Bay of Islands and Northland   - a 7   day New Zealand Tour

Paihia, Russell, and the Bay of Islands, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, 90 Mile Beach and Cape Reinga, Mangonui, Hokianga Harbour, Waipoua Forest, Kaipara Harbour & more…​

Join us on our 7 day, 6 night adventure to the Bay of Islands and Northland, an interesting area full of history, culture and amazing scenery.

Enjoy some famous ‘Hinterland quality hospitality’ as we explore all the way to the top of New Zealand. With 3 nights in Paihia, 2 nights in Taipa and the final night in Omapere, we will be able to see all the sights as well as have plenty of time to relax.

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Bay Of Islands & Northland

DAY 1 - Travelling from Tauranga through the coastal Bay of Plenty, our first stop is at the world famous (in New Zealand) L&P cafe for morning tea. It's our shout and a chance for us to get to know our travelling companions. Continuing north through the ‘Big Smoke’ of Auckland we make our lunch stop at the iconic Kiwi pub at Puhoi (at your cost).

After lunch we head north on SH1, passing through rolling countryside, farmland and native forests, with our route offering stunning coastal views of the offshore islands. A midway break at Waipu gives chance for a cuppa or a quick look through the interesting Waipu Museum if you wish (your cost). Next we make a stop at Kawakawa to see it's famous toilets and the new Te Hononga Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park, before arriving at our waterfront hotel in Paihia - our base for the next 3 nights.

DAY 2 - On our first day in Paihia we take a half-day Bay of Islands cruise in search of dolphins and other marine life. Enjoy the views from the comfortable catamaran - the  Dolphin Seeker, as we cruise right to the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula to the famous Hole in the Rock on Motukōkako Island. Conditions permitting you may even cruise through the hole! Included is a stop at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island - a chance to stroll along the white sand beach, or walk to the top of the hill for great views. 

Heading back to shore we disembark at Russell for lunch at the famous Duke of Marlborough Hotel, followed by a short sightseeing tour to see more of this interesting town, once named the "Hell Hole of the Pacific". This evening is free for you to explore Paihia and select your own dining options from the many cafes and restaurants within easy walking distance.

As a no cost alternative to the Hole in the Rock cruise, you can opt for a visit to the Kawiti Glowworm Caves, morning tea in Russell and a tour of Pompallier House before lunch.

DAY 3 - Next morning is spent at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds – New Zealand’s most important historic site. You can see two museums - Te Rau Aroha which tells the story of the Māori commitment to the armed forces during WW1 and WW2, and Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi which weaves together the stories and taonga (treasured objects) bringing to life the history of Waitangi and Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding documents. You  will also see the carving studio, the Treaty House, traditional Māori waka taua (war canoes) as well as a guided tour, followed by a cultural performance.

Before departing Waitangi we have time for lunch (your cost) at the on-site cafe overlooking the bay. After lunch we continue a little way inland to see the Haruru Falls - where the Waitangi River flows over a 5 metre high rock ledge into a large salt-water lagoon. The afternoon is free for you to relax, browse the shops or take a swim in the hotel pool or sea. This evening (our last in Paihia) we will dine out together at a top local restaurant overlooking the bay.

Whats Included:

  • 7 days of touring

  • 6 nights quality accommodation

  • Door to door service (Tauranga area)

  • Quality air-conditioned vehicle

  • Full commentary by your guide 

  • All breakfasts and 5 dinners

  • Lunch at The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

  • Hole in the Rock dolphin cruise

  • Ferry from Russell to Paihia

  • Guided tour of Russell

  • Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach tour

  • Fish 'n' Chips supper at Mangonui

  • Waitangi Treaty grounds and tour

  • Butler Point Whaling Museum

  • A guided tour of Kemp House

  • Te Waimate Mission Station

  • The Matakohe Kauri Museum

  • Guided tour to see Tane Mahuta

  • Plenty of stops along the way

You will see:

  • Great scenery throughout

  • The iconic Hundertwasser toilets

  • The historic town of Russell

  • Paihia with its stunning BOI vistas

  • Mangonui and its famous fish shop

  • Kerikeri and the Stone Store

  • Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach

  • The Hokianga Harbour and West Coast

  • Tane Mahuta - the 'Lord of the Forest"

  • The Kaipara Harbour

DAY 4 - Today we leave Paihia and continue north to the Bay of Island's largest town - Kerikeri. Our first stop this morning is a very popular place for all visitors - the mouth watering Makana chocolate factory (chocolates and ice-creams to die for!). 

