Bay of Islands beaches
Giant Kauri trees
Tour both coastlines of New Zealand’s warmest region and discover picturesque beaches and marine adventures of every description.
Explore some of the many cycle trails and walking tracks and visit locations of local and cultural significance including Tane Mahuta - the famous Kauri Tree, 90 Mile Beach, and Waitangi - the ‘Birthplace of our Nation’.
Day 1: Auckland to Hokianga via Dargaville
Depart Auckland and start your adventure north towards Opononi. On the way explore antique and craft stores in Maungaturoto and Paparoa, or visit the Matakohe Kauri Museum.
Discover Waipoua Forest - home to the majestic Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest and largest Kauri tree in the world.
Continue on to the Hokianga Harbour, where Maori first arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Look out to the stunning sand dunes which after a short ferry ride you could be sandboarding down.
Ancient Kauri Trail Map available here.
Day 2: Hokianga to Kaitaia
Make your way through the fishing village of Rawene, visit the local art galleries and enjoy a coffee at the Boatshed Café before you board the car ferry to Kohukohu.
Journey through yesteryear taking in rural New Zealand country-side on your way north to Kaitaia, the main center for the 'subtropical' north
From here you can arrange a coach tour to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.
Or visit Shipwreck Bay, aptly named for its many shipwrecks some of which are still visible at low tide. It has also become a famous surfing destination with left-hand breaks and long rides.
Day 3: Kaitaia to Paihia via Doubtless Bay
Continue on to the stunning Doubtless Bay, where you can enjoy lunch at the Mangonui Fish Shop.
The road leading into Kerikeri is bordered by orchards, roadside stalls offer the chance to buy seasonal fruit. Look out for signs showing the way to artists’ studios, which give this district its creative personality.
In Kerikeri, you’ll find galleries, cafes, vineyards and fascinating historic sites such as the Stone Store and the Mission House. There are also superb bushwalks in the area – Rainbow Falls is a perfect picnic spot. Spend the evening at Paihia at the heart of the Bay of Islands.
Check out the Te Ara Coast to Coast Map for hidden gems between the Bay of Islands and Hokianga.
Day 4: Spend the day in Bay of Islands
The resort town of Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands.
Catch a cruise to the outer islands, go on a dolphin swimming safari, or take a ferry to the charming township of Russell.
The historic Treaty House at Waitangi marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation and is a great place to experience some Maori culture.
Day 5: Paihia to Whangarei
The Tutukaka Coast, near Whangarei, was named one of the top coastal destinations in the world by National Geographic Traveller.
Tutukaka is also the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands, a protected marine reserve known for the clarity of its water and abundant sea life. Jacques Cousteau called the Poor Knights Islands one of the top ten dive sites. Click here for a journey map for this area
Travel the Whangarei Heads scenic drive as it winds through pohutukawa fringed bays with stunning views to the wild and beautiful Ocean Beach. View the recommended journey map for this region.
Day 6: Whangarei to Auckland
Slowly make your way back to Auckland via the coastal road.
You will come across the beach after beach along with the Ruakaka, Waipu, Bream Bay and Mangawhai coastal environment.
At Matakana take a detour to check out the Saturday markets or stop for lunch a local winery.
Back in Auckland, finish your journey with a sunset kayak to Rangitoto or watch the city's glittering lights from the summit of Mount Eden.