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) here is a passport to popularity.

Beaches are the main drawcard and they’re here in profusion. Visitors from more crowded countries are sometimes 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 Māori and Europeans, Northland is unquestionably the birthplace of the nation.

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Bay of Islands & Northland.

Top experiences

Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Bay of Islands & Northland.

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