Suitably refreshed its just a short drive through the centre of Kerikeri to another of New Zealand’s historic treasures – The Stone Store (New Zealand’s oldest stone building) and Kemp House (New Zealand's oldest building). Here we enjoy a guided tour of the Kemp House and have access to the The Stone Store upper levels - both situated in an idyllic location at the head of the tranquil Kerikeri Inlet with lovely gardens and riverside walks.

Leaving Kerikeri we head to another local landmark, Rainbow Falls - a spectacular 27m single vertical cascade as the Kerikeri River flows over a hard basalt layer of rock into the gorge below, the waters spray forming rainbows in the sunlight.

Its then just a few minutes drive to our lunch stop (your cost) at a local cafe situated adjacent to a garden centre, both very popular with the locals.

Following lunch we continue north to Taipa which is our base for the next two nights, arriving in time for you to enjoy the resort facilities or walk the golden sand beach opposite our hotel. This evening we will dine at the hotel restaurant overlooking the sea.

DAY 5 - After an early breakfast we depart for Kaitaia where we join up with a family run tour company for our Cape Reinga adventure. Their specially designed vehicles allow driving on the famous 90 Mile Beach where we visit the Te Paki Dunes - chance to try the sand dune surfing - fun for all ages! (body boards are supplied if you want to try it)

Our tour includes a picnic lunch at a secluded bay on the east coast before we head to the very top of New Zealand at Cape Reinga. Take a walk to marvel at the 360 degree views from the Cape Reinga lighthouse, which has to be one of those bucket list destinations! Please note that the order of the tour depends on the tides, so may change.

Leaving Kaitaia we head back south to another local icon - dinner at the famous Mangonui Fish Shop. Situated on the waters edge, this stunning location offers a delicious fish n chip supper, including dessert if you want!. This will have been a really memorable day.

DAY 6 - Today we move across the island to the west coast, where a different pace of life is apparent as we enjoy the sparsely populated Hokianga region. But first we will make a short detour to visit the Butler Point Whaling Museum in Doubtless Bay - the first place in New Zealand where a whaling ship visited back in 1792. The Museum has an  interesting collection of whaling artefacts and is set in a stunning location on the shore.

Our most direct route to our next accommodation passes through Waimate North, the location of another significant heritage building - Te Waimate Mission (New Zealand's second oldest building) We include a tour of the mission house and grounds where you will learn of the important early encounters between Māori and Europeans.

Arriving early afternoon at Omapere, we check into our harbour front hotel before joining a local guide to visit the ‘Lord of the Forest’ – Tane Mahuta, in the Waipoua Forest. This majestic Kauri tree is thought to be up to 2500 years old and is now the largest of the species still standing in New Zealand. A short boardwalk will take us into the forest where our expert local Maori guide will provide insight into the role of the forest in both past and current times, enabling us to understand how important care of our natural environment is to us all. We then return to our hotel where we will dine this evening.

DAY 7 - Departing Omapere for home, more rugged scenery awaits as we head south through the Waipoua Forest to Dargaville and onwards to Matakohe on the edge of the Kaipara Harbour. The interesting Matakohe Kauri Museum awaits, and we allow plenty of time to enjoy the detailed displays relating to the kauri timber industry. The on site cafe is your lunch option today. By the time we leave Matakohe we will have a much better appreciation of Northland life, its history and its people.

Our journey back home will have plenty of stops along the way, arriving in the early evening at your door.

All Hinterland multi-day tours can be taken by clients from any region of New Zealand or Australia. Please contact us for details. Additional charges may apply.

Not included:

  • Any lunches unless specified* 

  • Morning/afternoon tea stops*

  • Any alcoholic beverages with meals

* Please note, that unless specified in the itinerary we do not usually include the cost of lunches or morning and afternoon tea stops in the tour cost, but we always make stops where there are a range of options available so you can choose what you want, and have flexibility to do things on your own if you wish.