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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 £3,345 pp incl. flights

A tip-to-toe tour of New Zealand, taking in the best of its landscapes and culture, and calling into filming locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Best of the North Island

17-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,945 pp incl. flights

Between stunning volcanic landscapes, sub-tropical beaches and world-class wineries, this fly-drive holiday showcases the best of New Zealand's North Island.

New Zealand by Motorhome

20-day motorhome self-drive from £3,515 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 £6,615 pp incl. flights

Discover the spectacular landscapes of New Zealand's north and south islands on this fly-drive holiday, which includes a journey across the Southern Alps aboard the iconic TranzAlpine Express.

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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.

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.

Eagles Nest, Bay of Islands

Contemporary hotel

‘World’s Leading Boutique Villa Resort’ three years running in the World Travel Awards and winner of the ‘World’s Best Luxury Coastal Hotel’ in the 2012 World Luxury Hotel Awards, this is the Bay of Islands at its most luxurious.

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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.

When to go to Northland & Bay of Islands

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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.

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