The Northern Lights


The Journey

Open your eyes to the unlimited magic of Northland New Zealand, on an 8 day trip that takes in many highlights of the upper North Island of New Zealand.

To follow this campervan driving itinerary, pick up and return your vehicle at our Auckland branch. Visit maui campervan hire Auckland for more details.




Auckland to Auckland


Best Time of the Year

Anytime of the year


  • The Bay of Islands
  • Poor Knights
  • 90 Mile Beach
  • Historic Waitangi
  • Waipoua Forest

The Journey


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Day 1
Auckland to Whangarei / Tutukaka

Distance 175km - Driving Time 2.5 hours

In the morning depart Auckland for Whangarei on the Twin Coast Discovery Highway via the beautiful beaches of Mangawhai, Langs Beach and Waipu.

Allow time for:

  • Swimming, surfing
  • Fishing, golf
  • Explore historic Waipu
  • Visit cafes and galleries in the area


Overnight Tutukaka

Day 2

  • For diving enthusiasts enjoy a day diving the world-renowned Poor Knights Marine Reserve or if you prefer, dive the twin wrecks of 'Tui’ and ‘Waikato’
  • Fishing enthusiasts can take a charter trip out for a day of big game or line fishing
  • Take a quick trip out to see the world’s largest sea cave – Rikoriko Cave at the Poor Knights Islands
  • Excellent kayaking and river cruises available
  • Native and subtropical nurseries
  • Action and adventure on a 4WD luge
  • If you wish to stay on terra firma, this area boasts some of Northland’s most beautiful beaches, and picturesque walking tracks

Day 3
Tutukaka to Bay of Islands

Distance 94km - Driving Time 1.5 hours

In the morning depart Tutukaka for the Bay of Islands via Whakapara and the scenic drive past Oakura Bay.

Some Bay of Islands suggestions are:

  • Take the Fuller's Great Sights Dolphin Cruise or a fast ride out on ‘The Bay’ to the ‘Hole in the Rock’
  • Pamper yourself at a day spa
  • Take some time to explore Romantic Russell, NZ’s original Capital
  • Spend a day visiting Kerikeri wineries, gourmet chocolate kitchen and art & craft galleries
  • Visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
  • Take a tour and view the magnificent Maori war canoe, Maori meeting house and the Treaty House
  • Take a dusk fishing trip, or play twilight golf
  • Go sailing, kayaking amongst the mangroves, diving with Pahia Dive HQ, parasailing
  • Experience an evening cultural performance - Northland style
  • See the Bay of Islands and the Far North by air – simply stunning
  • Experience a land and sea tour on one vessel – NZ’s first amphibious craft

Overnight Russell

Day 4
Bay of Islands

Activity suggestions:

  • Cape Brett ‘Hole in the Rock Cruise’
  • Aquatic encounter with dolphins
  • Cape Reinga coach tour
  • Bush walk, trek to Cape Brett
  • Fishing, sailing, kayaking, diving, golf, parasailing, horse riding or 4WD adventures
  • Drive to Puketi Forest to a stunning boardwalk to view the giant Kauri trees

Overnight Bay of Islands

Day 5
Bay of Islands to Doubtless Bay

Distance 108km - Driving Time 1.5 hours

In the morning depart the Bay of Islands for Mangonui via Matauri Bay, Tauranga Bay and Whangaroa. (optional stay overnight)

Activity suggestions:

  • Dive the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior with Paihia Dive HQ
  • Spend a day at one of the beautiful beaches in Matauri Bay, Tauranga Bay, Taupo Bay, Coopers Beach, Cable Bay or on Karikari Peninsula
  • Fishing, sailing, kayaking, golf

Overnight Doubtless Bay

Day 6
Doubtless Bay to Kaitaia

Distance 40km - Driving Time 30 mins

In the morning depart Doubtless Bay for the Far North

Activity suggestions:

  • Guided tour to Cape Reinga along 90 Mile Beach with Awesome NZ
  • Explore the Far North – spend time at Houhora, Ahipara and 90 Mile Beach.
  • Fishing, surfing, walking, land yachting, golf, kayaking
  • Guided quad tours on 90 Mile Beach
  • Sample the wines of New Zealand’s most northern vineyards
  • Experience time in a Maori learning house and discover Maori Culture
  • Overnight Far North

To really experience the Far North, allow an extra night to stay at Houhora or further north.

Day 7
Kaitaia to Hokianga

Distance 160km - Driving Time 2.5 hours

In the morning depart the Far North for the Hokianga.

Activity suggestions:

  • Explore the townships of Kohukohu and Rawene connected by vehicle ferry across the upper Hokianga Harbour
  • Go tobogganing down the giant sand dunes
  • Visit Waipoua Forest and spend time exploring the various forest walks to view giant Kauri trees with Footprints Waipoua
  • Try your hand at Kauri Gum polishing
  • Fishing, cruising, horse riding
  • See a natural phenomenon – Wairere Boulders in Horeke

Overnight Hokianga

Day 8
Hokianga to Auckland

Distance 177km - Driving Time 2.5 hours

In the morning depart the Hokianga for Trounson Kauri Park, Kai Iwi Lakes or Baylys Beach. Stop at Waipoua Forest and the giant Kauri tree ‘Tane Mahuta’ on the way south, enjoying the various walks and forests.

Arrive at the beautiful Kai Iwi Lakes, a stunning recreational reserve that provides a playground for swimming, boating, windsurfing, water skiing and trout fishing.

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