Whether you’re visiting from overseas and landing in Auckland, or a local looking to get out on an adventure, there’s plenty to do nearby. Just a short drive north of Auckland will provide you with a glimpse into everything that the area north of the city can provide. These trips are great for one off day trips, or combining into a fun long weekend holiday! Here are the top five sites to see north of Auckland:
1. Cathedral Cove
Few places can truly be said to be “picturesque,” but one site that deserves this title is Cathedral Cove in Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, located on the Coromandel Peninsula, about a 2-hour drive northeast of Auckland. A short hike will take you to a beautiful sea cave that opens onto a dazzling ocean and view of the surrounding white sandy beaches and dense forests – like a tropical paradise that you’d see on a desktop wallpaper. Because of its beauty, Cathedral Cove is a must-see if you’re traveling north of Auckland.
2. Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve
Snorkeling is the top activity at this island paradise, which offers viewers breathtaking sights of tropical fish and an underwater diving experience like no other. Located off the coast of the North Island of New Zealand, this protected area offers a glimpse into the pristine natural environment that New Zealand is so famous for. Since it has been a reserve since 1981, it has been spared much of the development that other offshore areas of New Zealand have experienced, and thus is a rare experience to be treasured.
As the hub for exploring New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, an enclave that encompasses more than 140 subtropical islands off the coast of the country’s North Island, Paihia is a must-see for those traveling north of Auckland by campervan. Visitors who come to Paihia will experience the area’s undeveloped beaches, big-game fishing and numerous Maori cultural artifacts – which really immerse you in the culture and history of New Zealand. A short drive away from Paihia, you can see Russell, which was New Zealand’s first colonial capital. Wandering the town, you can see evidence of its past as a 19th-century whaling port of Russell in the form of historical buildings along its waterfront promenade.
4. Twin Coast Discovery Highway
Starting in Auckland, the 467-mile Twin Coast Discovery Highway (officially known as New Zealand State Highway 16) is your key to thoroughly exploring the area north of the city and seeing many of the highlights of the North Island. The drive shows off the Bay of Islands and the region’s native kauri trees, and offers plenty of chances to spot dolphins off the coast. Best of all, having a campervan makes traveling along this highway that much easier.
5. Cape Reinga
Cape Reinga, the northernmost point on the North Island, is pretty much as far north as you can get from Auckland and still be in New Zealand. As a result, many visitors flock there just for the feeling of being on the edge of the country. However, it also has other, non-geographical attractions, including a beautiful and historic lighthouse that adds to the aesthetic appeal and natural beauty of the cape.
Wondering how to reach all of these sites, and where to stay when you’re there? The solution that many people adopt is to go by campervan, which is used fairly often by visitors to New Zealand. That’s because it’s relatively inexpensive, convenient, and accessible compared to trying to book hotels in every area you visit – especially if you are aiming to see some of northern New Zealand’s more remote locations. Rent a campervan with Mighway and let the journey unfold!