From Auckland to Cape Reinga via the West Coast
If you’re planning a trip to the top of New Zealand’s North Island – the scenic west coast is definitely the best way to go!
You’ll discover the region’s beautiful rural vistas, braided rivers, peaceful harbours, wild untamed beaches and sand dunes, and ancient Kauri forests – the scenery is constantly changing. During your Northland tour, you’ll experience the region’s rich history, with museums, crafts, and the rare ancient swamp Kauri timber and products.
Discover a bygone era of New Zealand’s history and experience it all as you travel north. Imagine the sailing ships plying the harbours to collect the timber worked from the hills and valleys. Explore the settlements that grew from where the Kauri gum was wrestled from the earth – all to provide the beginning of an industry for the region’s early settlers.
Over the years, a common comment from people who have travelled to Northland via the west coast has been – “I wish we had allowed more time.” So make sure you take time to stop and explore!
Your Northland tour – our recommended travelling route
As you head out of Auckland on Highway 16 through Kumeu, be sure to visit the Gannet colony on your way, stop in for a tasting at Matua Winery, or treat yourself to a dip in the hot pools at Parakai. You could also take a detour to the water towers at Helensville and see some panoramic views of the southern Kaipara Harbour.
Continue travelling north to Wellford where you’ll rejoin State Highway 1, travelling up to the Brynderwyns to State Highway 12.
Your next stop will be Matakohe – home to the world-renowned Kauri Museum. Here you’ll learn what the region was, and still is, about – great preparation for your trip further north. Be sure to take time to explore the surrounding areas, there’s plenty of scenic drives, bush reserves and walks. Matakohe is definitely worth a two night stop over, so be sure to book your Northland accommodation at Matakohe Holiday Park.
After your stay in Matakohe, continue north to Dargaville, where you’ll find another interesting museum and wood crafts. On route you’ll travel through lakes and forests – including Trounsen Forest with the Four Sisters, and the Waipoua National Forest with the famous Giant Kauri Trees. We recommend you spend the night here, or in Hokianga, so you can experience the thrill of a guided night tour to see New Zealand’s famous icon – the Kiwi.
Continue north to Hokianga Harbour which has a great viewing platform of the rolling sand dunes and sheltered harbour just as you arrive – a great photo opportunity. Local artists add to the character of Hokianga Harbour.
Take the ferry at Rawene, one of only a few, or take the long way past to see the awe-inspiring Wairere Boulders. You can also travel further north to Ahipara/Kaitaia at the bottom end of 90 Mile Beach.
To get to Cape Reinga from here, you can take a bus or self-drive. The bus trip takes a whole day, but the commentary and trip back down the beach is well worth it.
These are just a few suggestions for what you can do on your Northland tour – there are many other options for relaxing and fun activities to keep all the family occupied.
More info on Northland Area Information or: