Northland Highlights: Best Things to See and Do

Highlights of Northland, New Zealand - Things You Shouldn't Miss

Part of Northland's Stunning Coastline
Part of Northland's Stunning Coastline. Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

Northland, at the top of the North Island, is an area filled with great things to see and do. Due to the closeness to Auckland and the sub-tropical climate, it is becoming an increasingly popular part of New Zealand to visit. If you are planning a tour to the area here are some of the things that you should include on your tour.

Also, be sure to check out my Northland Region Guide.

Northland Towns and Cities

Whangarei: This is Northland's only city and is located halfway between Auckland and the Bay of Islands. It has a good selection of shops, restaurants and visitor attractions.
Mangawhai: A lovely resort town, one and a half hours north of Auckland. Great beaches, fishing, surfing and walking trails.
Kerikeri: The major town in the Bay of Islands, Kerikeri has great restaurants and some of New Zealand's most important historical sites.
See: Kerikeri's Best Restaurant
Mangonui: Mangonui is a small harbourside village north of the Bay of Islands famous for one thing: fish and chips. It's a kiwi institution that you should not miss.
See: About Mangonui and It's Famous Fish and Chips

Northland Beaches

The beaches in Northland and some of the finest in New Zealand. The many bays and inlets of the east coast contrast with the wild and rugged shoreline of the west coast.

Top Ten Best Beaches of the Far North of Northland
Nude Beaches of Northland
Ninety Mile Beach: Not quite ninety miles long, but this long stretch of sand is even an official New Zealand highway.

The Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is Northland's leading tourist attraction and one of New Zealand's most special places. Prepare to be stunned by the sheer beauty of the Bay, with its 144 islands, and the adventure hub towns of Paihia and Russell.

Northland Historic Places

Northland is the most historically significant region in New Zealand. It was here that the first Europeans settled, is the location of the country's first capital (Russell in the Bay of Islands) and is where New Zealand's most important historical document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed in 1840.
See: Northland's Historic Buildings

Matakohe Kauri Museum: This gives a fascinating insight into the early European settlement of Northland and how the development of the area was bound inextricably to the clearing of the vast kauri forests.

Northland Natural Sights and Attractions

Cape Reinga: The most northern tip of New Zealand, this is a place of great beauty as well as spiritual significance to the Maori people.
See: About Cape Reinga

Waipoua Forest: One of the few remaining forests in New Zealand with specimens of the huge native tree, the kauri.

Poor Knights Marine Reserve: This has been rated as one of the best dive spots in the world. The islands and surrounding reefs contain an abundance of unique marine life.

Northland Wine and Vineyards

Northland is only a small player in the New Zealand wine industry but it produces some interesting wines. Best wine producers include:
Marsden Estate, Kerikeri
Sailfish Cove, Tutukaka

Northland Dining and Restaurants

Northland is not renowned for its fine dining but some enjoyable places to eat do exist. The following will give you a sampling of where to find the best.

Whangarei Restaurant and Bar Guide
Whangarei Cafe Guide
Dining and Restaurants in the Far North of Northland
The Italians, Kerikeri: Quite possibly the best restaurant in the whole of Northland.
Herb Shack Vegetarian Restaurant, Kaitaia: A nice vegetarian and vegan cafe in the small town of Kaitaia in the Far North.