Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Auckland
- 1 night Hokianga
- 1 night Russell
- 1 night Whangarei
Day 1: Arrive Auckland
On arrival into Auckland collect your rental vehicle and head to your accommodation to check in for a 1-night stay.
The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city.
Day 2: Auckland to Hokianga
After breakfast, depart Auckland and make your way north via the Waipoua Forest to the Hokianga Harbour. Located at the mouth of the harbour Omapere and its twin settlement Opononi offer steep farmland and bush whereas the northern shore has great drifts of golden sand dunes to explore.
Use the rest of the day to explore the area.
Day 3: Hokianga to Russell
After breakfast at the hotel, you will head north to Russell today. Travel via Ahipara, Cape Reinga and Doubtless Bay and make a full days adventure out of your journey, travelling back down the east coast to the historic town of Russell.
Russell was the country's first seaport, it's first European settlement and New Zealand's first capital. These days the town is a great place to base yourself to explore the Bay of Islands, with plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes Russell is a popular spot for visitors to the north of New Zealand.
Day 4: Russell to Whangarei
Before leaving Russell today you will join a ‘Hole in the Rock’ Dolphin cruise, pass Cape Brett Lighthouse spotting whales and dolphins as you go, before reaching the Hole in the Rock. Hold your breath as the skipper navigates the small space and you can admire the rock walls soaring above. On your way back stop at Urupukapuka Island before reaching the wharf at 1pm.
Head off this afternoon to Whangarei – make sure you stop at Kawakawa to view the remarkable public toilets by the late Austrian artist and architect (and resident) Frederick Hundertwasser.
Day 5: Whangarei to Auckland
Enjoy a wander quayside and explore the local farmers' markets before heading back towards Auckland via Goat Island Marine Reserve. Swim, snorkel, dive or even take a glass-bottomed boat to discover the abundant marine life just off the beach. Picnic at a beautiful spot at the end of the coastal walk before heading back to Auckland where your Northland adventure comes to a close and you drop your car hire off at the airport.