The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand
Northland, New Zealand

Nature and Activities in Northland, New Zealand

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Bush'n'Bike Adventure Company

Bay of Islands - Kawakawa

Adventure activities

This combination of quads, horses and go-karts is a sure-fire hit. Splash through rivers and 4WD along rugged bush tracks and challenging terrain. Alternatively, amble quietly through the spectacular river valley setting on horseback. First-timers and old-timers can all come along for some great, family fun.

  • Prices: Quad bikes $75 for 1.5 hr tour, 2.5 hr tour by arrangement. Passengers: $55 adults, $25 children for 1.5 hr tour. Off-road go-karts: $75 for 1 hr, $40 for half and hour. Horseback Adventures $55 pp for a 1.5 hr trek. Kid quads and pony rides $15. Prices are subject to alteration.
  • Contact: Tirohanga Road (off SH10), Kawakawa, Nr Paihia, Bay of Islands
  • Tel: 09-404-1142
  • Fax: 09-404-1143
  • Email: info@adventurecompany.co.nz
  • Web: www.adventurecompany.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Going Kayaking

Bay of Islands - Paihia

Adventure activities

Pick up a paddle and go kayaking with Logan and Camilla for a jumping fish’s eye view of the Bay of Islands. Venture through mangrove forests and historical sites and discover islands and their sandy beaches as you cruise through the straits with their marine inhabitants. Dry bags for your cameras are complimentary. Morning tea and lunchtime food are provided.

Going Kayaking
  • Prices: Full day from $90 pp, half day from $60 pp.
  • Contact: PO Box 85, Paihia, Bay of Islands
  • Tel: Freephone 0800-024-646 (within New Zealand only)
  • Cel: 021-558-075
  • Email: goingkayaking@xtra.co.nz
  • Web: www.goingkayaking.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Dive! Tutukaka

Whangarei

Adventure activities

Jacques Cousteau ranked the Poor Knights Islands as one of the top ten dive sites in the world and to dive these sub-tropical waters is on most divers' 'must do' lists. These guys run a fantastic, friendly and very professional operation from Tutukaka harbour. There are over 100 dives to choose from and all equipment is provided. There are kayaks on board so that you can paddle around the island's arches and caves between dives. Basic, advanced and specialty (wreck diving, underwater photography etc) courses are available. A 'Perfect Day' cruise is also available for non-divers where you can view the fishes from an underwater camera.

Dive! Tutukaka
  • Prices: $225 for a 1-dive day includes tea and coffee on board and the use of kayaks from the boat. Ask about their yummy $10 lunches. A try dive is $275 and a refresher course is $275 for 2 dives. The Perfect Day cruise is $129 for a day cruise.
  • Contact: Marina Road, Tutukaka, Whangarei
  • Tel: 09-434-3867 or freephone 0800-288-882
  • Fax: 09-434-3884
  • Email: info@diving.co.nz
  • Web: www.diving.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Gungha II, Bay of Islands Sailing

Bay of Islands - Paihia

Boat trips

During my research Mike and Debbie’s sailing trips got unanimous double-thumbs-up recommendations from sources far and wide. After leaving Canada 15 yrs ago, the Careres sailed en famille over 100,000 ocean miles throughout the Pacific before landing on Northland shores. Fortunately they never quite shuck off their sea legs and now offer day-sailing adventures on their beautiful yacht Gungha II. Tasty morning snacks, an island stopover, snorkel gear, kayaks and a yummy fresh lunch are included. These trips are superb value for an experience that I guarantee will be unique, personal and funny.

Gungha II, Bay of Islands Sailing
  • Prices: Adults $85, departs Paihia and Russell daily.
  • Contact: Paihia Harbour, Bay of Islands
  • Tel: 09-407-7930; freephone 0800-478-900
  • Fax: 09-407-7930
  • Email: bayofislandssailing@xtra.co.nz
  • Web: www.bayofislandssailing.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Earl Grey Fishing Charters

Bay of Islands

Fishing

Join professional saltwater fishing guide Captain Steve Butler aboard his boat, Earl Grey II, fishing around the Bay’s 144 islands, an area so abundant with sea life that it is often referred to as being an ‘angler's El Dorado’. Yellowtail kingfish, snapper, mao mao and John Dory are among the tasty fish that you might bring in from sea to plate during the course of your day. Judging by the big fish Steve holds on his flyer photo and the wide grins on the faces of those that go with him, you can expect a day as fishy as it is fun.

Earl Grey Fishing Charters
  • Prices: $220 per person for a 6-hour share charter, $880/6-hour sole charter, $1,200/day sole charter. Salt-water fly-fishing & marlin/tuna fishing also available.
  • Tel: 09-407-7165
  • Fax: 09-407-5465
  • Cel: 027-205-4401
  • Email: wendy@earlgreyfishing.co.nz
  • Web: www.earlgreyfishing.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Waitangi Golf Course

Bay of Islands - Paihia

Golf

This club is a favourite among locals and it’s not hard to see why. The 18-hole championship standard course overlooks the whole bay and all of its islands and is a joy to play.

Waitangi Golf Course
  • Prices: Green fees for non-affiliated members: $45.
  • Contact: Waitangi Golf Club, Paihia, Northland
  • Tel: 09-402-7713
  • Fax: 09-402-7713
  • Email: waitangigolf@xtra.co.nz
  • Web: www.waitangigolf.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Carrington Resort Golf Course

Karikari Peninsula

Golf

Situated on the spectacular Karikari Peninsula, the unique feature of this course is that, despite its ocean-side location, it looks and plays like an inland golf course complete with rolling hills, vales and natural water hazards. The course is of tournament quality with 18 holes.

