I can’t consider it took me years to lastly go to Northland – essentially the most northern area of New Zealand.
Fairly probably so far as I might bodily get from the place I reside in Wanaka and nonetheless be in New Zealand, Northland is a wild place that also has managed to remain off the radar. Whereas many vacationers go up there to sail the famed Bay of Islands, dive the Poor Knights, drive 90 Mile Seaside or tick Cape Reinga, the highest of North Island off their bucketlists, I nonetheless haven’t accomplished any of that.
As a substitute I opted to maintain it native, hanging out on the Kauri Coast and round Whangarei. On each journeys I hid away, opting to hike the coastal forests and get a bit misplaced within the wilderness. I used to be actually eager to see what made Northland tick.
If one factor stood out to me essentially the most about Northland, and left the perfect impression, it’d should be the lushness of it. It’s so inexperienced!
Central Otago the place I reside is dry. We don’t get a number of rain right here. And I shamelessly love wet days. Northland, nevertheless, will get much more rain, a subtropical paradise. To me it gave the impression to be an ideal inexperienced rainbow, each shade possible.
In truth, typically it was so brightly inexperienced that it didn’t look actual in my photographs, just like the panorama itself was oversaturated and photoshopped. How can such a spot exist?
From fantastic individuals to nice views to beautiful coastlines and dense historic forests full of a few of New Zealand’s greatest wildlife, Northland to me gave the impression to be true New Zealand, a spot I didn’t know I used to be lacking. And with every go to I go away wanting extra and already prepared to come back again.
Whereas onerous to selected, listed below are a few of my favourite spots, walks, views and moments from my journeys to Northland (up to now…) take pleasure in!
1. Spend the day strolling the Te Whara Monitor
Residing in Wanaka, most of our hikes listed below are both alongside the lake or within the mountains. However what I cherished about Northland was the sheer number of tracks. So lots of them go alongside beautiful rugged shoreline or by means of historic forests like I’d by no means seen earlier than.
Additionally, humidity, my previous good friend, I hadn’t missed you. Somethings come together with subtropical climates I suppose.
Simply exterior of Whangarei is the unimaginable Whangarei Heads space which weaves out alongside the shoreline and is dwelling to some cute baches, nice seashores, and fantastic walks which have epic views, WWII historical past and go by historic Māori websites.
In the identical space you’ll discover the Bream Head Scenic Reserve which is dwelling to a number of the similar stunning walks, together with the Te Whara Monitor, which follows an historic Māori path from Urquharts Bay to Ocean Seaside.
If you happen to’re trying to do a difficult however rewarding hike steeped in historical past and tradition, this one’s for you!
It goes alongside a number of the greatest coastal forest in Northland and has wonderful views dotted alongside the entire means, making it one of many greatest day hikes in New Zealand.
2. Be part of the whanau with Tu Tika Excursions for an genuine Māori expertise
Northland is a spot that’s extremely wealthy in Māori tradition, each historic and fashionable, however as a curious outsider like me from rural Virginia, how will you expertise it in a respectful and genuine means?
It is a query I’ve been asking myself for years. By means of chatting and attending to know NZ Māori Tourism over time – they’ve helped me lastly pursue learnings on my travels that I had been laying aside.
If you happen to’re visiting New Zealand and wish to study extra about Māori tradition and historical past in a particular means, head straight as much as Whangarei and e book in with Mervyn and Rangimarie of Tu Tika Excursions. Locals who’re keen about their tradition and wish to share their story with others, you be a part of them for a couple of hours at their dwelling with their household doing all types of enjoyable interactive issues, and get the proper introduction to the Māori world.
I don’t wish to give an excessive amount of away simply but however I’ll say it was actually particular for me, and actually shifting and highly effective, and it was precisely the type of shared expertise I wanted to essentially get the ball rolling alone learnings right here.
You could arrive as a stranger, however you’ll go away Aotearoa (New Zealand) as members of the whānau (household).
three. Greet Tāne Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest
Tāne Mahuta, the most important recognized residing kauri tree, is a must-visit on any journey to Northland. He’s estimated to be as much as 2,500 years previous. Let that sink in for a minute.
A born treehugger, I don’t know the way I went so lengthy with out assembly this surprise. Tucked away not far off the street within the Waipoua Forest on the Kauri Coast, it’s a brief and simple stroll to fulfill this surprise.
