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Responsible travel: Auckland – Upper North Island road trip

Embark on a journey with a difference. Discover the joy of sharing time caring about the environment and meeting the unique wildlife of Aotearoa New Zealand. Responsible travel is a heartbeat away; it’s your choice, your journey.

Diverse offerings from a chance to slowly stroke ancient timber to encounters with dolphins in the Bay of Islands. Discover traditional Maori herbal practices and find out how the Bay of Islands is integral to the story of modern Aotearoa New Zealand.

Conservation, places to go and things to do

Duration: 6 days
Start Auckland
Finish Auckland


Amazing Auckland, you’ve arrived. Take in the sight of the harbour, the bobbing yachts and the urban spread with parks and reserves adding a splash of emerald green. Energerised to get out and about and stretch the legs? Check out recommended Walks either short strolls around the city exploring Auckland’s heritage past or a longer walk around Cornwall Park  to capture panoramic views of the city and beyond. Auckland is New Zealand on a plate.


Download a copy of Auckland attractions, travel guide for where to go and what to see in Auckland.

Wild West Coast, Auckland, New Zealand
Wild West Coast, Auckland


  • Auckland’s wild west coast encounter with driftwood strewn black iron sand beaches and a flourishing colony of seabirds, the gannets
  • Kauri made the ultimate forest sacrifice with a few patches of original forest remaining. The Kauri Museum tells the story of one of New Zealand’s original ‘loss’ tales. Of the wholesale felling of a forest giant, the economic needs of the 18th & 19th century and the status of the kauri today
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Stops & extensions


Matakohe is an ideal place to stay. Charming heritage homes converted in B&B and a holiday park for those who wish to pop up a tent.


The Old Post Office Guesthouse is an historic old building circa 1903. On entering, look down and you will be standing on kauri planks milled in the Kaipara. You will also notice the hollow in both the front doorways worn down by countless feet.  There are four guest suites.

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Concretions on Koutu Beach at Hokianga Harbour, Northland, in the North Island of New Zealand
Koutu Beach at Hokianga Harbour, Northland


On the road to the Hokianga to meet the ancient trees with a lifespan reaching back 2,500 years. A special moment is twilight in the forest with the massive straight trucks gleaming in the fading light. Today is an in depth exploration of the remote Hokianga, the place of original landings for East Polynesians over 1000 years ago. There is a mangrove wetland boardwalk introducing you to the life of the Hokianga estuaries and a headland walk to obtain sweeping views of the massive sand dunes framing the harbour entrance.

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Stops & extensions




Surrounded by native bush the guest lodge is sophisticated and private. The location is superb. Waipoua Lodge offers luxury accommodation in an original kauri homestead with sweeping views of Waipoua forest, the sea and surrounding farmland. Waipoua Lodge is a bucket list destination with an extensive breakfast menu as part of the experience.


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DAY 3-4

Hokianga to Russell

Christ Church, Russell, New Zealand
Christ Church, Russell

Unpack, unwind in the unforgettable Bay of Islands. Unearth history exploring the Bay of Islands. The area, between Cape Brett and Purerua Peninsula witnessed the beginnings of modern Aotearoa, New Zealand. Holiday towns include Opua, Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri and Mangonui at the northern tip. The legal and cultural heart of the country is centred around Waitangi and its swath of grass dipping into the Bay of Islands inlets. Waitangi has a world class visitor experience introducing everyone to the narrative that is uniquely New Zealand.

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Bay of Islands

Duke of Marlborough, Russell, New Zealand
Duke of Marlborough, Russell

Luxury – a touch of history


Duke of Marlborough hotel nestled in the heart of Russell, situated on the beach front with grandstand views of the main street, the bustle and activity of a tourist town. , as the hotel states the premises have been Refreshing Rascals and Reprobates since 1827.  For history lovers this is a special treat to be accommodated in a hotel that has experienced New Zealand history. A highlight is afternoon tea, forward bookings are strongly encouraged to avoid disappointment.

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DAY 5-6
Mansion House, Kawau Island, Hauraki Gulf, North Island New Zealand
Mansion House, Kawau Island, Hauraki Gulf

Return to Auckland and join the volunteer team on the Hauraki Gulf Island of your choice.

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