The Best Locations North Of Auckland For A Long Weekend Holiday
So many tourists never venture north of Auckland, but they should! And so should you. Northland has a lot to offer. It really is considerably warmer up there all year round. And the further north you drive the warmer it gets. The other thing about Northland is it’s surprisingly large. There’s enough to see and do up there for a month so don’t try and do to much in a weekend. Just pick one of these great spots and see everything it has to offer.
The Bay of Islands
It’s one of New Zealand’s most famous spots for a reason. It’s beautiful, it’s warm, and there’s so much to do. Stunning beaches, hiking, sailing, kayaking, boat tours and cruises, fishing, whale or dolphin watching and golf. There’s history a plenty in Waitangi, Kerikeri and Russell. It’s one of New Zealand’s earliest settlements. There’s plenty of bars and restaurants too. And no shortage of accommodation (Unless you trying go at New Years without booking)
Where to stay in the Bay of Islands
Base yourself in either Paihia or Russell. Depending on your budget try Copthorne Hotel and Resort reasonably priced and great for families. Or if your flush with cash and not taking the kids then Donkey Bay Inn may be more to your liking. Other great options are The Duke of Marlborough and if you can afford it Eagles Nest.
Don’t miss these Bay of Islands Highlights
The Hole in the Rock Cruise is a must do. It doesn’t matter which boat, just get out on the water. You’ll usually see flying fish, and often dolphins. Orac are also not uncommon, and you’ll get to see much of the Bay of Islands by boat and the famous Hole in the Rock. If you can afford it Big Game Fishing is great fun, everyone should try it at least once. Dolphin or whale watching is also a must do. There’s dolphins and whales year round in the Bay of Islands so there’s always something to see. Outside of that have a swim, walk the shops and ride the ferry from Russell to Paihia. Visit Waitangi and even if your not staying there don’t miss diner at The Duke of Marlborough in Russell.
Opononi, Omapere, and Rawene are only minutes apart and all on the south bank of Northlands beautiful Hokianga Harbour. Made famous by Opo the dolphin in the 1950’s it’s still a popular tourist spot. Stunning golden sand dunes and crystal clear waters make for some stunning views.
Where to stay in Hokianga
Omapere’s Copthorne Hotel and Resort is a 4 star resort right on the edge of the harbour with stunning views. You can’t get more waterfront than this. In Opononi try the Opononi Hotel. It is the centre of the town. You’ll probably eat here even if you stay elsewhere. In Rawene try Marriners Boutique Guesthouses.
Don’t miss these Hokianga Harbour Highlights
Sandboarding, if you’re not dead yet it’s a must do. Take the ferry across the harbour, pack a picnic and spend a few hours sliding down the sand dunes. You can skip right out onto the water. Fish and chips in Opononi and a beer in the hotel bar. A fishing charter, Hokianga has some great fishing. Hike to the headland at Arai Te Uru nature reserve at the mouth of the harbour. And make sure you drive through Waipoua Forest and stop at the magnificent Tane Mahuta (New Zealand’s largest tree).
Doubtless Bay (and the Karikari Peninsula) is the jewel of the North. Maitai Bay is undeniably New Zealand’s best beach. And Coopers Beach, and Cable Bay are not far behind. This is the the spot to base yourself and explore the far far north.
Where to stay in Doubtless Bay
Carrington Estate is a luxury lodge style hotel with its own winery and golf course. A short drive from the incredible Maitai Bay. Ramada Resort by Wyndham Reia Taipa Beach is located right on the beach, smack bang in the middle of Doubtless Bay it’s perfect for families. Cable Bays San Marino Motor Lodge is beach front accommodation for those on a more humble budget, but with views to die for. Or stay on the harbour side in Mangonui at The Old Oak Boutique Hotel
Don’t miss these Doubtless Bay Highlights
Fish and chips by the water in Mangonui. Beach beach and beach, Doubtless Bay is all about golden sand beaches. Do not miss Maitai Bay at the top of the Karikari Peninsula, it’s spectacular. Doubtless bay is 2 hours from Cape Reinga It’s best if you get their just before dawn so you can see the lighthouse in its full glory and then watch the sunrise. Carrington Estate winery and golf course. Finally book a charter for some fishing or just cruise around the bay.
Whangaroa Harbour is a fishermans paradise. Renown for the Kingfish, the clear water, and the steep bush covered hills. It’s also a favorite stop for yachts and and a great spot for kayaking. It’s also perfect for a weekend getaway.
Where to stay in Whangaroa Harbour
The Marlin of Whangaroa isn’t just in the centre of Whangaroa it is the centre of Whangaroa right across the street from the fishing club and marina. Sunseeker Lodge and Pacific Harbour Lodge offer cheap and cheerful accommodation a short walk away. For those with a larger budget there is always the nearby Kauri Cliffs or Crab Cove. Or for a really unique experience try Whangaroa Houseboats.
Don’t miss these Whangaroa Harbour Highlights
First up, you have to get out on the water. Book a charter fishing trip, go sailing or kayaking, but whatever you do get out on the water and see the harbour the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed. Climb St Paul’s Rock it’s a short walk from Whangaroa town to the climb the rock for magnificent views of the harbour. If you like that there’s plenty more hikes, take the water taxi to Lane Cove and climb the Dukes Nose. Immediately north of the Harbour entrance is Taupo Bay Beach, a beautiful surf beach well worth a holiday of it’s own and a must do for half a day. Equally magestical is Tauranga Bay Beach to the South of Whangaroa. If you head this way follow the road all way round the coast past Kauri Cliffs to Matauri Bay.