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New Zealand

Bay of Islands & Northland Holidays

Things to do

NORTHLAND? NO WORRIES.

The far reaches of New Zealand’s North Island blend history, culture and sublime scenery. Stretching upwards from Auckland, this region’s profusion of white-sand beaches, outdoor activities and a subtropical climate help make it a classic summer holiday destination – and one which proves continuously popular with locals and tourists alike. So, if you fancy a bit of fun in the sun on the other side of the world, you could do far worse than a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday.

Located on the east coast, the Bay of Islands is one of the most picturesque places in all of New Zealand. Mile upon mile of rocky coastline – on both the mainland and the bay’s 144 islands – allows for loads of scenic strolling, while the secluded sandy coves were made for lazy afternoons. But this area’s primary appeal is the sparkling water that surrounds it. An idyllic aquatic playground, here you can enjoy boat trips, sea kayaking, diving, big-game fishing – or take a catamaran out to the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ on Motukokako Island. Enjoy a picnic once you get there, and on the way keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins and other exciting marine life.

Northland’s west coast, also known as the Kauri Coast, is somewhat more rugged than the east. As well as its dramatic sand dunes, it’s famed for its Waipoua Forest – the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland. An ancient world of towering trees, it’s home to many rare birds and also the country’s largest kauri tree.

Besides countless natural attractions, there’s also loads of culture to discover on a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday. The Bay of Islands was the first area in New Zealand to be settled by Europeans, so towns like Paihia and Russell are steeped in history, while the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are where the first accord between the British Crown and the Maori people was signed. And if you’re keen to learn more about Maori culture, you should check out Cape Reinga. A spot where two oceans collide, it’s believed that this is the point from which deceased Maori begin their journey to the afterlife.

Things to do

Cape Reinga

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Best time to go

Things to do in the Bay of Islands

New Zealand as a whole is a pretty outdoorsy place, and this region’s no exception. On a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday you can expect to spend most of your time out and about, discovering beautiful landscapes, like sandy shores and subtropical rainforests.

If it’s a beach break you’re after, the Bay of Islands is one of the top spots in the country. A three-hour drive north of Auckland, this area encompasses 144 largely undeveloped islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula. While there are loads of walking tracks to tackle and various historic towns to explore, much of the action here’s out on the water. Yachting, fishing and kayaking are all on offer – and chances are you’ll encounter some of the local wildlife, which includes dolphins, whales and seals, as well as a vast array of birds and fish.

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While diving and snorkelling are also possible in the Bay of Islands, the best spot for these activities on a Northland holiday is Poor Knights Islands, off the Tutukaka Coast. Two decommissioned navy ships, plus drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels, help to make it one of the top underwater playgrounds in the world.

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Cape Reinga

A windswept headland where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, Cape Reinga is the northernmost accessible point in New Zealand. Located more that 100 kilometres from the nearest small town, Kaitaia, it’s got a real ‘end of the world’ feel about it. So, if you’re looking for solitude during your Northland holiday, this is the place to find it. You can take a stroll out to the iconic lighthouse or walk part of the stunning Te Paki Coastal Track, descending past steep cliffs to the sweeping Te Werahi Beach. Many organised trips to Cape Reinga will also take in the popular 90 Mile Beach. Actually only 55 miles long, this strip of sand is lined with high dunes and flanked by the Aupouri Forest.

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For the Maori, Cape Reinga’s one of the most sacred sites in all of Aotearoa. According to oral history, spirits of the dead leap from the gnarled 800-year-old pohutukawa tree, which stands at the very tip of the cape, and begin their journey back to their ancestral homeland.

Show More
Show Less

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

For history buffs on a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are an absolute must. Occupying a beautiful coastal spot, just outside Paihia, this is one of the country’s most important historic sites. The Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand was signed here on 28th October 1835 and then four and a half years later, on 6th February 1840, it was where the first 43 Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi – New Zealand’s founding document.

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Besides the Treaty House – which once served as the home of the official British Resident, James Busby – there are two interactive museums to explore. There’s also a beautifully carved Meeting House, designed in traditional Maori style, where you can enjoy a cultural performance, and a ceremonial war canoe which was built in 1940 to mark the centenary of the Treaty. It’s launched every year as part of the annual Waitangi Day celebrations.

