best walks hikes northland

Your Guide to the Best Walks and Hikes in the Northland

Whatever your age, whatever your fitness level, Northland will have you up and walking.

Looking for a leisurely half hour walk, or are you more of a ‘Bear Grylls’ type? No problem, because Northland has half hour to 3-day options among the 100+ walks, tracks, and loops scattered throughout this gorgeous part of New Zealand.

Many of our customers who fly from Auckland to Kerikeri Airport want information about Northland first hand to maximise their time here so we’ve culled the list down to six of the best. Our range of vehicles suit solo or large walking groups, and with multiple drop off and pick up points available, we make your time in the North even better.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) do a fantastic job of maintaining and servicing the majority of tracks available, making them safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Opua Forest, Paihia

If you only have an hour or two to spare, or simply looking for a walk which isn’t too strenuous, the Opua Forest Paihia Lookout ticks all the boxes.

A scenic well-maintained track through the lush bush with ample birdlife rewards walkers with a fantastic view of Paihia township and out over the magnificent Bay of Islands.

Length 1.5km | Time: 1 hour



Haruru Falls, Bay of Islands

Haruru, meaning ‘rumble’ in Maori and this is certainly the perfect description as you approach the falls. Locals suggest making Waitangi Treaty Grounds your start and finishing points as the road from Haruru Falls has no footpath.

Length 6km | Time: 2.5 hours one way

Kerikeri River Track to Rainbow Falls

Like the walk above, this is another track which leaves from a popular attraction you are likely to visit anyway. This track leaves from Kerikeri’s Stone Store to the Kerikeri River and onto the Rainbow Falls. It has long been a popular swimming hole surrounded by native bush and birds, so pack a picnic and make a day of it!

For those with small children or need wheelchair access, we suggest the shorter walk from the Rainbow Falls carpark which accommodates for buggies and chairs.

Length from Stone Store: 3.5km one way | Time 1.5 hours one way

Length from carpark: 400 metres one way | Time: 10 minutes one way

Cape Brett Walkway, Rawhiti

For serious trampers, the Cape Brett Walkway is a demanding but definitely rewarding. Tracking through native bush and long stretching cliffs you walk ends at the lighthouse on the cape. The lighthouse is now a DOC hut so walkers have the option to either stay overnight and walk back the next day or organise for a boat to take you back at the end of the day. Whatever you choose, you’ll be ready for a well-earned rest.

Length: 20 km | Time: 8 hours one way

Wairere, Hokianga Harbour

For photo enthusiasts the Wairere Boulders walk is for you. Unique, beautiful and looking like a scene in Lord of the Rings, this is the only valley in the world to see eroded basalt boulders.

Stretching 1.5 km on easy walking tracks, visitors see literally thousands of boulders stacked together reaching up to 30 metres high in some cases.

Length: 1.5 km | Time: 0.5-2 hours (lots of viewing platforms to stop and take photos)



Guided Puketi Rainforest Night Walk, Bay of Islands

Peaceful and interesting, walkers learn all about New Zealand’s native birds and the majestic Kauri tree. With a Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor in 2016, this is a novel way to experience the bush at night.

Take advantage of these excellent deals on our rental vehicles to visit these top tracks.

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