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90 Mile Beach & Cape Reinga, New Zealand @Audley Travel 10 days 9 nights

Twin Coast Discovery Road Trip
gardens, parks and natural places

JOURNEY OUTLINE
TRIP PROFILE
Duration: 10 days, 9 nights
Start: Auckland
Finish: Auckland
Best time to visit: December to April.

Winter, a number of attractions are closed.

Weather: Sub-tropical Northland temperatures range from 20c to low 30c.

Occasional rain showers.

ROUTE MAP
PROPOSED ITINERARY
About Trip
Twin Coast Discovery Road Trip
Northland & Bay of Islands

A Northland journey from east to west from the iconic Waitanga to the lesser known charms of the Hokianga harbour. A trip through New Zealand heritage, among the lush subtropical far north.

Kauri Tree

Day One
89 km driving
Whangarei Falls, Kiripaka, Woolleys Bay, Ngunguru, Frying Pan Lookout, Tutukaka, Whananaki North

From east to west coast the journey is about exploring Northland, both the well known tourist attractions such as Kerikeri, Waitangi and Russell as well as the east coast Hokianga harbour and lesser known areas such as Rawene. The journey was in a motorhome.The advantage is the home on wheels with the option of fresh vegetables for dinner from the local store being prepared in your dinky kitchen on board.

Tutukaka lookout

Stay

Whananaki Holiday Park @Nitish Pandya

You are camping in the remote Otamure Bay, a remote coastal paradise on the Tutukaka Coast. Whananaki Holiday Park – Northland Accommodation. Whananaki North. In the peak season (December to March) it is recommended accommodation is booked before your journey starts. Whananaki North is the first night as the longest footbridge at Whananaki North required an early morning investigation. The motor camp is pet friendly and we need to check out New Zealand’s longest footbridge. The camping grounds were undergoing a major renovation hopefully to improve the bathroom facilities. The management is hospitable and the location is superb with direct access to the famed wooden footbridge, beach and the lone beach general store.

Day Two
Whananaki North
To Oakura then Pahia

Whananaki South is only accessible over the pedestrian footbridge from Whanankai North. The only primary school in the district is located in Whananaki North. As children had to row across the sometimes dangerous tides of Otamure Bay a footbridge was built. The wooden footbridge is the longest in the Southern hemisphere. Next your journey takes you through Hikurangi, once a major coal mining town, from there to the abandoned remains of one of New Zealand’s largest whaling stations, finishing the day in Pahia. And a highlight is a stop at a great art gallery, perhaps some more objects for the home in the interests of encouraging local artists to keep on being artists.

Cape Brett walk regenerating bushWhananaki Rebecca’s daily jog

Stay

Paroa Bay Winery @ thelindisgroup

Your base for the next two nights options range from luxury, family friendly campgrounds or the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell.

Paroa Bay Winery – Luxury in the heart of Northland
Poroa Bay Winery specialises in organic and sustainable boutique wines. The winery offers luxury accommodation. Perched above a breath-taking bay is our premier luxury accommodation — ParoaBay Winery and Estate. Our property features three superb villas, a sprawling boutique vineyard, and our world-class Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Sage — ensuring every aspect of a luxurious experience is not only catered to but plentifully provided for. Paroa Bay Winery | Russell | Accommodation.

Day Three
Russell
Exploring

Today is dedicated to exploring Russell. There is no driving and you can spend the day on the waterfront people watching or take a half day Russell based cruise of the islands and bays of Northland. Simply walk to the end of the wharf to book a cruise.

Ferry to Russell

Day Four
Waitangi Treaty grounds
From Russell Ferry Terminal to Opua then onto Pahia and Waitangi

The day starts with a ferry crossing from Russell Ferry Terminal to Opua then onto Pahia and Waitangi. Waitangi Treaty grounds Waitangi: Home deserves half to a full day exploration. Depending on your interest you might consider extending your stay to include an in depth Waitangi exploration. The sweep of grass to the beach makes for a counterpoint to the heritage buildings, the museum complex and the surrounding native grass. Pahia is a vibrant tourist destination geared to support the mass tourism market with numerous motels, hotels and other accommodation providers. The visitor information centre is a great place to check up and visit festivals and events. The passenger ferry to Russell is adjacent to the Pahia visitor centre.

@Waitangi Treaty Ground

Stay

@waitangiholidaypark

Pahia, Hotel | Beach Houses | Waitangi Accommodation. The campgrounds and caravan park is conveniently located with a short flat walk along the Te Ti Bay shoreline to Paihia town and is central to all tourist attractions. Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Tii Beach and a boat ramp are adjacent to the Park. The campsite is large and flat, located on the banks of the Waitangi River and perfect for pitching a tent for a spot of camping or for those with a motorhome there are powered sites. Pets are allowed however notice must be given on booking accommodation. The supermarket is 1 km from camping grounds.

