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Northland Road Trips

Warkworth to Whangarei
103km - 1hr 30mins

Travel on SH1 until you arrive at Wellsford.

Turn right for an excursion to picturesque Pakiri beach - allow time for a horse trek, swim or walk on the beach.

Back on the main highway, follow the Twin Coast Discovery Highway out to Mangawhai. Discover stunning beaches and take a break at one of the many stylish cafes.

Follow Waipu's heritage trail on foot or by car - or follow the coast road south to Waipu Cove, a popular surf beach.

Return to SH1 via Waipu and continue on to another stunning surf beach at Ruakaka. Take a break from driving and check out New Zealand's only oil refinery at Marsden Point.

Back on SH1 continue on to Northland's only city, Whangarei - the Town Basin is the place to go for eating and entertainment.

Explore the many walkways at Whangarei Falls, just 5km from the city centre.

Whangarei to Paihia
71km - 1hr

Leaving Whangarei turn right at Kamo and head for the coast. There are some stunning beaches and towns at Ngunguru, Tutukaka and Matapouri.

Continue in the same direction past more beautiful coastline, and turn right towards the inlet coastal town of Whananaki.

The more adventurous might want to head back onto SH1 briefly, before taking the next right past Whakapara and down to the coastal town of Whangaruru .

If you continue on SH1, you can visit the caves and glow worms at Waiomio then enjoy a comfort stop at Kawakawa's famous Hundertwasser toilets - well worth every penny spent, so to speak.

From the seaside town of Paihia you can catch a cruise, go game fishing, swim with dolphins or paddle a sea kayak. A good overnight side-trip is to do the Cape Brett Walkway, a good 7½ hour hike for experienced hikers.

Catch a ferry to the historic town of Russell - New Zealand's first capital

Paihia to Cape Reinga

223km - 3hrs 10mins

Take a ferry from Paihia or travel by road to visit the Treaty House at Waitangi, one of New Zealand's most significant historic sites.

From SH10 the historic town of Kerikeri is a great place to have lunch and do some shopping with superb cafés, art shops and fruit stalls. The Stone Store is worth a visit and there are many other historic sites to explore.

Drive north on SH10 to Whangaroa - a forgotten harbour with spectacular rock formations. It's also a launching point for diving and fishing adventures.

Continue on to the seaside settlements of Mangonui, Cooper's Beach and Cable Bay - a great place to rest and discover the glorious beaches of Doubtless Bay.

At Awanui turn right onto SH1 and drive to Te Kao. From here you can head to Ninety Mile Beach - a great place to take in the power of the West Coast.

Back on SH1, continue to our land's end - Cape Reinga. From the lighthouse you can watch the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide in a distinct line stretching north

Kaitaia to Dargaville
169km - 2hrs 25mins

Follow SH1 to Ohaeawai. From here get on to SH12 and head to Ngawha Hot Springs for a therapeutic soak in the mercurial waters.

Continue on to Kaikohe and stop for some shopping or a bite to eat

Continue on to Kohukohu where you can catch the car ferry across the Hokianga Harbour to Rawene.

Drive along SH12 to Opononi and hit the sand hills for some dune-surfing.

For some fabulous bush walks and the site of magnificent kauri trees, stop off at Waipoua Forest - home to Tane Mahuta; or Trounson Kauri Park - a 450ha reserve that includes a camping ground and guided night walks.

From SH12 take an excursion to the freshwater dune lakes of Kai Iwi - a fantastic spot for camping and swimming.

After a refreshing break head to Dargaville - New Zealand's Kumara Capital and home to a rich heritage of kauri logging, gumdigging, shipbuilding and shipwrecks.

It is recommended that you have detailed road maps before departing on your trip