Northland has a split personality. On the one hand, it’s full of relaxing cultured activities like golf, vineyards, art galleries, national treasures, and award winning restaurants. On the other hand, it is a hyperactive, thrill seeking, ‘bring it on’ speed demon. Well, they do say opposites attract and in the North this is definitely the case.
After a lifetime of living and working in the area, we’ve picked up a thing or two about which activities get your heart racing and are likely to make you appreciate the slower, calmer activities afterward. Here are our top ten. Hold on!
Parasailing – Bay of Islands
Very popular and tremendous fun is parasailing in the Bay of Islands. This is a great alternative to jumping out of a plane but still having a bird’s eye view of the incredible sights the Bay of Islands is famous for. You’ll go high, and then you’ll go higher still. Go on, you know you want to.
Skydiving – Bay of Islands
Sky. Diving. It’s the order in which these two words appear is what makes it a little unsettling. First, get on a plane, fly up to 16000ft, and then jump out at speeds of up to 200km per hour. Thankfully the scenery will take your breath away before the shock does. This is the ultimate in scream fun.
Scooter Hire – Bay of Islands
Warm summer sun and the breeze in your face. Sounds like a good time to jump on a scooter and blast around the Bay of Islands. You don’t need a special licence, and they can deliver to your accommodation in Paihia, Waitangi, Haruru Falls and Opua for free.
The e-bikes are retro cool too. It’s just like riding a regular bike until you want some help getting up steep hills and then the motor can do all the hard work for you. Now we like that idea.
Swim with the Dolphins – Bay of Islands
Leaving from Paihia Wharf, book yourself on one of the tours that find these intelligent, gentle and inquisitive mammals every day. The Bay of Islands has the warmest waters in New Zealand and once you’ve spotted the dolphins you’ll want to jump in too. Being at one with nature, this is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Helicopter Flights – Bay of Islands
You’ll notice there’s a theme developing in the Bay of Islands and its all centred around scenery and water play. Probably because the area is home to 144 islands. Take in the sights from a helicopter scenic flight starting in Paihia tracking along the stunning peninsula coastline to Cape Brett. There are also packages that include landing on the famous Motu Kōkako (commonly known as Hole in the Rock). One thing is for sure, you can not visit the Bay of Islands without seeing it from the air in some regard.
Surf Academy – Northland
Always wanted to learn how to surf? The Northland coastline was made for it. Petite coves, endless beaches, river mouths, point breaks (a type of wave consistent with a coast with a headland), and reefs are all there. O’Neills Surf Academy will drive you to the best and safest surfing conditions on the day across the 3 coasts. An absolute novice or wanting to improve your skills? These small classes are perfect for both.
Sand Safaris – Ahipara
Grab your friends and hire a dune buggy, or join the guide for a buggy tour over sands, hills, and rough terrain. Lots of fun, 2.5 hours of good honest adventuring, and another unforgettable “must do” in the 90 Mile Beach area.
Surf a Sand Dune – 90 Mile Beach
The beautiful fine golden sands at 90 Mile Beach is the perfect spot to grab a free sand rider board and go hurtling down the dune at speed. People of all ages and fitness levels have done it, loved it and return to the top of the dune to do it all over again.
Action Village – Whangarei
Want to shoot something? Then do it legally at Action Village in Whangarei. Along with paint balling you’ll find clay shooting, archery, flying fox, rifle range, laser tag, and mini golf.
The best part is using the paintball tanks. These miniature tanks are the only one of its kind in New Zealand and look they’ve come straight out of WW2.
Finish off an exhausting day enjoying a hangi (traditional Maori cooking method steaming food underground) or prepare your own food in the BBQ area.
Adventure Forest – Whangarei
A Qualmark Endorsed Visitor activity and Enviro-Bronze medalist this is a top attraction for the whole family. Tight ropes, wobbly bridges, nets and swings offer a great workout, improved balance, and confidence. Be rewarded at the end of each course zooming down an awesome flying fox when you can scream as loud as you like (this is usually the Mums and Dads).
There’s a lot to think about. Hire a 4-12 seater vehicle from us to get through it all – with the option to pick up and drop off at different locations.