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Whangarei Falls, Northland, New Zealand

Northland

Visit Northland

Introduction

The giant kauri trees of Waipoua Forest and New Zealand's northernmost tip, Cape Reinga, are the main highlights of the staunchly Maori province of Northland.

Celebrated for its warm weather, beautiful coastline and ancient forests, Northland is also regarded as the ‘birthplace of a nation' - the place where Maori first set foot in New Zealand and also signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which ceded sovereignty to Britain.

The kauri trees of Northland's Waipoua Forest are an awesome sight and rank alongside the sequoias of California as some of the planet's largest trees. The Maori used Kauri wood to craft dugout canoes and the gum for moko (traditional tattoos), while the Europeans used kauris for sailing ships and as a polish for furniture and musical instruments. All of this significantly reduced the number of kauri trees, yet there remain some giants. Tane Mahuta is more than 50 metres tall, has a girth of almost 14 metres and is believed to be between 1,200 and 2,000 years old.

Another, Te Matua Ngahere, the ‘Father of the Forest', is not as tall but is even broader and older, maybe up to 3,000 years old.

Elsewhere are four kauris growing close together known as the Four Sisters, and other enormous kauris that can be seen from a series of forest tracks looked after by the Department of Conversation.

Another highlight of Northland is Cape Reinga, the ‘place of leaping' where spirits of the Maori dead are said to depart this world. It's thought that they get there via Ninety Mile Beach (actually more like 90 kilometres long), and travellers today can follow the same route, though in modern buses specifically designed to drive along the hard-packed sand at the edge of the surf.

The Maori also know the cape as Te Hika o te Ika (the ‘tail of the fish'), recalling the legend of Maui pulling up the North Island (the fish) from the sea while in his canoe (the South Island). Much of this sacred area is Maori owned and some parts are off-limits to travellers.

However there are some excellent coastal tracks operated by the Department of Conversation and fabulous sea views to be had, especially from the hill above the Cape Reinga lighthouse.

Top itineraries in Northland

New Zealand – A Mythical Journey

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,345 pp incl. flights

Free car hire

This country-spanning tour takes in the best New Zealand's North and South islands. And, between stays in the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Mt Cook and Queenstown, you'll call into some of the locations used in filming of The Lord of the Rings and, more recently, The Hobbit.

New Zealand by Motorhome

20-day motorhome self-drive

From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.

Wilderness Highlights of New Zealand

23-day tailor-made self-drive from £6,355 pp incl. flights

Free car hire

Discover the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Rotorua on the North Island and Kaikoura, Fox Glacier and Fiordland on the South Island at your own pace, with the chance to sample a full range of off-the-beaten track adventures and excursions.

New Zealand Getaway

19-day escorted tour from £4,095 pp incl. flights

This New Zealand Getaway, Travelmarvel by APT escorted tour offers great value and is ideal for those looking to see all the highlights of New Zealand in the company of others, with expert guides and a comfortable hotel at the end of your action-packed days.

See all itinerary ideas

Top places to stay in Northland

Waipoua Lodge, Waipoua Forest

Small & intimate lodge

Having accommodated guests since the early 1900s, this is a chance to stay in luxury while absorbing the pioneering history and pristine nature of this unique region.

Helena Bay Lodge, Helena Bay

Contemporary lodge

Stay in an individual suite looking out over the turquoise waters of the Pacific and the lodge’s private beaches.

See all places

Meet our Northland experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0614 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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