Mark Read

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.

Top attractions

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

Featured videos

Introducing New Zealand

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