Mountains

NZ Bush Tip No. 3

Have a relaxed start to your Tongariro crossing to avoid 90% of the people who set off early!

 
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Bay of Islands/Northland

The subtropical North is often a surprise to the NZ visitor. Its all year round balmy climate is conducive to long warm days and nights exploring the endless unspoilt coastline, lush tropical vegetation, giant kauri trees and paradise-like islands. The experience promises to be unique. An aquatic playground for adventure activities or complete escapist relaxation with incredible big game fishing spots. Or simply laze on a sandy beach under the iconic pohutukawa tree.

Northland is the Birthplace of a Nation, from the arrival of the first canoes on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour, to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands.

Northland's history is rich and interesting. It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in Northland during the 11th century. Waitangi is the seat of Maori culture, which is very much alive in this region (32 percent of the population are Maori). European settlement began in the 1840s; further enriching the region's colourful past.

Must experience:

  • Tropical vegetation and giant kauri trees
  • Cruise, kayak or sail the many uninhabited islands
  • Try your hand at big game fishing
  • Go wreck diving, sail or swim with dolphins and relax on a beautiful white sand beach
  • 4WD the length of 90 mile beach
  • View the unique fluted rocks at Wairere Boulders. Scenery that cannot be viewed anywhere else on the planet.

Facts at a glance

  • Waitangi is where NZ's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed
  • The bay has many interesting historic towns including Kerikeri and Paihia. Russell, formerly known as Kororareka, was the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand, and dates from the early 1840s.
  • Ancestors of the kauri tree first appeared in the Jurassic Period 190-135 million years ago. Kauris can live up to 500 yrs old.
  • Today, many iwi (Maori tribes) trace their ancestry back to the legendary explorer Kupe who, with his crew, voyaged deep into the Southern Ocean. Northland iwi claim the first landfall of Kupe's waka ‘Matawhourua’ was on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour. And so it is believed that Northland gave birth to what is today New Zealand.

Accommodation

The welcoming entrance to the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
The welcoming entrance to the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

The rooms at Kauri Cliffs are enormous and airy with huge fireplaces
The rooms at Kauri Cliffs are enormous and airy with huge fireplaces

Enjoy panoramic views over Mercury Bay and the night lights of Whitianga and Cooks Beach from Sanctuary Palms, which overlooks the town of Paihia
Enjoy panoramic views over Mercury Bay and the night lights of Whitianga and Cooks Beach from Sanctuary Palms, which overlooks the town of Paihia

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