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Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Northland & Bay of Islands

Visiting Northland & Bay of Islands


The waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet at Cape Reinga, mainland New Zealand's northernmost point.

This also marks the tip of Northland, a staunchly Maori province sometimes referred to as the ‘winterless north', thanks to the warm weather that make its upper reaches so popular with travellers.

Alongside its appealing climate, Northland is also known as the ‘birthplace of a nation'; it was here that the Maori first set foot in New Zealand and that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, when the country's sovereignty was ceded to Britain.

In many ways the region's story is one of two halves, or rather of two coastlines. The majority of visitors make for the east coast, with its calm, safe bays and historic townships like Paihia and Russell in the scenic Bay of Islands - where golf, swimming, sailing, diving and dolphin encounters can be organised.

The long, straight west coast is much wilder, sporting vast empty beaches pounded by Tasman breakers. It's here that the Waipoua Forest shelters some of the country's last and mightiest kauri trees. One of these is known as Tane Mahuta, the ‘Lord of the Forest', an ancient specimen whose presence makes the human history of Northland seem like current affairs.

Top itineraries in Northland & Bay of Islands

Cultural Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,460 pp incl. flights

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.

Best of the North Island

17-day tailor-made self-drive from £4,200 pp incl. flights

Designed to showcase the best of New Zealand's North Island, this self-drive brings begins with Auckland and the Bay of Islands before dipping south past Coromandel's golden beaches and volcanic Rotorua. Then, via lakeside Taupo and the vineyards of Hawke's Bay, you'll end with a stay in Wellington.

New Zealand by Motorhome

20-day motorhome self-drive from £3,900 pp incl. flights

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 £6,460 pp incl. flights

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.

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Top places to stay in Northland & Bay of Islands

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay

Designer lodge

Set amid 6,000 acres of pristine coastal landscape near Matauri Bay in New Zealand's beautiful Bay of Islands around 160 miles north of Auckland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs enjoys a location unlike any other.

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.

Tiki Tiki Ora, Bay of Islands

Small & intimate b&b

This family owned hideaway features stunning views out towards the Bay of Islands and plenty of individual touches throughout.

The Sanctuary @ Bay of Islands

Traditional lodge

Whether it’s the innovative design, picturesque nature reserve setting or indulgent dining options, this is eco-friendly style at its best.

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Where to go in Northland & Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

The sun-filled Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand's top tourist draws, an area of beautiful sandy beaches and calm waters ideal for sailing and swimming.


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.

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When to go to Northland & Bay of Islands

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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.

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