, now torn and snapped like match sticks and buried and preserved in shallow graves by a volcanic eruption thousands of years earlier.

Yodel in world’s largest sea cave – Rikoriko Cave

On the Poor Knight Islands off the east coast of Tutukaka. The egg-shaped chamber as a volume of about 7,800,000 cubic feet. The Poor Knights Islands are also home to the only living dinosaur the tuatara.

Piercy Island, known simply as "The Hole In The Rock”

One of the 144 islands which make up the Bay of Islands. Pass through the huge hole and if you are lucky enough to get a drop of water from the cave roof land on you it is supposed to give you eternal youth...

Wairere Boulders – kiss the blarney stone?

Wairere Boulders
Wairere Boulders

The boulder valley, thought to be 2.8 million years old, was formed by a lava flow which turned into a basalt layer. Erosion, and a couple of huge cracks, has led to a pile-up of thousands of the boulders on the valley floor, some of which are 30m high. The track through the 1.5km valley goes over, around and under the boulders, and takes you through rainforest and past many native trees, palms and ferns.

Kawakawa Vintage railway & Hundertwasser toilets

Spend a penny in Kawakawa at the famous Hundertwasser designed toilets, then take a ride with Gabriel, the last steam engine of her kind still operating.

Twin Coast Cycle Trail

A pleasant afternoon can be spent cyclling the newly built Northland trail, Pou Herenga Tai from south of Kaikohe to Okaihau . The trail is built on an old rail corridor and features an 80m rail tunnel dating back to 1915. Pass through the heartland of the Far North and see rural views out to the Hokianga in the west, Lake Omapere and farmland to the east.

Bay of Islands Farmer’s Market

Winetasting, Bay of Islands Farmers Market
Winetasting, Bay of Islands Farmers Market

Kerikeri has buzzed every Sunday morning since the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market began in August 2004, making it one of the longer-established Farmers’ Markets in the country. Mingle with the locals and experience the flavours of Northland, buy mementos and gifts or just soak up the sights and smells and enjoy the live music.

Climb the Duke’s Nose

To reach the top of Dukes Nose (Kairara Rocks), you must climb 500 m up a very steep track. At the top, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of Whangaroa Harbour with imposing volcanic headlands and crags dominate and define the harbour's arms. The bush reaches down to the many bays and coves, formed as water eroded the volcanic debris of twenty million years ago and bush filled its valleys and hillsides.

Tokatoka Peak – your chance to climb a volcanic phenomenon

The plug or lava core of a volcano overlooking the Wairoa River near Dargaville. Tokatoka is very significant to the local Maori people and features in their mythology and history.

Have a drink in the Duke of Marlborough in Russell

Holding NZ’s oldest pub license and has been Refreshing Rascals & Reprobates since 1827 it's the best place to watch stunning sunsets in the Bay of Islands.

Meet Elvis & Priscilla – in the Kawiti Caves just south of Kawakawa

The guided tours follow a wooden boardwalk through a 200 metre limestone cave system. Once inside, you will see thousands of glow worms spread across the ceiling surrounded by breath taking stalactites and stalagmites. Who’s Elvis and Priscilla you ask? They are the resident eels swimming in the stream.

See 40,000 to 150,000 year old buried kauri trees exposed

Gumdiggers Park near Awanui
Gumdiggers Park near Awanui

In the swamps at Gumdiggers Park near Awanui, maybe you’ll find your own piece of kauri gum.

Dive the famous Rainbow Warrior

Once the proud flagship of Greenpeace until it was bombed and sunk in in Auckland in 1985. The Rainbow Warrior now lies peacefully on the ocean floor in the Cavalli Islands just north of the Bay of Islands. Laid to rest in 1987 it is now home to an abundance of marine life.

Meet Sparky, the one legged Kiwi

Living at the Native Bird Recovery Centre who has been give the role of ambassador travelling around schools and other public forums to promote wildlife conservation. You can also hang out with the chatty young Tuis - Jett and Little Tui.