Learn about Aotearoa's history at the Museum of Waitangi. © NorthlandNZ

Editor's Picks: the top 5 things to do in Northland


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Check out our AA Traveller Guides Editor's picks of the top 5 experiences not to be missed in Northland!

1. Mātauri Bay Beach

Delightfully remote, with a white sand beach and crystalline water. The campsite here is seldom packed, and thanks to a subtropical climate, the water is year-round temperate. It’s also home to the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace boat sunk by the French over opposition to nuclear testing. The wreck is now a marine eco-system and a world-class dive site. 

2. Waitangi Treaty Grounds

If you want to know more about Māori and European history in New Zealand, this is where to start. On site is the Treaty House, where the Treaty of Waitangi manuscript was drawn up, a ceremonial waka and Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, as well as the recently added Te Rau Aroha Museum, telling stories of Māori in New Zealand’s armed forces.

3. Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Centre, Ōpononi

A knockout experience detailing the story of Kupe's arrival in New Zealand via 75-minutes of multisensory splendour. Enjoy live performance and narration, 4D films, art, taonga and digital wizardry.

4. Poor Knights Islands

Dive or snorkel in this world-renowned marine reserve off Tutukākā Coast. Boat tours are plentiful and know exactly where to drop you for 60-metre drop-offs to see marine life, caves and two sunken ex-navy vessels known as Twin Wrecks. 

5. Hundertwasser Arts Centre, Whangārei

The fabulously impressive Hundertwasser Art Centre, designed in the style of the late artist and a celebration of his life and achievements, opened in early 2022. Sharing the same brightly-tiled building is Wairau Māori Art Gallery, the national home of contemporary Māori art.

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Things to do

Tohu Whenua: Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Often called the ‘Birthplace of our Nation,’ Waitangi Treaty Grounds is Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important historic site and an absolute must-visit when you’re in the Bay of Islands.  Read the story . . . 

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Road trips

The secret coast: an indulgent road trip between Auckland and the Bay of Islands

Head north from Central Auckland via the very scenic route to the Bay of Islands. This journey is full of things guaranteed to bring pleasure – food, wine and art. It’s one big, moveable feast. Read the story . . . 

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Discover the magical marine environment of the Poor Knights

It’s a pretty big accolade to have a renowned marine expert rate a dive site as one of the top ten in the world. But Jacques Cousteau picked the Poor Knights. Read the story . . . 

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Free things to do

Hundertwasser Toilets: the loo that made headlines

The internationally renowned Hundertwasser toilet in Kawakawa has become one of New Zealand’s most photographed attractions. Read the story . . . 

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