Tāne Mahuta means “Lord of the Forest” in Māori. In Māori tales, Tāne is the son of Papatuanuku (Earth Mom) and Ranginui (Sky Father), and break up his mother and father aside, cloaking his mom within the clothes of the forest. All the things that lives within the forest now are thought-about to be Tāne’s youngsters.
four. Fall in love with glamping
I shamelessly love glamping. Don’t get me mistaken, I really like tenting too, particularly after I’m on a giant mission mountaineering within the mountains right here.
However there’s something equally beautiful about fancy tenting. The very best of each world’s, actually, and the Highfield River Retreat on the Kauri Coast in Northland isn’t any exception. This place is pleasant!
Tucked away in unimaginable native forest on a farm in the midst of nowhere you’ll go to sleep listening to the rain faucet faucet faucet on the canvas roof or loosen up with a e book within the outside tub as kiwi name within the distance. I might have stayed without end.
5. Dig in with the locals at Stumpys
Okay, so this isn’t actually a stroll or any means nature associated, however Stumpys in Whangarei is a very tasty spot for fish and chips.
Like actually good. Beneficial by locals. You’re welcome.
6. Soak within the epic views from Mount Manaia
Simply exterior of Whangarei are a number of the greatest and most accessible strolling tracks in all of Northland.
And Mount Manaia isn’t any exception. Named among the finest brief walks in New Zealand by DOC this yr, it’s a comparatively simple slog uphill.
You’ll be rewarded with a number of the greatest views of the encompassing shoreline, surrounded by a number of the greatest native bush within the space.
7. Marvel on the views at Whangarei Falls
Simply exterior of Whangarei are the aptly named Whangarei Falls, an unimaginable 26 meter waterfall in a phenomenal park and scenic reserve with plenty of walks and viewpoints.
One factor I really like about New Zealand are what number of inexperienced areas there are within the cities, and Whangarei was no exception. I used to be fortunate sufficient to go to right here with Tu Tika Excursions, making it all of the extra memorable.
eight. Meet kiwi and tuatara at Kiwi North
Northland is among the few locations in New Zealand the place you even have a good likelihood of seeing (if not at the very least listening to) wild kiwi at night time, although it’ll take some talent and dedication in your half.
The Northland Brown Kiwi is one species of kiwi primarily present in Northland, all endangered on in decline, it’s actually essential to do what we will for these particular birds.
If you happen to’re visiting New Zealand, I undoubtedly advocate testing Kiwi North, a Whangarei museum and heritage park that sits on a giant piece of volcanic farmland land and has captive kiwi and tuatara and is a superb place to study New Zealand’ distinctive story.
9.Go to the remainder of the giants within the Waipoua Forest
Tāne Mahuta isn’t the one big hanging out within the Waipoua Forest in Northland.
Together with Mataraua and Waima, the Waipoua Forst makes up the most important space of native forest left in Northland, and it’s beautiful. The drive by means of on SH12 weaves its means by means of these magical trails, and it turns into very apparent once you enter the forest, every part is denser, extra gnarled and historic wanting. It’s very highly effective and even eerie, particularly on a wet day in winter like on my first go to.
Big kauri bushes, rata and rimu, aer all hidden amongst the opposite bushes, and there are many walks out to see them. Together with Tāne Mahuta there are different notably massive kauri bushes with paths to them, although it’s actually essential to concentrate on kauri dieback, a illness that’s at the moment killing the native kauri bushes, and to observe the steps about cleansing your boots and never strolling on their particular roots.
10. Go for a stroll alongside the Mangawhai Cliffs
Okay guys, saving the perfect for final.
My favourite coastal stroll in all of New Zealand might need to be the Mangawhai Cliffs in Northland. One other certainly one of DOC’s high brief walks, it’s actually a stunner and sometimes pretty quiet.
An hour south of Whangarei, the monitor begins alongside essentially the most beautiful seaside earlier than climbing up and carrying alongside the cliffs overlooking offshore islands and rugged rocks. What a spot! The primary time I visited, it poured with rain for the primary hour earlier than setting down and I didn’t thoughts one bit.
That’s the facility of tropical Northland!
Have you ever ever been to Northland? Do you take pleasure in getting off the crushed path once you journey? Have you ever accomplished any of those experiences in New Zealand? Share!