Discover the very roots of New Zealand’s human history in a region blessed with a spectacular range of coastal scenery and bathed in subtropical warmth. Northland is located in what is often referred to by New Zealanders as the Far North, or, because of its mild climate, The Winterless North. It occupies the upper 80% of the 285 kilometre-long Northland Peninsular, the southernmost part of which is in the Auckland Region.
Stretching from a narrowing of the peninsula close to the town of Wellsford, Northland extends north to the tip of the North Auckland Peninsula, covering an area of 13,940 km², a little over five per cent of the country's total area. It is bounded to the west by theTasman Sea, and to the east by the Pacific Ocean. The land is predominantly rolling hill country. Farming and forestry occupy over half of the land, and are two of the region's main industries. Although many of the region's kauri forests were felled during the 19th century, some areas still exist where this rare giant grows tall. New Zealand's largest tree, Tane Mahutu stands in the Waipoua Forest south of the Hokianga Harbour . With a population of roughly 150,000 the region is an outdoor sanctuary for the adventurer in search of nothing but space and the sophisticate in search of pure luxury and relaxation. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New Zealand and an excellent place to begin or end a journey through the country. Maori tradition alleges that Northland is the birthplace of the country, For those interested in the history of New Zealand, the first treaty with the Maori was signed in Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The British Crown and Maori chiefs from the North Island signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. While this is sometimes looked at as the birth of New Zealand as a nation, from the British viewpoint at the time it would have seen it as nothing more than a colony. The document is still an issue of contention in New Zealand, complicated by fishing rights and complicated claims over the territory.
The economy of the heavily forested New Zealand tip relies largely in agriculture, but still holds many popular tourist sites. There are many places to go and many things to see in Northland. Beautiful beaches along two sweeping coastlines, late autumns that only serve to make evening a little sooner and a little colder, Northland caters to luxury vacations year round. Visitors interesting in great fishing can head to Tutukaka or Russell. There are boats of every kind available to charter for fishing, sailing and other marine sports. A visit to the historic town of Kerikeri, the oldest European settlement in New Zealand isn’t complete without a look at the oldest building in New Zealand, the Stone Store, also visible from the bay. To the north of Kerikeri are the Cavalli islands with one of the world’s top dive sites, the Rainbow Warrior. Those who would prefer to remain above the water can relax in the sub-tropical sun while admiring the dreamlike island beaches. From ancient forests to a coastline rich with quiet coves, white sand beaches and mangroves, Northland is a place of contrasts. Easily accessible from the nation’s largest city, it was here in Northland, on a lawn sloping down towards the sea at Waitangi, that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. In a region dense with history, the dividing line between past and present thins in forests that have stood for millennia and on quiet harbours where New Zealand’s settlers first dipped oars many centuries ago.
Continue driving highway 12 to Rawene turn off, travel to Rawene for car ferry [every hour] take Kohukohu rd to little seaside village Kohukohu on to Mouiti intersection , turn right to Maungamuku Bridge, left onto State highway 1 and onto Kaitaia. Driving approx 2 hours .Accommodation at Loredo Motelhttp://www.loredomotel.co.nz/ 0800456733 Large accessible one bedroom unit with large shower. Suggest the Sands Safari tourbus http://www.sandsafaris.co.nz/ 0800869090 to Cape Reinga, but cannot take wheelchair. They will allow the wheelchair van to follow for first part of tour, but wheelchair person and van driver part company with rest of party [van not allowed on beach] and fill in rest of day by themselves. [20 minutes south on highway 10 a great vintage car and machinery museum] Bus tour finishes about 4.30pm allowing you a 90 minute drive to Paihia if you wish or stay another night in Kaitaia. The bus tour takes you to Kauri Kingdomhttp://www.ancientkauri.co.nz/ and Gum Diggers Parkhttp://www.gumdiggerspark.co.nz on the way to the cape.
