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World’s best Northland ticks a lot of boxes

Cable Bay – December 4, 2015

It’s inconceivable that so many Kiwis go to Australia for a holiday when Northland is, for most Kiwis, just up the road on State Highway 1. Make Lemonade staff loved it.

It’s got the climate, the beaches, great food and accommodation – and a string of world’s best or world famous! Such as:

World’s best: Sandy Bay beach for surfing; Whale Bay – one of the best beaches in the world just a bay around from Matapouri which is a stunning beach on a great day. The Poor Knights Islands marine reserve, rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top-ten dive sites in the world. The islands also boast the world’s largest sea cave, Riko Riko.

World-famous – the Mangonui fish and chip shop; the ice creams at Te Kao which is the last shop before Cape Reinga and the world famous Hundertwasser toilets at Kawakawa which is the only town in New Zealand with a train going through the middle of the main road. The toilets have been awarded the prestigious Golden Plunger award in a world-wide search for the best public toilets.

World record: The Treaty of Waitangi Grounds’ ceremonial war canoe – the world’s largest. The Awanui circular staircase built of out a Kauri log – the biggest in the world. The jaw-dropping Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua forest – the largest living kauri tree in the world. The Houhora Big Game Fishing Club holds a world record for the biggest marlin caught by a woman.

Northland is an aquatic paradise with a sub-tropical climate, making it the warmest region in New Zealand. It receives about 2000 sunshine hours a year. It is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand and a Mecca for holidaying Aucklanders.

A lot of tourists love Paihia as a gateway to the Bay of Islands. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea because it is very touristy. To us, Russell is the best haven to soak up the sunshine and enjoy an idyllic lifestyle sunbathing or swimming on Long Beach. Go to Tapeka Pt and catch snapper off the rocks.

Further north Mangonui, not just because of the best fish and chips, Cooper’s Beach and Cable Bay are becoming expensive real estate, even for Aucklanders looking for a getaway from it all holiday home. We put our feet up at Cable Bay staying at the Doubtless Bay Villas – with views over the golden sand Pohutukawa-lined beach and our own all-weather tennis court. Heaven! We especially loved the Houhora Heads and Pukenui – 40 minutes north of Kaitaia – as a base to go fishing and experience New Zealand as it was 50 years ago. This part of the country is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets.

It’s only 10 minutes to popular 90 Mile Beach on the west coast or 40 minutes to the Te Paki sand dunes for a day of sand tobogganing. Keep in mind Cape Reinga is six hours north of Auckland. A lot of South Islanders just don’t realise how far north the Far North really is.

Photo: Houhora, Northland

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