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.
With our sub-tropical climate which offers mild winters and summers which are not too hot, this region is ideal for those wanting to enjoy the “Great Outdoors”.
Many of our customers who fly from all parts of New Zealand 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 most 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. It is worth noting that this forest was much larger in the past before much of the Kauri was felled for house building and ship repairs.
Length 1.5km | Time: 1 hour
Haruru Falls, Bay of Islands
Haruru, meaning ‘rumble’ in Māori and this is certainly the perfect description as you approach the Falls. Locals suggest making Waitangi Treaty Grounds your start point and walking back to from Haruru to Paihia along the recently upgraded 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!
You may hear tui call and see fantails flitting about while you walk.
Puriri, totara, karaka, and manuka shelter the path to the viewing platforms.
Visit the historic weir that supplied the first electrical power to the early Kerikeri township. Remnants of the Kerikeri hydro-electric station and weir are still visible and an information panel is situated at the rest area.
For those with small children or need wheelchair access, we suggest the shorter walk from the Rainbow Falls carpark which accommodates 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 demanding but 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 from Lord of the Rings, this is the only valley in the world to see eroded basalt boulders.
The site is approximately 15 kilometres from State Highway one, the last three kilometres are along a well maintained gravel road.
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.