There is a car ferry at Opua which will take you to Russell, the first capital of New Zealand and whaling port in early 1800. There you can see Pompallier House– which is New Zealand's oldest surviving Roman Catholic building. It was built in 1841-42, under the direction of architect Louis Perret, as the printery, tannery and storehouse for the French Marist mission at Kororareka [Russell]. Construction was of pise de terre (rammed earth) on the ground floor and pan de bois (rammed earth panels in a kauri framework) on the upper floor. In 1856 the French sold the property to James Callaghan who used it as a tannery until 1863. The building was later altered to become a private home for over 70 years. It was then bought by the state and opened to the public as Pompallier House. The building overlooks the breathtaking Bay of Islands and is surrounded by an attractive turn-of-the-century garden. It has undergone extensive award-winning conservation and is now a working museum, where tanning, printing and bookbinding can be seen. This building is not accessible but some of the grounds are. http://www.historic.org.nz/Pompallier/pompallier_history.htmlOne street inland Pompallier's "rival" the Anglican Christ Church is the oldest existing church in New Zealand and has also been restored - except for the musket ball holes in the old weatherboards, visible reminder of the fierce fighting near the church during the 1845 Battle of Kororareka. Above the town on Maiki (the high place) Hill stands a flagstaff, originally the symbol of British authority and cause of conflict between Maori and the British which led to 1845's battle. It flies New Zealand's original flag twelve days a year.
From Russell you can head south to Whangarei via the coastal Russell Rd [windy] or go back on the car ferry and turn left at the Opua intersection and travel south to Whangarei past Kawakawa. Just before Kawakawa is the Ruapekapeka Rd [a windy, metaled road] where you can see the Ruapekapeka Pahttp://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/northland/whangarei-area/ruapekapeka-pa-track A small detour into Kawakawa will allow you to see the unusual Public Toilets, designed by the world renowned artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Back track and Whangarei is one hour south.
Alternatively take the Russell Rd offering in places some lovely coastal scenery. 30 minutes south is a turn off to the left to Oakura Bay, a nice swimming beach and a accessible picnic spot under a stand of trees by the beach just past the shop. Continue south and on the Helena Bay hill is an accessible art gallery and caféhttp://www.galleryhelenabay.co.nz/Whangarei 30 minutes away.
The Town Basin offers a variety of shops, restaurants and galleries with varying degrees of accessibility with the Clapham clock museum well worth seeing http://www.claphamsclocks.com/ There is a board walk and walkway that goes along the river. Okara shopping center is a large easily accessible complex with a variety of shops, department stores, cafes, supermarket and tenpin bowling alley.
Tutukaka [ 30 minutes east of Whangarei] is a popular fishing and boat marina. Schnappa Rockhttp://www.schnapparock.co.nz/ is a very nice accessible restaurant and next door is Dive Tutukaka with a boat that is wheelchair accessible. http://diving.co.nz/contact/ Further on is Sandy Bay, a good swimming and surf beach with some accessibility. Ngunguru Mangrove walkway (Path) 20 minute return, easy strolling, and wheelchair access. Access the walkway either beside the Ngunguru Library or from Munroe Place. This walkway was created and is cheerfully maintained by the local community with the elderly and physically challenged in mind. A pleasant stroll through bush and across boardwalks through the mangroves. The grass is mown for ease and the native plantings create a safe and sheltered walk. Seating is provided. Whangarei Quarry Gardens reasonable access walks http://www.wonderwalkers.co.nz/default,1288,whangarei-quarry-gardens.sm
Accessible restaurants include,
Dickens Inn & Olivers Café/Restaurant On Cameron St at Quality St Mall, Whangarei Ph: 09-430 0406 Wheelchair accessible (ground floor restaurant only); accessible toilet facilities
Reva’s On the Waterfront Town Basin Marina, Whangarei Ph: 09-438 8969 Wheelchair accessible; accessible toilet facilities
Tahuna Restaurant & Bar Quayside Town Basin Whangarei Ph: 09-4300406 Wheelchair accessible; accessible toilet facilities
Cobb & Co Family Restaurant & Bar 117/119 Bank St, Whangarei Ph: 09-438 4303 Wheelchair accessible; accessible toilet facilities
90 minutes south you will come to a side road to the historic township of Puhoi is where you stop to revive your tastebuds! Drop into the Mustard Makers for gourmet mustards, condiments, chutneys, luxury jams and marmalades while gourmet cheese lovers will recognise the name 'Puhoi' as part of the delicious New Zealand Puhoi Valley Cheese brand. The Art of Cheese Cafe & Store is located in in a park-like setting and offers you the opportunity to enjoy a great lunch with a glass of wine. Watch cheese making through the big windows and taste some of the Puhoi and other brands of cheeses. Back on Highway 1 you can turn off to the Orewa township which is part of the beautiful Hibiscus Coast and is actually sprawled along the edge of the fabulous white sandy surf beach and is a great place to take some time out to relax or picnic.or some retail therapy in the shopping centre. For those that enjoy some bargain shopping take a small detour to Silverdale. Silverdale is well known throughout New Zealand for its factory and outlet stores. You can get some great bargains for all the top New Zealand and international brands and labels..