New Zealand Walks: Ten days of walks and hikes in North­land

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion

Here is the ul­ti­mate ten-day North­land, New Zealand itin­er­ary with a va­ri­ety of walks and hikes.

Plan­ning on vis­it­ing North­land? This ten-day road trip itin­er­ary will help you make the most of your visit to the beau­ti­ful north, and in­cludes some of the best walks and hikes New Zealand has to of­fer.

This itin­er­ary is just a guide fea­tur­ing some of our favourite spots in North­land. There are plenty of other places and ac­tiv­i­ties to in­clude in your own itin­er­ary.

Day 1: Man­gawhai

Drive from Auck­land to Man­gawhai One hour 27 min­utes Start your day in our largest city, Auck­land. Head north un­til you reach the charm­ing beach town of Man­gawhai.

Once there you can cool off in the waves or en­joy a peace­ful swim in the har­bour. If you love fish­ing, the beach is a great place to surf cast. Man­gawhai is also home to some our most en­dan­gered shore birds, such as fairy terns and dot­terels, so keep an eye out for them.

Ex­pe­ri­ence the rugged beauty of New Zealand’s coast along the nearby Man­gawhai Cliffs Walk­way. This walk pro­vides breath­tak­ing coastal views and is fringed with pōhutukawa and nikau palms that are of­ten vis­ited by ker­erū and kākā from the off­shore is­lands.

Day 2: Whangarei Heads

Drive from Man­gawhai to Whangarei Heads One hour 26 min­utes

En­joy beau­ti­ful beaches, an­cient vol­canic peaks and en­chant­ing na­tive for­est at Whangarei Heads. Your first stop is Ocean Beach, it’s a wind­ing road out there, but the views over­look­ing the Pa­cific Ocean make up for it.

If you’re feel­ing en­er­getic or ad­ven­tur­ous one of New Zealand’s best day hikes is nearby. Te Whara Track is a five to six hour walk through coastal for­est to a spec­tac­u­lar 360° panorama. If you pre­fer a shorter walk try the Mount Manaia Track. While it’s a bit of a climb, the views are epic and the walk should only take be­tween two to three hours.

The Whangarei Heads com­mu­nity have been working hard to pro­tect their lo­cal kiwi pop­u­la­tion, so keep an ear out at dusk and you may be able to hear the call of our na­tional icon!

Day 3: Tu­tukaka/Poor Knights Is­lands

Drive from Whangarei Heads to Tu­tukaka 52 min­utes It’s only a short drive to Tu­takaka, which is great be­cause it means more time out on the wa­ter. Head out on a boat to the stun­ning Poor Knights Is­lands Ma­rine Re­serve. Jac­ques Cousteau rated the area as one of the top ten dives in the world!

Un­der­wa­ter caves, arches, tun­nels and sheer cliffs pro­vide the per­fect habi­tat for a va­ri­ety of ma­rine species. The clear deep wa­ters al­low you to see plenty of fish and coral species while com­mon and bot­tlenose dol­phins also visit the area.

Day 4: Wai­tangi

Drive from Tu­tukaka to Wai­tangi One hour 23 min­utes Visit New Zealand’s most im­por­tant his­toric site, The Wai­tangi Treaty Grounds. This is where New Zealand’s found­ing doc­u­ment, the Treaty of Wai­tangi, was signed in 1840.

En­joy soak­ing in the his­tory while strolling through one of North­land’s pret­ti­est spots and en­joy­ing the panoramic views out to the Bay of Is­lands.

Day 5: Kerik­eri

Drive from Wai­tangi to Kerik­eri 23 min­utes In Kerik­eri you can learn more about our his­tory, browse art gal­leries and en­joy fresh lo­cal pro­duce. This town is full of char­ac­ter, charm and flavour.

You can ex­plore both Māori and Euro­pean his­tory at Koror­ipo Her­itage Park. Here you can visit New Zealand’s old­est stone build­ing, the Stone Store, and walk in the foot­steps of chief Hongi Hika and early mis­sion­ar­ies to Koror­ipo Pā. This is where Māori and early Euro­peans came to trade, talk and learn.

If you time it for the week­end make sure you check out Kerik­eri’s fa­mous week­end gar­den mar­kets.

Day 6: Matauri Bay

Drive from Kerik­eri to Matauri Bay 30 min­utes Matauri Bay is a pic­turesque beach set­tle­ment north of the Bay of Is­lands. Home to beau­ti­ful blue wa­ters, soft golden sand, sun­shine, ex­cel­lent div­ing and su­perb surf­ing. It’s our very own trop­i­cal get­away!

Matauri Bay is also home to the re­mains of the Rain­bow War­rior, the Green­peace ves­sel sunk in 1985 in the wake of anti-nu­clear protests. En­joy the short walk to the memo­rial on the cliffs above Matauri Bay which looks to­wards the fi­nal rest­ing spot of the ship.

Day 7: Cape Reinga

Drive from Matauri Bay to Cape Reinga Two hours 30 min­utes

See the Tas­man Sea col­lide with the Pa­cific Ocean at Cape Reinga and dis­cover the place where Maori spir­its be­gin their fi­nal jour­ney to their an­ces­tral home­land, Hawaiki.

Cape Reinga’s light­house and in­ter­na­tional sign­post are iconic – make sure you take your camera. There is also plenty of other sites to visit in­clud­ing the fa­mous 90 Mile Beach and the mas­sive sand dunes at Te Paki Re­serve.

Spend the night at Tapo­tupotu Campsite, New Zealand’s most north­ern campsite sur­rounded by lush for­est and a la­goon that’s per­fect for swim­ming and kayak­ing.

Op­po­site page sec­ond from top: Fairy tern/tara-iti. Third from top: On the Mana­gawhai Cliffs Wal­lk­way. Bot­tom: Great views over­look­ing the Pa­cific Ocean. Above top: Mt Manaia. Sec­ond from top: The un­der­wa­ter world in Poor Knights Is­land Ma­rine Re­serve....

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