Welcome to Northland, New Zealand’s northernmost region, where breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and idyllic coastal towns await you. Embark on an unforgettable 2-week campervan journey as we take you on a thrilling ride from Auckland to Matakana, Goat Island, Ruakaka, Russell, Mangonui, Cape Reinga, Hokianga Harbour, Waipoua Kauri Forest, Kai Iwi Lakes, Baylys Beach, Muriwai, and back to Auckland. Get ready to be immersed in the natural wonders and charm of this diverse region.
Day 1: Auckland & Muriwai's Black Sand Beauty
Arrive in Auckland, pick up your campervan, and explore the vibrant city. Visit the iconic Sky Tower for panoramic views and indulge in delicious cuisine at local eateries.
Before begin your journey up North, consider heading west and explore Muriwai Beach, famous for its black sand and remarkable gannet colony. Take a hike along the cliff-top trails for sweeping views of the ocean and the gannets’ nesting site and stay at the Muriwai Beach Campground.
Day 2: Muriwai to Matakana
Your Northland adventure begins with an easy drive from Muriwai to the picturesque Matakana region. Enjoy the scenic views as you head north, passing rolling hills and charming farmlands. In Matakana, indulge in delightful wine tasting at local vineyards, visit the vibrant Matakana Farmers’ Market, and relax in the serenity of the region’s natural beauty.
Day 3: Snorkeling in Goat Island
As you continue your journey north, make a stop at Goat Island Marine Reserve, New Zealand’s first marine reserve. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and snorkel among a variety of colorful marine life. The reserve is a snorkeler’s paradise, offering an up-close encounter with fascinating fish, stingrays, and even friendly snapper.
Day 4: Ruakaka and Beyond
Head to Ruakaka, known for its beautiful white sand beaches and tranquil surroundings. Take a refreshing dip in the clear waters or go for a leisurely beach walk. For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby Waipu Caves offers a chance to explore underground wonders, complete with glowworm displays.
Day 5: Exploring Russell
Cross over by ferry to the historic town of Russell, once the capital of New Zealand. Stroll along its charming streets, explore local heritage sites, and visit the Pompallier Mission, a fascinating printery and tannery. Relax on the serene beaches and indulge in delicious seafood at one of the town’s renowned eateries.
Day 6: Mangonui's Coastal Charm
Travel to the quaint fishing village of Mangonui, known for its delicious fish and chips. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, visit the historic Mangonui Heritage Trail, and take a walk along the scenic Coopers Beach.
Day 7 & 8: Cape Reinga and Te Paki Sand Dunes
Venture further north to Cape Reinga, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. Witness the mesmerizing lighthouse views and Maori cultural significance. Nearby, the Te Paki Sand Dunes offer thrilling sandboarding adventures for the adrenaline seekers.
Day 9: Hokianga Harbour's Tranquility
Head to Hokianga Harbour, a place of immense beauty and cultural heritage. Take a boat trip to view the giant sand dunes and learn about the area’s Maori legends. Enjoy the serene sunsets over the harbor, creating magical moments. If time allows, check out the hidden beauty at the Wairere Boulders on your way there (and make sure to try Paula’s brownies..yumm).
Day 10: Waipoua Kauri Forest
Delve into the ancient beauty of Waipoua Kauri Forest, home to Tane Mahuta, the largest Kauri tree in the world. Take a guided walk among these majestic giants and learn about their significance in Maori culture.
Day 11 & 12: Kai Iwi Lakes' Oasis
Relax and rejuvenate at the stunning Kai Iwi Lakes, a hidden oasis with clear blue waters. Spend the day swimming, kayaking, or simply basking in the sun on the sandy shores. Stay at the Kai Iwi Lakes Campground.
Day 13: Baylys Beach and West Coast Adventures
Head to Baylys Beach on the west coast, a perfect spot for beachcombing and enjoying the rugged coastal scenery. If you’re a thrill-seeker, consider booking a horse trek along the shoreline.
Day 14: Return to Auckland
This 14-day itinerary showcases the highlights of the northern North Island, allowing you to experience the region’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and thrilling activities. Feel free to adjust the itinerary based on your interests and add additional stops along the way. Enjoy the freedom of campervan travel and create unforgettable memories on your Northern North Island adventure!