Introducing Bay of Islands & Northland
For many New Zealanders, the phrase ‘up north’ conjures up sepia-toned images of family fun in the sun, pohutukawa in bloom and dolphins frolicking in pretty bays. From school playgrounds to work cafeterias, owning a bach (holiday house) ‘up north’ is a passport to popularity.
Beaches are the main drawcard and they’re here in profusion. Visitors from more crowded countries are flummoxed to wander onto beaches without a scrap of development or another human being in sight. The west coast shelters the most spectacular remnants of the ancient kauri forests that once blanketed the top of the country; the remaining giant trees are an awe-inspiring sight and one of the nation’s treasures.
It’s not just natural attractions that are on offer: history hangs heavily here. The site of the earliest settlements of both Maori and Europeans, Northland is unquestionably the birthplace of the nation.
Need to know
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands ranks as one of NZ’s top tourist drawcards, and the turquoise waters of the bay are punctuated by around 150 undeveloped islands. In particular, Paihia has excellent budget accommodation, and boat trips and watersports are very popular. The Bay of Islands is also a place of enormous historical significance.