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Show Less

Best time to visit the Bay of Islands

Thanks to its northern location, low elevation and close proximity to the sea, Northland enjoys a mild, humid and somewhat windy climate. The summer months typically see blue skies and sunny weather, with January and February being the hottest months of the year. Daytime temperatures at this time are usually in the mid to high-twenties, although it has been known to get over 30°C on occasion. So if you’re keen to spend lots of time at the beach, or out on the water, this is a particularly great time for a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday.

Show More
Show Less

Winter is somewhat cooler, although never freezing cold. Highs from June to August are in the mid to high-teens, with lows hovering around 7°C. While frosts are rare, rain is plentiful – but that’s what keeps the vegetation here so lush. Spring and autumn both see highs of around 20°C and lows of about 10°C. And while spring, like winter, can be somewhat rainy, it does bring with it an abundance of colourful flowers.

Show More
Show Less

Things to do

Things to do in the Bay of Islands

New Zealand as a whole is a pretty outdoorsy place, and this region’s no exception. On a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday you can expect to spend most of your time out and about, discovering beautiful landscapes, like sandy shores and subtropical rainforests.

If it’s a beach break you’re after, the Bay of Islands is one of the top spots in the country. A three-hour drive north of Auckland, this area encompasses 144 largely undeveloped islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula. While there are loads of walking tracks to tackle and various historic towns to explore, much of the action here’s out on the water. Yachting, fishing and kayaking are all on offer – and chances are you’ll encounter some of the local wildlife, which includes dolphins, whales and seals, as well as a vast array of birds and fish.

Show More
Show Less

While diving and snorkelling are also possible in the Bay of Islands, the best spot for these activities on a Northland holiday is Poor Knights Islands, off the Tutukaka Coast. Two decommissioned navy ships, plus drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels, help to make it one of the top underwater playgrounds in the world.

Show More
Show Less

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

A windswept headland where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, Cape Reinga is the northernmost accessible point in New Zealand. Located more that 100 kilometres from the nearest small town, Kaitaia, it’s got a real ‘end of the world’ feel about it. So, if you’re looking for solitude during your Northland holiday, this is the place to find it. You can take a stroll out to the iconic lighthouse or walk part of the stunning Te Paki Coastal Track, descending past steep cliffs to the sweeping Te Werahi Beach. Many organised trips to Cape Reinga will also take in the popular 90 Mile Beach. Actually only 55 miles long, this strip of sand is lined with high dunes and flanked by the Aupouri Forest.

Show More
Show Less

For the Maori, Cape Reinga’s one of the most sacred sites in all of Aotearoa. According to oral history, spirits of the dead leap from the gnarled 800-year-old pohutukawa tree, which stands at the very tip of the cape, and begin their journey back to their ancestral homeland.

Show More
Show Less

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

For history buffs on a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are an absolute must. Occupying a beautiful coastal spot, just outside Paihia, this is one of the country’s most important historic sites. The Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand was signed here on 28th October 1835 and then four and a half years later, on 6th February 1840, it was where the first 43 Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi – New Zealand’s founding document.

Show More
Show Less

Besides the Treaty House – which once served as the home of the official British Resident, James Busby – there are two interactive museums to explore. There’s also a beautifully carved Meeting House, designed in traditional Maori style, where you can enjoy a cultural performance, and a ceremonial war canoe which was built in 1940 to mark the centenary of the Treaty. It’s launched every year as part of the annual Waitangi Day celebrations.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit the Bay of Islands

Thanks to its northern location, low elevation and close proximity to the sea, Northland enjoys a mild, humid and somewhat windy climate. The summer months typically see blue skies and sunny weather, with January and February being the hottest months of the year. Daytime temperatures at this time are usually in the mid to high-twenties, although it has been known to get over 30°C on occasion. So if you’re keen to spend lots of time at the beach, or out on the water, this is a particularly great time for a Bay of Islands and Northland holiday.

Show More
Show Less

Winter is somewhat cooler, although never freezing cold. Highs from June to August are in the mid to high-teens, with lows hovering around 7°C. While frosts are rare, rain is plentiful – but that’s what keeps the vegetation here so lush. Spring and autumn both see highs of around 20°C and lows of about 10°C. And while spring, like winter, can be somewhat rainy, it does bring with it an abundance of colourful flowers.

Show More
Show Less

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Itineraries

How to do the Bay of Islands & Northland

Whether you want to spend all your time in the Bay of Islands or you wish to explore the North Island, our experts can put together an itinerary just for you.

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Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

Trust

Travelbag is fully protected by ATOL and ABTA, so your booking is completely secure.

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