New Zealand Travel - Northland
by: Ace Shattock
The paradise of Northland begins at Cape Reinga, extends down 90 mile beach, to the beaches of Whangarei and forests and bush walks of the entire region.
Much of Northland's extensive coastline remains pristine - an aquatic playground for adventure activities and escapist relaxation. Whangarei and Opua are havens for international and local yachts; Tutukaka and Russell are game fishing hot spots; the beaches of Doubtless Bay and 90 mile beach are endlessly beautiful.
Throughout the region you’ll also enjoy the shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities that stem from the distinctive local culture, which embraces art, creativity, organic farming and alternative thinking.
It is believed that the first Polynesians arrived in Northland in the 11th century. Today Waitangi is the centre of Maori culture in the region, where approximately 30 percent of the population are Maori. European settlement began in the 1840s.
A Nation is born
History has always been made in Northland. The Hokianga Harbour was the first Polynesian landing place, Russell was New Zealand’s first capital and the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in the Bay of Islands.
The largest island in the Bay of Islands, Urupukapuka is a place to explore archaeological sites.
Beaches and islands
The sea plays a large part in the lives of most Northlanders, and with good reason. Dive down to a shipwreck, swim with the dolphins, bodysurf in the waves or just relax on the sand.
Things to do
* The Albertland Museum in Wellsford (turn right off SH.1 before the Caltex if heading south) contains many artifacts of the past 120 years and is well worth a stop.
* Follow the Twin Coast Discovery Highway and explore some of the linked tourist drives.
* Regular domestic air services connect to Northland’s three airports - Whangarei, Kerikeri and Kaitaia.
* To make the most of the bays and beaches, explore Northland by rental car or campervan.
* The Stone Store in Russell is one of Northland's oldest free standing buildings.
* For a scenic trip that you don't have to drive a car on, catch a coach from Auckland. Most leave from the Sky City terminal, with a ticket office at the terminal.
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