See the Sights in Seven Days
Do you have seven days to fill with adventure on your next Taitokerau Northland holiday? Here's our suggestions for planning your week.
Auckland to Whangārei
Heading north from Auckland you have a choice to make. Stick to State Highway 1 and see the epic views of Whangārei Heads and Bream Bay from the top of the Brynderwyns or meander your way through the small townships of Mangawhai and Waipu whilst enjoying the endless appearance of sandy beaches. Either way, be sure to stop off in Waipu, a town well-known for its Scottish heritage, famous Pizza Barn, and unique coastal walkway.
Choose to stay over here (Camp Waipu Cove is an excellent spot to spend the night) or carry on towards Whangārei to rest your head.
Adventure in Whangārei
Whangārei is an underrated adventure hub for families. Head’s Up Adventures is Aotearoa New Zealand’s only monster scooter park, the Adventure Forest is a TREE-mendous treetop adventure course for all ages, and the Adrenalin Adventure Park is a water wonderland with an inflatable obstacle course. The hardest part is choosing which activity to do first!
Finish your day on the Tutukākā Coast, rated one of the top coastal destinations in the world by National Geographic Traveller.
Tutukākā Coast to the Bay of Islands
Enjoy a literal Perfect Day Cruise out to the world-renowned Poor Knights Islands where you can paddleboard, snorkel, swim, or simply lounge about. Above and below the water is a huge variety of plant, animal and marine life, and the islands are also home to the world’s largest sea cave, Rikoriko Cave.
Upon your return to land, head north, either along State Highway 1 to Paihia or via the Secret Coast Route to Russell.
A full day in the Bay
Start your day with a Hole in the Rock cruise, where you’ll cruise out through the Bay of Islands to Motukōkako and Cape Brett. Keep your eyes peeled for marine wildlife like dolphins, and whales, and enjoy a stopover at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Islands.
After you return, head to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed. Join a guided tour to hear the incredible stories and enjoy a cultural performance in the Whare Runanga. The ticket price includes full access to the site, including the two contemporary museums, heritage and forest trails, live demonstrations in the carving studio, and the on-site cafe.
The Bay of Islands to the Far North
Head north from the Bay of Islands, perhaps stopping in at Waianiwaniwa Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri, and along State Highway 10 through Doubtless Bay. Stop for world-famous fish and chips in Mangonui or enjoy a scoop of ice-cream at the Cable Bay store. Carry on right through to the very top of the country (or the tail of the fish, depending on which way you hold the map) and visit the famous Cape Reinga lighthouse. Watch the two oceans collide and see the lonely pohutukawa tree, said to be the departing place of the spirits on their way back to Hawaiki.
On the way back down, grab a boogie board and try your hand at sandboarding down the Te Paki dunes. Then head back to the stay the night either at Doubtless Bay on the east coast, or Ahipara on the west coast.
The Far North to the Hokianga
Head towards the Hokianga via Ngawha Springs, Taitokerau Northland’s only geothermal hot springs. With numerous pools, and varying temperatures, the whole family will find a hot pool they won’t want to leave!
Heading west from Ngawha, you might like to check out the Wairere Boulders, a valley of millions of years old giant boulders, or wander the heritage trails around the old towns of Rāwene and Kohukohu.
Wind up in the sister towns of Opononi and Ōmāpere where you can enjoy the new cultural experience, Manea Footprints of Kupe, or see the forest transition from day to night on the Footprints Waipoua Twilight Tour. Stay here in the Hokianga, or head on down the coast to the Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Park.
The Ancient Kauri Trail
The Ancient Kauri Trail stretches from Hokianga in the north to Maungaturoto in the south. Here, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, especially when you visit the kauri forests like Waipoua and Trounson. Discover the giant trees that have watched over the generations, then visit the Kauri Museum at Matakohe, and learn about the kauri timber and gum industry that boomed in the north.
Before returning home, stop in at the Eutopia Cafe in Kaiwaka, an incredible mosaiced cafe serving up great food and coffee (the kids will love the peanut butter balls!).