Five reasons why the Northland Journey the Secret Coast Route is perfect for explorers
The Secret Coast Route is for those who can keep a secret, those who love to explore, take their time and uncover the hidden gems along the way. Here’s five reasons explorers love the Northland Journey, The Secret Coast Route:
1. The hidden gem, Helena Bay Café.
Hidden in the bush, surrounded by beautiful subtropical gardens, you will find Helena Bay Café & Gallery. Explore the outdoor sculpture garden before heading inside to discover great art by leading Aotearoa New Zealand artists. Once you’re done here, pop next door to the café for fair-trade coffee and tempting homemade goodies from the cabinet or delicious meals from the menu. Sit back and relax as you take in spectacular ocean and bush views.
2. The adventurousness of The Farm.
A 1000 acre working dairy farm and holiday base. Stay in the farmhouse, cabin or tent, build your own wilderness camp. Enjoy horse treks, motorbike and kayak rentals. Enjoy the surf or unwind with a yoga session. The Farm also has a year-round calendar of events. From yoga retreats to dance parties, you’ll want to make sure that you check their upcoming events schedule before you go.
3. The stories at Pompallier Mission.
Situated in a beautiful waterfront setting in Russell is Aotearoa New Zealand’s oldest industrial building. This French-made printery and tannery built in 1842 combines momentous Māori and Pākehā history, glorious gardens, and hands-on fun. There is also a café onsite where you can find tasty refreshments including authentic French croissants.
4. The dramatic landscapes of Cape Brett.
This magnificent hiking track is a must do for any hiking enthusiast. It runs the length of Cape Brett and takes you through native forest and along dramatic cliffs to the lighthouse at the end of the cape. The area is rich in early Māori history, and the remains of ancient pā sites (fortified villages) are visible at various locations. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for visiting dolphins in the bays below. It's a challenging walk, so you'll need a high level of fitness. But it's well worth the effort. The track begins at Oke Bay, near Rawhiti or you can catch a water taxi from Russell and Paihia. The track traverses 16km of rugged terrain so we recommend doing it over two days and staying the night at the Cape Brett Hut.
5. The laid-back Elliot Bay.
This surf spot is a fave for locals and visitors alike. It’s the perfect place on this Journey to pull over and get in some beach time, grab your surfboard hit the waves. Surrounded by private land with camping options, means it’s an ideal location to set up camp for the night.