Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Auckland
- 1 night Ahipara
- 1 night Pahia
- 1 night Whangarei
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland
Arrive at any time today – once landed you can pick up your rental vehicle and head to your accommodation, with the rest of the day free to spend at your leisure.
Auckland’s blend of islands, Polynesian culture, glistening harbours and modern city environment creates an unbelievable lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world.
Day 2: Auckland to Ahipara
After breakfast, depart Auckland and make your way north via the Waipoua Forest and the Hokianga Harbour to Ahipara*. The town is located at the southern end of the stunning Ninety Mile Beach, an unspoilt sandy beach curving its way up the north-west coastline to Cape Reinga.
Popular activities in the area include sand dune boarding, kite flying, surfing, body boarding and of course, just relaxing and enjoying the spectacular sunset! If you like shellfish you can even learn the ‘Tuatua Twist’, which involved standing in the water at low tide and twisting your feet until you feel the hard egdes of tuatua – these shellfish are delicious steamed open or made into fritters!
Day 3: Ahipara to Paihia
Head through Kerikeri to Paihia, where you can stop to buy local fruits and enjoy the creative vibe in a town habited by artists and potters – there are galleries and cafes to explore and Rainbow Falls offer a beautiful picnic spot!
Paihia is an ideal base to explore the Bay of Islands; catch a ferry to Russell and visit the historic Treaty House, which marked the beginning of New Zealand as a nation, or wander through a mangrove forest to horseshoe-shaped Haruru Falls.
Day 4: Bay of Islands to Whangarei
Before leaving Paihia 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.