Created on: January 20, 2013
To the North of Auckland lies an unspoilt paradise, with an abundance of natural beauty and unique attractions designed to satisfy the spirits of any traveller. This region of New Zealand, known as Northland, is a 300 kilometre long peninsula with a rich history to match its splendour, and culturally minded visitors are likely to find as much to enjoy as those who are seeking adventure. Beautiful beaches, majestic kauri trees, panoramic views, and fascinating glimpses into the past combine to make a Northland holiday one to remember.
The best way to see Northland is to drive it yourself, preferably in a camper van. Be aware, however, that although New Zealand roads are generally well sealed, drivers will need to be prepared for many twists and turns, often while travelling over quite steep hills. It’s a good idea to take regular breaks in roadside picnic areas, or in one of the many small towns that dot the way. Travellers are also advised to carry a fuel can as there are a few places – especially in the Far North – where a couple of tempting detours can run the tank rather dry.
Campsites are plentiful throughout the region, and some are exquisitely beautiful. However, Northland also has a number of well equipped towns offering affordable motel and hotel accommodation.
Northland is one of tourism’s best-kept secrets. Although visitors are likely to meet fellow travellers from all over the world – as well as plenty of friendly and helpful locals – there’s never a sense of crowding, even at the most popular destinations. And because of the region’s sub-tropical climate, the weather is suitable for water-sports and carefree exploring for much of the year. Sunny, though temperate, weather usually prevails from October to April.
A brief guide like this could never hope to do justice to the many wonders of the region, and indeed, one of the great pleasures of touring Northland is to come across a few surprises along the way. What follows, therefore, is a suggested trip around the peninsula, with mention of just a few special highlights to break the journey. Tourists who would like to know more about each part of the journey are invited to click on the links.
Heading north from Auckland, State Highway 1 is known as the Twin Coast Discovery Highway. It takes travellers through the small but busy towns of Warkworth and Welsford, before branching at the Swinging Cow Cafe, an easily
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