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Northland / Bay of Islands

 
Northland is rich in a unique history that ties both Maori and non Maori people together.
 
The people who first came to these shores were both bold and adventurous. Over 1000 years ago the legendary explorer Kupe aboard the ocean going waka (canoe) Nga Toki Matawhaorua arrived in the Hokianga Harbour and the first people of the land arrived on our shores. By the late 1700’s the Europeans arrived.
 
Today many of the people that live here are descended from those early arrivals. Northlanders live, work and thrive in an environment which is the envy of the inhabitants of big cities and a more bustling lifestyle.
 
MY TRAVEL AGENT’S suggested experiences in the Northland:
 
 
1.  DRIVE UP NINETY MILE BEACH
 
Ninety Mile Beach is the fabled strip of sand that stretches from Ahipara to Scott Point, five kilometres south of Cape Maria van Diemen. Truth be told, it is actually 88 kilometres long.  This beach is officially a highway, but is really only suitable for 4WD vehicles. Rental companies won’t allow their cars on the sand, mostly for safety reasons. The easy way to drive along the beach is to catch a coach tour from Kaitaia.
 
 
2.  EXPLORE THE BAY OF ISLANDS
 
The Bay of Islands is an aquatic playground with 144 islands to explore and umpteen opportunities for fun, adventure or downright laziness.  A novice to the area might start with the calm waters of the ferry crossing from Paihia to Russell. Sitting on the open deck of the boat with the rhythmic humming of the engine and a few splashes of rogue wave to delight the senses, who could help but smile. And of course, the anticipation of arriving in Russell - always in sight and with the promise of fish & chips on the wharf or watching the sunset descend in the distance behind the lawns of Waitangi with a gin and tonic.
 
3.  SEE WHERE A NATION WAS FORMED
 
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is more than a museum. It’s living history; a place where the past, present and future meet in a well-maintained natural landscape complete with guided walks, a historic precinct, an intricately-carved Maori meeting house and one of the world’s largest ceremonial war canoes. A tall naval flagstaff marks the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
 
 
4.  GRAB A BITE TO EAT IN RUSSELL
 
Russell, with its wealth of well known historical highlights including Flagstaff Hill, the Duke of Marlborough Hotel (1840), Christ Church (1836) and Pompallier (1842) is now an epicurean hotspot and haven for chefs of international renown. With the pick of the Bay of Island’s legendary produce and abundant fresh seafood, and with the home of the Orongo Bay oyster a short drive along the coast, it’s no wonder that this quaint village of exquisitely restored character buildings has more than its fair share of top-quality eateries.
 
 

5.  PLAY GOLF AT KAURI CLIFFS

The Kauri Cliffs golf course was designed and built by David Harman.  The par 72 PGA championship golf course has been home to The Kiwi Challenge PGA golf event and the course is currently ranked 18th Greatest Golf Course in the World by Golf Magazine's World Top 100 Course Ranking Panel.
 
 
6.  CLIMB MOUNT MANAIA
What everybody who treads the ancient pathways of Mount Manaia receives is an amazing array of views, from broad panoramas to exquisitely framed slivers of coast and countryside; from sub-tropical ferns to shiny green broadleaf trees.  Often, although the birds do occasionally take a break, your visual feast will be accompanied by a range of native bird calls beginning with the twittering of tiny fantails and soaring to the elaborate melodies of resident tui. 
 
7.  CAST A LINE IN THE WATER
 
Here world class sport fishing is available to everyone, and there’s no better place to be a beginner. With abundant resources and a vast coastline, the people of Northland can afford to be generous and fishing enthusiasts of all types will find a warm welcome at fishing clubs throughout the region. When the siren wails in Russell, locals and tourists alike head down to the wharf to see the latest prize catch.

 
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