Scenic drives & flights
The Old Russell Road, Rawhiti Peninsula and Ngaiotonga Forest
This was the land access route before the car ferry went in at Opua. Beautiful bays and access to good hikes. Coming from Whangarei, look for Russell Road, signposted to Oakura, about 15 minutes north, on your right just after the BP station at Whakapara.
A small but bustling and quite arty market town with several important historic sites. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Paihia and on the way you’ll pass fruit stalls, wineries, an irresistible handmade chocolate shop, Living Nature natural cosmetics, craft shops and galleries. Kerikeri has many cafes and restaurants and a great little farmers’ market on Sunday mornings.
The Hokianga and Waipoua Forest
The Hokianga is the beautiful and still quite undeveloped harbour on the other coast from here. Rawene, Opononi and Omapere are the three delightful main towns. The Waipoua Forest is a large remnant of the kauri forest which covered much of the upper North Island. Ths is where Tane Mahuta and the giant kauris are. A fantastic day trip from here or an alternative route to or from Auckland.
A good whole day drive to the very northern tip of the country. Go one way via SH10 through Whangaroa Harbour, Mangonui Harbour and Doubtless Bay and the other way via Kaitaia on SH1. It’s about 3 hours each way. If you want to experience driving up 90 mile beach and through the sand dunes you need to take one of the special 4WD bus tours. It’s too dangerous to drive on the beach yourself as you might get caught by the tide or hit quicksand. We can organise a tour for you. An alternative that saves all the driving is a fly-4WD combination with Salt Air, see below.
The Bay and Northland by air
This is the perfect way to put Northland’s stunning scenery into perspective: a helicopter or fixed wing flight and water shuttle trip to Urupukapuka Island; a Discovery flight over the Bay, the Hole in the Rock, Cavalli Islands and Whangaroa Harbour; or an alternative trip to Cape Reinga on a fly-4WD combination tour. Or create your own itinerary. www.saltair.co.nz
One of life’s delights is a stay in Arcadia Lodge. Thank you for your superb hospitality
Mary & Peter, Liz & Bryan – Melbourne Australia