Day Five
Pahia to Kerikeri
24 km, 25 minutes

A full day exploration of heritage Kerikeri, New Zealand. Kerikeri is the largest town in the district supporting a well established citrus orchard economy, dairy production as well as a vibrant town for arts and crafts. Due to the subtropical climate Kerikeri is home to wineries specialising in warm climates, of course has the requisite chocolate factory and cafes. The Makana Chocolate Factory is a favoured place for gifts and winery visits should include Marsden Estate, Ake Ake Vineyard, Cottle Hill Winery and Fat Pig vineyard. Kerikeri has a domestic only airport.

Haruru Waterfall in New Zealand

Day Six
Paihia to Ngawha Hot Springs
Te Waimate Mission House, Mangonui Fish n Chips, Totara North, Ahipar

Today starts with a detour to explore perhaps the most interesting heritage Mission House, Te Waimate from there its all about relaxation. Spend time soaking in hot pools that date back hundreds of years. Then it’s off to view a collapsing, abandoned boat yard building, once the largest ship building enterprise in New Zealand and just down the road a quirky private museum. By now you have worked up an appetite for fish n chips in Mangonui. There is time to browse the local art gallery and explore Mangonui. The day finishes in Ahipara.

Ngawha Hot Springs wall art

Stay

Ahipara @NZPlaces

Ahipara holiday park is an excellent location for beach access, perhaps for golf fans to check out the adjoining golf links or plan for your Ninety Mile Beach excursion. It is recommended visitors join one of the many tour operators escorting visitors to explore Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga. For visitors planning a trip to Cape Reinga allow two nights in Ahipara.

Day Seven
Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga
A full day excursion

Ninety mile beach to Cape Reinga is where land meets sky and sea. You are aware of the immense ocean and the spit of land you are standing on. The beach is sand, driftwood and grasses forming a path to steer you to Cape Reinga. Your motorhome and/or vehicle is likely not able to traverse the sand. If you want to experience a drive along the beach join a tour. The holiday camp has brochures and is a pick up point for daily Cape Reinga tours. For the peak summer season forward bookings are strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

Cape Reinga @Dolphin cruises

Day Eight
Ahipara to Kohukohu
To Rawene to Koutou boulders to Opononi

You will be travelling from the popular tourist destinations of Waitangi, Pahia and Kerikeri to the less travelled Hokianga. The area is one of the poorer areas of New Zealand with relatively high unemployment. Unspoiled coastline, a warm welcome from the locals and an area of immense significance as the first area for human occupation in Aoteoroa New Zealand approximately 900 years ago. You will travel through sub-tropical rural communities and sleepy hamlets arriving in Opononi late afternoon.

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

Stay

@millenniumhotels

SUPERIOR OPTION
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga | 4-Star Hotel Hokianga By the quiet water’s edge of the harbour, the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga, and its 33 rooms and suites have beachfront views.

BUDGET OPTION
Rawene Accommodation at Rawene Holiday Park, Hokianga Harbour. Rawene Holiday Park is situated on a hilltop, sheltered by native bush with views over the Hokianga Harbour and impressive sunsets. Rawene Holiday Park offers a wide range of accommodation options.

Day Nine
Hokianga
A guided tour

A guided tour with Awesome Adventures Hokianga: Adventure Tourism New Zealand will provide an exhilitering start to the day as you will explore the harbour on jet skis. Either join a standard tour or arrange a private tour with owner operator Len and discover Len’s ancestral home. The three and half hour jet ski tour goes to Horeke, views Koutu Boulders, Mangungu Mission House with a final stop at the Boat Shed Cafe, Rawene. Longer tours can be arranged on request.

Beautiful nature of Northland, Mangrove trees

Day Ten
Opononi to Waipoua Kauri Forest
Trounson Kauri Park, Dargaville Kauri Museum and Auckland

The forest giants are on view today. DOC describes,” Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland. Most of Northland’s ancient forest cover has been lost to saw and fire, plundered for the precious timber of the kauri tree or cleared for farmland. However the forests are now under the protection of the Department of Conservation.

Trounson Kauri Park @Auckland i-SITE

Travel Pack Information

NZtravel dog in Kerikeri

  • NZ geographic ARTICLE Matapouri Estuary describes the reserve in detail. Remember a subscription to NZ Geographic supports all those lovely articles and fabulous photographs.
  • Northland map with driving times PDF
  • Northland heritage sites
  • Whangarei city walks
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