Northland Discovery

Deal Details

Sale Ends

Dec 25, 2020

Priced From


Trip Information

Take five days to hike, cruise, snorkel and kayak with us around the North Island. 

(Trip start - Auckland, trip end - Auckland).

What's Included

  • All guiding services: Experienced New Zealand guides on every trip. These guys are the pros, and they're the difference between a good trip, and a life-changing adventure you'll never forget.
  • All meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary. (Day 1 excludes breakfast, and day 5 excludes dinner).
  • All transport: We'll do a lot of moving around under our own steam, but when that's not possible there'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch out in.
  • All accommodations: All accommodations are included on this trip, a range of comfortable hotels have been chosen based on the quality of their offering and their location.
  • All activities: All hikes are included, as well as the optional sandboarding at Hokianga. Also included are the water taxi rides, and the trip to Poor Knights Islands to snorkel or kayak (there is an extra charge if you'd like to upgrade to diving).


Arrive, journey north, Waipoua Forest and Footprints tour

Starting in Auckland city, we'll hit the road and make our way along the banks of the Wairoa River, heading north to Waipoua Forest. As a gentle introduction to our adventure together we’ll stretch our legs in Waipoua Forest, where the birdlife is abundant and the trees are sleeping giants. From Waipoua we’ll continue our journey north, passing through the west coast settlement of Opononi. A laid-back town in the heart of the Hokianga Harbour, Opononi was made famous in the mid-1950s by the tame dolphin, Opo, who used to let children ride on his back! We’ll arrive in time to eat together, and then we’ll retrace our steps to Waipoua Forest for an evening walk, joined by local Maori guides. We’ll be greeted with a powerful waiata, a sacred Maori chant, and wander through the colossal kauri trees. We’ll visit the mighty Tane Mahuta, meaning Lord of the Forest. At a height of 51.2 metres (168 feet), and with a trunk girth of 13.7 metres (45 feet), this colossus is the largest known living kauri tree in New Zealand.

Copthorne Hokianga, Hokianga Harbour (Lunch, dinner)

Hiking Distance: Relaxed stroll, 3 hours roughly


Te Pouahi Reserve, hike Puketi Forest, Bay of Islands

Today’s adventures begin with a water taxi across the Hokianga Harbour. The harbour is of great historical significance to New Zealand, as one of the first points of Maori and European contact. We’ll be walking the sand dunes at Te Pouahi Recreation Reserve, home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in New Zealand. If you’re keen on the fast route down the dunes, we’ll also have a few sandboards in tow! Later in the afternoon, we’ll make our way across the island to Puketi Forest, a diverse, ancient kauri forest with over 360 indigenous plant species, many of which are unique to the region. Afterwards we’ll make our way over to Paihia, dubbed ‘The Jewel of the Bay of Islands’ , this bustling seaside town is the heart of the bay and will be our resting place for the night.

Paihia Lodgings, Paihia (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 1.6 kilometres (1 mile), 1 hour


DAY 3 
Hike Cape Brett, visit Ruapekapeka Pã site

After breakfast we’ll take another water taxi, this time heading out to Deep Water Cove, where we’ll embark on a ridgeline hike through the Manawahuna Scenic Reserve, finishing at Cape Brett. This 3-4-hour hike offers magnificent coastal scenery with dramatic cliff-faces, native bush and abundant birdlife. On a good day it’s also a great opportunity to see for yourself the region’s claim to the second bluest sky in the world! If we’re lucky, we may have the opportunity to spot dolphins and seals from our vantage point high on the clifftops! If you’d prefer to take it easy this morning there are plenty of other options for activities around the Bay of Islands. Just have a chat to our guides and they'll help arrange something else for the morning. This afternoon we’ll return by water taxi, enjoying the scenic ride back to Paihia, then it's onwards to Ruapekapeka. Recognised as one of the most significant historical sites in New Zealand, the Ruapekapeka Pã was the site of the final battle in the 'Northern War’, fought between 400 Maori warriors and a British colonial force of 1600.

Tutukaka Lodgings, Tutukaka (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 3 hours

DAY 4 

Cruise Poor Knights Islands, snorkel or kayak
This morning we’ll wake up our legs with an early morning stroll before boarding a purpose-built boat for a cruise to the Poor Knights Islands, the remains of a group of ancient volcanoes. Due to the Islands’ incredible wealth of biodiversity, it became a marine reserve in the early 1980s, making it the second oldest marine reserve in New Zealand. This sub-tropical environment is an important conservation area for many marine species. Whales, dolphins and orca can often be spotted here, as well as a myriad of fish species. Make sure remember to look up too, as you’re likely to spot flocks of petrels, shearwaters and gannets, many of which nest exclusively on the Islands. We’ll also be visiting the largest sea cave in the world named Riko Riko, meaning twinkling or glistening light in Te Reo. You’ll learn all about the history of the Poor Knights Islands, including their occupation by ancient Maori. You’ll have the chance to explore the islands under your own steam, either with a snorkel and mask or by kayak. If you’re a keen scuba diver and you feel like exploring a little deeper, you can upgrade to diving. There is an additional fee which covers all the necessary gear. This option must be arranged in advance, so please let the team know well ahead of time.

Tutukaka Lodgings, Tutukaka (All meals)

Hike Northland coastline

For our last day together we’ll follow the winding coastal road south to Waipu, a small settlement with a strong Scottish heritage dating back to the 1850s. With a friendly small-town vibe, Waipu is the perfect spot to stretch our legs and relax. When we're done exploring Waipu, we’ll hit the road again and make our way down the coast to Mangawhai Heads for our last hike. Unique rock formations and panoramic views characterise this trail, which offers magnificent photo opportunities. The Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway is one of the most stunning cliff-top walks in New Zealand. We’ll pass through shady bush, under pohutukawa trees and finish along the beach. After lunch, we’ll continue south from Mangawhai Heads back to Auckland, where we’ll say our goodbyes and end our time together.

(Breakfast, lunch)

Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 3 hours

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