Top of the North

With icons like Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga, the very top of New Zealand offers breath-taking scenery and memorable experiences.

Te Hiku o Te Ika Nui a Maui | Top of the North

The sheer beauty of the top of New Zealand will astound you. Rangiputa is a tropical paradise with white sands and palm trees. Discover the pure quartz sand at Parengarenga Harbour, and sand board down the huge Te Paki Sand Dunes. Reaching the iconic lighthouse at Cape Reinga is a must-do, but what takes most by surprise is the journey itself - is as exciting as the destination; some arrive early to sit and watch the sun come up. Te Hiku o Te Ika nui a Maui = The Tail of the Great Fish of Maui

  • Hidden gems
    • Kaitaia’s Te Ahu Centre is visually spectacular – the atrium’s ‘stingray’ floor and pou (carvings) will inspire
    • Climb the (steep) ‘Dukes Nose’ for spectacular views of Whangaroa Harbour
    • Walk inside the giant Kauri staircase at Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui
    • See 40,000 to 150,000 year old ancient buried kauri forests exposed at Gumdiggers Park
    • Claiming biggest ice cream status in the country at the Te Kao local store, try their six-scooper!
  • Dining
    • Casual seaside dining at the world-famous fish shop in Mangonui is a must do when in Northland; you can watch the fishing boats arrive with their fresh catch of fish
    • There are a range of cuisine options in Kaitaia, and many eateries dotted around the top of the north such as North Drift Café in Ahipara.

      Food, Wine & Markets  
  • Shopping
    • You will find many art, craft and gift shops off and on the beaten track
    • Kaitaia is a large service town with supermarkets and retail outlets
    • At Gumdiggers Park in Awanui you’ll find an ancient buried kauri forest. Unique kauri amber jewellery and kauri crafts are available in the gift shop
    • In Doubtless Bay shops are mainly centered on the Mangonui waterfront, Coopers Beach and Taipa and offer crafts, clothes and gifts

      Markets Shops & Galleries
  • Getting there
    • Kaitaia is approximately four hours’ drive North of Auckland
    • Kaitaia Airport is 15 minutes’ drive from Kaitaia and 25 minutes’ drive from Ahipara
    • Approximate flight time is 60 minutes from Auckland - taxis and rental cars are available

      Transport options
Te Hiku o Te Ika / Top of the North

Must dos

→ Journey to the top of NZ and witness two oceans collide
→ Sandboard down the giant sand dunes at Te Paki
→ Take a coach trip along Ninety Mile Beach
→ Dine over the water at world famous Mangonui Fish Shop
→ Take a water taxi to explore eroded volcanoes at Whangaroa

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Towns & Villages

  • Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach

    Witness the meeting of two oceans at Cape Reinga – a spiritual place for Māori where the spirits of the departed leap to begin the voyage back to their final resting place in the ancestral homeland of Hawaiki.

    Ninety Mile Beach is a fabled strip of sand that is really only 55 miles long; it is actually a highway with a 100km speed limit! We recommend a coach tour from Kaitaia or Paihia so you don’t have to worry about dodging waves or getting your wheels stuck in the sand. Watch the surfcasters reel in their catch, stop and dig for tuatuas (shellfish) and sand board down giant dunes at Te Paki.

  • Kaitaia

    Kaitaia is the main service centre of the ‘Far North’ from where many tours to Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach depart. The Te Ahu Centre reflects the rich and diverse local cultures of Māori and Dalmatian ancestry, and hosts an i-SITE, museum, cinema, and a stunning atrium with a grand entrance of pou (wood carvings) outside.

  • Doubtless Bay and Karikari Peninsula

    Be enchanted by Mangonui, a truly colonial fishing village faithfully depicting yesteryear. Doubtless Bay is a beach paradise encompassing the settlements of Coopers Beach, Cable Bay, Taipa and Whatuwhiwhi to name but a few, with safe, sandy beaches that are popular with families.

    The 18km long Tokerau Beach is a surf-casters dream and the spectacularly secluded Maitai Bay is stunning; it’s also a safe swimming beach with a campground, and golfers can enjoy the nearby championship golf course or winery.

    The picturesque settlement of Houhora Heads is long, narrow and has a mostly sheltered harbour which is great for camping. Nearby Gumdiggers Park is where two ancient Kauri forests have been buried by cataclysmic prehistoric events.

  • Whangaroa Harbour

    Whangaroa is known as the Marlin Capital of New Zealand and fishing in general is popular here. A harbour tour will give you an insight into the history of the towering volcanic rock outcrops, formed as water eroded the volcanic debris of 20 million years ago.

    A water taxi and shuttle service is available for pick up from Wairakau Stream/Lane Cove walking track and returned to Totara North.

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