Northland is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Kiwis and international visitors alike. From the stunning coastlines to the warm and friendly welcome from the locals, Northland is simply a magical place. There’s plenty of exploring to be had and activities to keep you busy and we thought we’d share our 9 favourite things to do in Northland, just to start you off!

1. Whangarei Falls

We begin in Whangarei, the largest city in Northland and a place thriving with activity. One of their most iconic attractions is Whangarei Falls, a majestic waterfall just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of town. The waterfalls themselves are 26 metres high and can be viewed from the numerous viewing platforms that surround it. It sits in well-maintained grounds and there’s also a very pleasant 30-minute loop track to follow as well.

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2. Whangarei Heads

Not far from the Whangarei Falls you’ll also find one of the most spectacular pieces of natural scenery on our East Coast. We’re of course talking about the Whangarei Heads, a spectacular area of untamed wilderness with dense bush, towering peaks and views over the sea. There are a number of walks you can do here with some of the most popular in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve. The Te Whare Track is the most challenging and follows an ancient Maori trail but the views and the historical WWII radar station you get to see make it all worthwhile.


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3. Poor Knights Island

If you’re a keen diver and want to experience one of the best diving spots in the world then you’ll be able to do so here. Poor Knights Island is an amazing area of spectacular marine wildlife. They received international acclaim when Jacques Cousteau named them one of the Top 10 diving spots in the world. With over 125 species calling it home, it’s not hard to see why. There are a number of operators who can get you there, most of which leave from the Tutukaka Harbour.


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4. Waipoua Forest

Heading inland, one of the most popular places to visit in Northland is the Waipoua Forest. About an hour’s drive north of Dargaville, Waipoua Forest is home to some of the most ancient and magnificent Kauri forests in the country. Kauri can reach heights of 50 metres with a girth of 16 metres. Everyone who sets eyes on them immediately finds themselves transfixed in a state of awe. The most prominent of the trees are named Tane Mahuta, Te Matua Ngahere, Four Sisters, and the Yakas Tree. There are a number of trails you can follow to see them and good operators (like Footprints Waipoua) for tours as well.


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5. Hole in the Rock

One of the most picturesque places to visit in Northland is the Bay of Islands, home to a total of 144 islands that draw visitors from far and wide. There’s much to do in the area and since we’ve only got a few spots left on the list we decided to dedicate one to the Hole in the Rock experience. The Hole in the Rock is a unique attraction that describes itself well. It’s a hole in Motukokako Island that skilled operators with boats will take you through. It’s quite a thrilling experience, especially if you do it via the fast boat with Ocean Adventure! If you’re lucky you’ll also see some dolphins and other marine life along the way too.


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6. Parasailing in the Bay of Islands

We’ve already mentioned how beautiful the Bay of Islands is and one of the best ways to appreciate them is by parasail! For those who don’t know, a parasail is an activity where you are harnessed to a parasail (similar to a parachute) while a high-speed boat tows you along lifting you into the air. The good people at Parasail Bay of Islands have one that takes you to a height of 1,300 ft! You literally can’t get a better seat in the house than that and is certainly an experience that will leave you breathless in more ways than one!

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7. Waitangi Treaty Grounds

The Northland Region is one that is rich with history and gives you the chance to get an enriched understanding of our country. The most prominent historical site here has to be the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the place where the founding document of our country, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed. The award-winning grounds have been wonderfully preserved and it genuinely feels like a step back in time with every visit. They have a museum, tours and amazing Maori cultural performances to witness as well.


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8. Sand Dunes of 90 Mile Beach

We’ve already covered an array of different natural highlights including coastal walks, ancient forests and islands with holes but it doesn’t end there. The Sand Dunes of 90 Mile Beach are another addition to this list of must-see attractions. 90 Mile Beach (which is actually around 88km long) is a sight to behold in itself with its neverending shoreline. The sand dunes, known as the Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes take visits to another level. With some as high as 100 metres, a great thing to do is bring a body board for some sandboarding down the slopes. It’s definitely as fun as it sounds.


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9. Cape Reinga

Our final favourite thing to do in Northland sits at the very top of the region, which is at the same time, is the top of the country. Cape Reinga is the northernmost publicly accessible place in New Zealand and is a wonderful spot to get to. From its iconic lighthouse (easily the most famous in the country) to the views of two oceans colliding (the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea) it presents a breathtaking scene from start to finish. You can drive there very easily (hopefully in your GO Rentals car) but there are otherwise tours you can join as well. Whichever way you go, it’s definitely a visit you won’t regret.

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Some awesome things to do in Northland!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our recommendations for Northland which really does spoil you for choice. Many of the providers mentioned above a GO Play partners so be sure to have your GO Play card on you to enjoy some discounts. Other than that all you have to do is start planning your adventures and get ready to explore one of the most exciting regions in New Zealand!

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