Carrington Resort Golf Course
  • Prices: $135 pp green fee. Club hire $40, carts $40. NZ affiliates $85.
  • Contact: Maitai Bay Road, Karikari Peninsula
  • Tel: 09-408-7222
  • Fax: 09-408-7414
  • Email: info@carrington.co.nz
  • Web: www.carrington.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Pakiri Beach Horse Rides

Pakiri Beach

Horse riding

The Haddons (that’s Laly, Sharley, daughter Olivia and son Ben) are descended from the Maori chief who discovered and settled next to the beautiful, unpopulated 15km stretch of white sand surf beach at Pakiri. Ride out on one of their 125 horses and experience the freedom, splendid isolation and beauty of this special place. Few rides are as exhilarating as this one; after tracing the line of the Pacific you’ll canter off into the dunes and through groves of pohutukawa trees ablaze with red flowers in summer.

Pakiri Beach Horse Rides
  • Prices: Rides from one hour to several days. $50 for on hour, $220 full day (including lunch). Self-catered accommodation on the beach can be provided. Licensed café on site.
  • Contact: Taurere Park, Rahuikiri Road, Pakiri Beach
  • Tel: 09-422-6275
  • Fax: 09-422-6277
  • Cel: 021-422-629
  • Email: pakirihorse@xtra.co.nz
  • Web: www.horseride-nz.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Sheepworld

Warkworth

Nature & wildlife

I’d always thought New Zealand was Sheepworld until I happened upon this place. Just off the highway outside Warkworth you can look, listen and learn as sheep dogs display their mental prowess shepherding sheep to and fro. Admittedly, the dogs win paws down in the ‘brainy’ stakes (I didn't get the chance to see ducks giving them a waddle for their money in the Dog and Duck show so can't comment on that), but one can’t help but feel some sympathy for the shivery-looking sheep herded into a corner post-shave. The shearing operation is a fast and fascinating one... however, and you’ll soon feel less sympathetic once you slip into the your new woollen socks and jumper.

Sheepworld
  • Prices: Full admission $17.50 adult, $8 child includes Sheep and Dog show (at 11am and 2pm) and entry to the park and its 30-acre eco-dicovery trail. Black Sheep Café and woollen products shop open daily. Dog and Duck show at 2pm on the weekend.
  • Contact: State Highway 1, 4km north of Warkworth
  • Tel: 09-425-7444
  • Fax: 09-425-7666
  • Email: info@sheepworld.co.nz
  • Web: www.sheepworld.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Zion Wildlife Gardens

Whangarei

Nature & wildlife

Craig Busch is so legendary in the lion world (among the humans, not the lions) that I saw a documentary about the ‘Lion Man’ himself on the plane over to New Zealand. The guy certainly has a way with big cats, and none come bigger than Samson, father to a pride of twelve Barbary lions. Extinct in the wild, there are just 250 of these mighty felines in captivity making Zion Wildlife incredibly important in the conservation and understanding of the species. Also at home here are ten white lions who originate from South Africa, two cheetahs and nine royal white Bengal tigers. Take a tour to meet the lions at close range and learn about these incredibly rare creatures whose fragile existence belies their powerful presence.

Zion Wildlife Gardens
  • Prices: Guided tour through the gardens: 60 mins, $60 adult, $30 child. Cub Encounter tour is an 80-minute private tour: $200 adult, $50 child. Big Cat Tour 90 mins ($250 adult) includes chance to handle a large cat with two senior handlers. Ask about tours with Craig himself.
  • Contact: Gray Road, Kamo, Whangarei
  • Tel: 09-435-0110
  • Email: zion@zionwildlifegardens.co.nz
  • Web: www.zionwildlifegardens.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Salt Air

Bay of Islands - Paihia

Scenic flights

They say the only way to see the Bay of Islands is by boat, but this must have been before Salt Air started flying over the islands on their half-day Cape Reinga tours. Everyone gets a window seat and you can chat with the pilot as you fly up the wild west coast for a bird’s eye view of 90 Mile Beach. Not that you’ll have much to say – the views are so awe-inspiring you’ll probably be stuck for words. Touch-down for some nibbles and then a drive down Te Paki quicksand stream (easy on those nibbles) before tobogganing down giant sand dunes and then flying home, this time down the east coast that’s all dotted with lovely islands. (I) Salt Air also offer day tours to Cape Reinga and the Bay of Islands from Auckland for those with time restricted itineraries who can squeeze in a spare day in Auckland. (P)

Salt Air
  • Prices: $375.00 per person. Children under 4 years can travel on parent’s lap FOC otherwise full fare will apply.
  • Contact: The Hangar, Marsden Road, Paihia
  • Tel: 09-402-8338 or freephone (within NZ) 0800-472-582
  • Fax: 09-402-8302
  • Cel: 0274-924-665
  • Email: info@saltair.co.nz
  • Web: www.saltair.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Northland Highlights

  • Explore the secluded bays, long white beaches, velvet-green rolling hills and sleepy fishing settlements of the Whangarei Heads. This is one of the most beautiful, and gladly, least visited parts of Northland.
  • Dive or snorkel the fantastic Poor Knights Islands, go inside the biggest sea cave you'll ever see and round off the day with a pizza in Tutukaka's quiet harbour.
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